Spanish online bank WiZink set to float in 2019 -sources

FRANKFURT / LONDON / MADRID, Dec. 5 (Reuters) – Investment firm Varde Partners plans to introduce its Spanish online bank WiZink next year, with investment banks UBS and Goldman Sachs likely to be selected as IPO coordinators, people familiar with the matter said.

WiZink is expected to have a market capitalization of around 2.5-3 billion euros ($ 2.8-3.4 billion) and the initial public offering (IPO) would take place in the third quarter of 2019, one added. sources.

Goldman Sachs and WiZink declined to comment, while UBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters reported in July that Varde Partners was exploring options for WiZink, including an IPO in 2019.

Listing is expected after a few difficult months for the IPO market in Europe, with a series of underperforming or failed trades. In October, Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala withdrew the IPO of Spanish energy company Cepsa, blaming market conditions.

Varde, a $ 14 billion global alternative investment firm, bought the remaining 49% of WiZink from Banco Santander earlier this year, becoming its sole shareholder.

WiZink, in which Varde took a 51 percent stake in 2014, has sought to profit from consumer credit growth in Spain. It has no branches and specializes in customer-focused credit cards and savings products, designed to complement its clients’ existing banking services with other providers.

Spain’s consumer loans rose 47% to € 85 billion over three and a half years through June 2018, as banks step up lending to households in search of higher yields.

Varde’s other investments in financial services include Citi’s Canadian business, which it bought with JC Flowers in 2017, and credit card issuer CreditShop, which includes a MasterCard credit card wallet that was previously owned at Barclaycard.

In 2017, WiZink made a net profit of 110 million euros, according to the annual report of Santander and Banco Popular. Banco Santander purchased Banco Popular in June 2017.

It manages over 3.4 billion euros in credit card balances in Spain and Portugal, as well as over 3.2 billion euros in deposits and savings accounts. ($ 1 = 0.8807 euros) (Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Dasha Afanasieva, Jesus Gonzalez Aguado; Editing by Alexander Smith)


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David A. Albanese