La Caixa mulls moving banking activity to listed arm

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Spain's largest savings bank, La Caixa, said Thursday it was mulling transfering its banking activities to its listed investment arm Criteria, days after the government told Spanish lenders they will have to raise their capital.

The board of the Barcelona-based bank will meet Thursday to "analyse and, if appropriate, approve a possible reorganization of La Caixa which would have as its final result the transfer of La Caixa's banking business to Criteria," it said in a statement.

Shares in Criteria, which has stakes in major Spanish companies including Repsol and Telefonica, were suspended just before La Caixa issued its statement. They were up 3.18 percent at 4.447 euros.

The Spanish government announced Monday that it will require all its banks to increase their core capital ratio to 8.0 percent to give them a bigger cushion against economic difficulties and boost confidence in the nation's financial system.

© 2011 AFP

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