Bankia, Caixabank sell stakes in NH Hoteles, BME

People use an ATM machine at a branch of Spain's nationalized lender Bankia in Seville

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People use an ATM machine at a branch of Spain's nationalized lender Bankia in the Andalusian capital …

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish banks Bankia and Caixabank on Thursday announced stake sales in other companies as lenders bulk up capital ahead of Europe-wide health checks of their balance sheets this year.

Bankia and its parent company BFA said they had put all of their 12.6 percent stake in the hotel group NH Hoteles up for sale. The stake is worth around 192 million euros (159 million pounds) at Thursday's closing price.

Caixabank said it had sold its 5 percent stake in the stock market operator BME to institutional investors at 29.6 euros per share, netting capital gains of 47 million euros for the bank.

This was slightly below BME's Thursday closing price of 30.75 euros.

Spain's bailed-out banks, such as Bankia, have been among the most active sellers of industrial holdings as they slim down as part of their restructuring plans.

Bankia has already sold stakes in IT company Indra , International Airlines Group and insurance group Mapfre . It still has to sell 5.14 percent of utility Iberdrola


At the end of 2012, La Caixa, Caixabank's parent group, raised 1.65 billion euros by cutting its majority stake in Caixabank. It also raised funds though a bond that could be exchanged into part of its stake in Spanish oil major Repsol


JB Capital Markets will act as book-runner for the Bankia operation, while Citigroup sold Caixabank's stake in BME.

($1 = 0.7352 euros)

(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Julien Toyer, Anthony Barker and Kevin Liffey)

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