Five questions answered on the sale of Lloyds’ Spanish division

The company has not been doing well of late.

Lloyds banking group has announced it is selling its Spanish retail division to Spanish Bank business Banco Sabadell. We answer five questions on the deal.

How much has Lloyds sold its Spanish division for?

It has sold its Spanish retail banking business to Banco Sabadell for 1.8 per cent stake in the Spanish bank, which it will hold for at least two years. The deal also includes the transfer of £1.5bn of assets, such as retail mortgages and deposits. However, its corporate banking division wasn’t included in the sale.

Lloyds said the stake is worth about 84m euros ($110m; £72m). As a result of the sale the bank will make a £250m loss it said.

Banco Sabadell may also be required to pay a further £17m over the next five years, dependent on the profitability of the mortgage business.

Why is Lloyds selling off the Spanish part of its business?

Lloyds said the sale was part of its plan to reduce its international presence.

According to Reuters, Lloyds is cutting its presence from around 30 countries and has already sold operations in 12 countries over the last two years. The company wants to be in less than 15 countries by 2014.

It has also been trying to sell branches in the UK, as is required by European regulators as part of the government take over deal.

How big is Lloyds’ Spanish division?

It has total assets of £1.52 bn, which consist mainly of retail mortgages and deposits, plus 28 offices and a local investment management business.

It lost 43 million euros last year.

How well is the Spanish Bank Banco Sabadell doing?

Shares in the bank were 1.58 euros this morning, after they shed 30 per cent since August last year.

How well has Lloyds been doing of late? 

The 39 per cent state owned bank has faced billions of pounds of losses recently in countries such as Ireland and Australia.

It was also dealt a blow last week when the Co-operative group pulled out of a deal to buy more than 600 branches of Lloyds. The bank is now planning to sell the branches as a stand-alone bank through stock market listing.

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

Photo: Getty Images
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The Fire Brigades Union reaffiliates to Labour - what does it mean?

Any union rejoining Labour will be welcomed by most in the party - but the impact on the party's internal politics will be smaller than you think.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to reaffiliate to the Labour party, in what is seen as a boost to Jeremy Corbyn. What does it mean for Labour’s internal politics?

Firstly, technically, the FBU has never affliated before as they are notionally part of the civil service - however, following the firefighters' strike in 2004, they decisively broke with Labour.

The main impact will be felt on the floor of Labour party conference. Although the FBU’s membership – at around 38,000 – is too small to have a material effect on the outcome of votes themselves, it will change the tenor of the motions put before party conference.

The FBU’s leadership is not only to the left of most unions in the Trades Union Congress (TUC), it is more inclined to bring motions relating to foreign affairs than other unions with similar politics (it is more internationalist in focus than, say, the PCS, another union that may affiliate due to Corbyn’s leadership). Motions on Israel/Palestine, the nuclear deterrent, and other issues, will find more support from FBU delegates than it has from other affiliated trade unions.

In terms of the balance of power between the affiliated unions themselves, the FBU’s re-entry into Labour politics is unlikely to be much of a gamechanger. Trade union positions, elected by trade union delegates at conference, are unlikely to be moved leftwards by the reaffiliation of the FBU. Unite, the GMB, Unison and Usdaw are all large enough to all-but-guarantee themselves a seat around the NEC. Community, a small centrist union, has already lost its place on the NEC in favour of the bakers’ union, which is more aligned to Tom Watson than Jeremy Corbyn.

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s General Secretary, will be a genuine ally to Corbyn and John McDonnell. Len McCluskey and Dave Prentis were both bounced into endorsing Corbyn by their executives and did so less than wholeheartedly. Tim Roache, the newly-elected General Secretary of the GMB, has publicly supported Corbyn but is seen as a more moderate voice at the TUC. Only Dave Ward of the Communication Workers’ Union, who lent staff and resources to both Corbyn’s campaign team and to the parliamentary staff of Corbyn and McDonnell, is truly on side.

The impact of reaffiliation may be felt more keenly in local parties. The FBU’s membership looks small in real terms compared Unite and Unison have memberships of over a million, while the GMB and Usdaw are around the half-a-million mark, but is much more impressive when you consider that there are just 48,000 firefighters in Britain. This may make them more likely to participate in internal elections than other affiliated trade unionists, just 60,000 of whom voted in the Labour leadership election in 2015. However, it is worth noting that it is statistically unlikely most firefighters are Corbynites - those that are will mostly have already joined themselves. The affiliation, while a morale boost for many in the Labour party, is unlikely to prove as significant to the direction of the party as the outcome of Unison’s general secretary election or the struggle for power at the top of Unite in 2018. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.