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Ibercaja has taken a step forward, with the presentation of its ITF [o intención de cotizar, en sus siglas en inglés] and will star in an upcoming debut, predictably, at the end of February or the beginning of March, sources familiar with the entity point out, taking advantage of the first window of opportunity of the new course. It will be the first IPO of a bank in the euro zone since 2019, reflecting the journey through the desert that the sector has been experiencing for years.

Different market sources have been pointing to an initial valuation between 1,500/1,600 and 2,000/2,100 million euros for months, although the upper part of the range is even considered “too optimistic” by those closest to the bank. The experts from Bloomberg, however, believe that its initial capitalization could be adjusted and remain below 1,000 million euros, a hypothesis that would fit the entity quite badly if it were to occur.




In any case, the multipliers at which the national entities are listed do tend to slightly lower the projections, given valuation discounts that are around 40% in the best of cases ??such as that of CaixaBank?? and that they reach 70% in the worst case ??in the case of Banco Sabadell, still highly penalized in the stock market by its subsidiary in the United Kingdom, TSB, and given the meager profitability of the group??. And this leads to a much tighter valuation for what will be the seventh listed entity in the country, after the absorption last year of Bankia by CaixaBank and of Liberbank by Unicaja.

In the absence of fifteen days to know the valuation range of the operation that will include the prospectus, Ibercaja would reach an approximate capitalization of 1,400 million euros, without requiring a discount by placement (which, traditionally, can be around 10% or 20%, although in itself it is a sector that is highly punished by investors). This valuation is based on a 57% discount on the value of equity at which Unicaja, CaixaBank are currently listed on average and Sabadell has also been included in the equation, despite the fact that sources consulted acknowledge that their parallelism is minor with this entity and aspire to trade at slightly higher multipliers than the firm chaired by Josep Oliu.

If the discount applied to the book value of Ibercaja ??of 3,303 million euros?? Outside of 50%, its initial capitalization would reach 1,650 million euros. And if the market, as a third hypothesis, decided to compare Ibercaja with the multipliers at which CaixaBank is listed, which still records a 40% penalty on the value of its own funds, the final valuation of the entity chaired by José Luis Aguirre would come up to 2,000 million euros, despite the fact that it is an unrealistic forecast, according to different sources consulted by this house.

Ibercaja will go public through an ops (capital increase) only for qualified investors whereby the Foundation will get rid of 41.95% of its stake, going from the current 88% to 46.09%. when it was placed Unicaja, five years ago, its valuation was based on a 35% discount on equity, with a capitalization of 1,700 million euros and in the lower part of the range.

Currently, Ibercaja is the fourth national bank by volume of assets. It closed September with 58,163 million euros, compared to the 109,144 million registered by Unicaja and twice as much, 201,250 million by Banco Sabadell. Its net profit rose to 146 million euros in the accumulated figure for the third quarter, with an ROE of 6.6% ??double that of Sabadell?? and a ROTE of 7.2%, although its objective is to reach 9% in 2023. Its capital ratio CET1 fully loaded is in line with comparables. It closed the quarter at 12.8%, compared to 12.1% for Sabadell, 12.5% ​​for Caixa and 13.6% for Unicaja.

The importance of management in its balance sheet could bring a certain premium to its valuation, on the contrary. is the fourth entity in Spain by asset management, with a 6% market share in investment and pension funds, which doubles its natural market share.

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