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Spanish Bank to Buy 2 B of A Foreign Units

March 06, 1987|JOHN M. BRODER | Times Staff Writer

BankAmerica, continuing to shed assets in an effort to focus its business and strengthen its capital base, said Thursday it will sell two West German units--its consumer banking subsidiary and credit card operations--to Banco de Santander of Spain for an undisclosed price.

A BankAmerica spokesman said the San Francisco bank holding company expects a pretax gain of $45 million from the sale. The deal is set to close in the second quarter of this year, the company said.

BankAmerica is the parent of Bank of America, the nation's second-largest bank. The company's restructuring program is a response to the bank's problems with bad loans and high expenses, which led to losses of $855 million during the past two years. The bank recently fended off a $3.25-billion takeover offer from First Interstate Bancorp. of Los Angeles.

BankAmerica's West German unit, the 31-branch Bankhaus Centrale Credit AG, or CC Bank, had total assets of about $500 million at the end of 1986.

The Frankfurt-based Bank of America Card Services is a Visa card operation servicing 115,000 cardholders and 35,000 merchants in the German market, BankAmerica said.

The 130-year-old Banco de Santander has more than 1,500 branches worldwide, including operations in New York and Miami. It had assets of $15 billion at the end of 1985 and was ranked seventh among Spanish banks, according to the American Banker newspaper.

"The sale is part of our strategy to concentrate international resources on the institutional market," said A. W. Clausen, BankAmerica's chairman and chief executive officer.

BankAmerica has sold off about $2 billion in assets in recent months. Total assets have fallen from $118 billion at the end of 1985 to less than $104 billion today.

In December, BankAmerica sold its Italian subsidiary, Banca d'America e d'Italia, for $603 million to another West German institution, Deutsche Bank. Its British residential mortgage unit was sold to Bank of Ireland for $38 million last month.

The sale of its Charles Schwab & Co. discount brokerage to founder Charles R. Schwab is pending.

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