MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will next week formally seek advisors to steer the sale of part of its 68 percent stake in bailed out lender Bankia
Government and banking sources had told Reuters earlier this month the Spanish government was considering selling a stake of as much as 18 percent during the first quarter of this year, aiming to start recouping part of the 22 billion euros (18.0 billion pounds) injected into the bank since 2012.
Bankia became a symbol of Spain's financial crisis, after the huge losses it and other banks suffered due to a property market collapse forced the government to take 41.3 billion euros in European aid to rescue the country's weakest lenders.
A source with knowledge of planning at the economy ministry and the FROB said the state would likely follow in the footsteps of UK Financial Investments, which first sold a 6 percent stake in Lloyds
At the current market price, a stake of 18 percent in Bankia would be worth about 2.7 billion euros. Under a Europe-agreed restructuring plan, the state has until 2017 to exit the ownership of the bank.
(Reporting by Carlos Ruano; Writing by Julien Toyer; Editing by David Holmes)