Auditors: Spain bank bailout could cost up to $78B

By Daniel Woolls

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 21 2012 2:18 p.m. MDT

Oliver Wyman Inc. gave a worst-case range of €51 billion to €62 billion in new capital needs while Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH gave a single figure of €51 billion.

The release of the audits probably won't erase market nervousness about Spain, said Mark Miller, an analyst with Capital Economics in London.

"At face value it looks as if there is a reasonable safety margin given that up to €100 billion is potentially available," he said. "Having said that, the extent of the economic situation in Spain could even deteriorate beyond what is being described as an adverse scenario."

Some investors will likely still be nervous over whether the auditors' reports discovered most if not all of the toxic assets on the balance sheets of Spain's banks, Miller said. And their fears are compounded by concerns that Greece might still end up having to leave the single currency, further destabilizing the eurozone and especially Spain.

The results of the audits are good news for Spain because both companies came up with similar numbers and the overall figures were lower than some estimates of the banking sector's recapitalization needs, said Gayle Allard, an economist with Madrid's IE Business School.

"I think it's a fantastic result because there was talk of needs of €70 billion to €80 billion and that the loan could have been for €100 billion," she said.

Investors could still easily find something to scare them about the results, Allard said, "but I don't think there's any reason to do so."

She added: "The audits have come in better than anyone has expected, there's still some uncertainty, but if both of them are coming to the conclusion of those numbers we've got to be in the ballpark."

Alan Clendenning and Jorge Sainz contributed to this report.

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