Former Rumasa head targets Northern Rock

25th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 September 2007 , MADRID - The former head of Spanish industrial conglomerate Rumasa, which was dismantled in the 1980s, is seeking to take a capital stake in embattled British bank Northern Rock, El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

25 September 2007

MADRID - The former head of Spanish industrial conglomerate Rumasa, which was dismantled in the 1980s, is seeking to take a capital stake in embattled British bank Northern Rock, El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Shares in the Rock have slumped by three quarters amid speculation over the group's future since being forced to request an emergency bail-out from the Bank of England in the wake of the global credit crunch.

El Mundo reported it had seen a letter former Rumasa head Jose-Maria Ruiz-Mateos had written to Rock chief executive Adam J. Applegarth saying he "represents a group of Spanish investors" who would be "interested in acquiring a packet of Northern Rock shares sufficient to take control of the bank."

El Mundo quoted informed sources as saying the bank had not reacted to the letter as yet, which it said was dated 21 September.

Ruiz-Mateos built a sizeable empire with Rumasa before the Socialist government which held power in the 1980s expropriated much of it through nationalisations of the group, which owned assets including department stores and banks and was the largest private holding in Spain.

The government justified its action by saying it had uncovered major management irregularities in the conglomerate, which once employed some 65,000 people.

Ruiz-Mateos, who started off by selling wine to England, is known for media stunts and, for example, once appeared outside the Palace of Justice in Madrid dressed as Superman.

On another occasion he emerged clad in prison garb -- a form of reverse irony, given he was briefly imprisoned after being embroiled in trials amid allegations of fraud and tax embezzlement.

The Spanish Supreme Court acquitted him of any wrongdoing in 1999.

 (Copyright AFP with Expatica)

Subject: Spanish news

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