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Spain's Bankia posts 19 bn euro 2012 loss

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bailed-out Spanish banking giant Bankia suffered a loss of 19 billion euros ($25 billion) in 2012, it said in an earnings statement Thursday.

Bankia, which has become a symbol of Spain's banking collapse, said the losses were in line with its expectations after the Spanish government nationalised it in May.

In December it received 18 billion euros in eurozone aid to restructure it.

Bankia's chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said that despite the net losses of 19.193 billion euros the bank's financial situation was in line with its aims.

"We have a very solvent balance sheet. We are a tremendously solvent and solid entity," he told a news conference.

The European Commission approved the payment of 18 billion euros to rescue Bankia, obliging it to restructure by closing branches and cutting jobs.

The bank has announced it will close a third of its branches. Unions say the restructuring will lead to 4,500 job cuts.

A long recession brought on by the collapse of a building boom in 2008 left Bankia saddled with unpaid loans.

In Thursday's earnings report BFA-Bankia, the financial group that includes the troubled lender, said it made provisions of 26.8 billion euros in 2012.

It offloaded 22.3 billion euros' worth of bad property-linked assets to a "bad bank" set up to purge the bad loans of Spain's banks. Of this figure, 19.5 billion were from Bankia.

After the government stepped in to rescue Bankia by nationalising it, Spain then had to seek a broader bailout for its whole banking sector from the eurozone.

The recession has driven Spain's unemployment rate to 26 percent.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130228/spains-bankia-posts-19-bn-euro-2012-loss