The shareholders of CaixaBank and Bankia approve the creation of the ‘superbank’

The CEO, Gonzalo Gortazar, boasts a more profitable and solvent group after the merger. "The economic and social consequences of the pandemic are not yet fully visible," he warns.

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The CaixaBank Shareholders’ Meeting approved this Thursday the absorption of Bankia to create the largest bank in the country. The ‘green light’ of the owners of the Catalan group – added to that of the Bankia shareholders last Tuesday – means the backlog for the operation to close in the first quarter of 2021 if it receives the different regulatory authorizations .

The CEO of the group, Gonzalo Gortazar, has highlighted to shareholders that the new group will be more profitable and more solvent in a context of high uncertainty and pressure from negative interest rates in Europe and the effects of the coronavirus. “The economic and social consequences of the pandemic are not yet fully visible, which generates uncertainty about its impact on the financial sector,” he explained during the event held at the Valencia Conference Center.

For this reason, the one who will be the chief executive of the new CaixaBank has remarked that it is “critical” to create an entity with more efficient cost structures and greater investment capacity. In this way, Gortazar has presented an estimate of improvement of between one and two points in the return on capital of the group linked to the merger, up to 8%. For his part, earnings per share would improve by 28% in 2022 according to the consensus of analysts as to whether the bank continues to operate alone.

The chief executive has also focused on improving the coverage of bad debts, whose ratio will increase by three percentage points, and the excess of 310 basis points in the core capital Tier 1 solvency metric, after having already discounted the estimated restructuring cost of 2,200 million euros. “The resulting entity will therefore be a strong entity, well provisioned and well capitalized”, he concluded.

For his part, the president of the bank, Jordi Gual, has taken advantage of his intervention to say goodbye to the shareholders, since he will cede the position to Josà © Ignacio Goirigolzarri once the integration is complete. The Catalan manager has pointed out that the merger with Bankia is one of the group’s great milestones in its 115-year history and has highlighted the group’s anticipation of a new wave of restructuring in the sector.

Different representatives of the workers have intervened during the Meeting to ask the managers of the group for sensitivity in the adjustment of personnel that the bank will undertake after completing the integration.

Indeed, CCOO today presented a report that illustrates the reduction of jobs in the financial sector during the last decade. According to their calculations, the 103,000 job cuts were double the percentage in the whole of the European Union.

These adjustments have led to the ratio of employees per 10,000 inhabitants falling to 37, below 54 in the rest of the continent. The reduction has been linked to the disappearance of entities linked to restructuring processes, going from 88 to 12 in just 11 years. The figure will be reduced in 2021 with the merger of CaixaBank-Bankia and Unicaja-Liberbank.

“If we don’t do things [en relación al ajuste], what we put in danger would be the sustainability of all jobs. The myopic will only see a reduction in jobs in the short term with the merger, which obviously there will be, but whoever has a long-term vision will see the jobs that we will grow and the wealth that we will contribute in financing to families and companies. To be strong, we must be efficient, “Gortazar replied.

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