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Spanish banks hire JP Morgan to sell 33 per cent stake in Deoleo

Olive-oil giant Deoleo is estimated to have a market value of around €280m.

A group of Spanish banks, including Bankia and Caixabank, have hired financial services group JP Morgan to advise on sale of about 33 per cent stake in food processing firm Deoleo.

The move will help the banks to raise capital and improve balance sheet.

Currently, Bankia and Caixabank hold a stake of 18.2 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively in Deoleo, while the remaining 9 per cent stake is owned by Unicaja, Kutxabank and Banco Mare Nostrum.

Deoleo, best known as olive oil producer, is estimated to have a market value of around €280m. It supplies bottled olive oil in the US, Italy, Canada and Germany under 15 brands and posted revenues of €829m and a net loss of €246m in 2012.

Currently, Deoleo has a debt of €624m.

Bankia and its parent BFA also have holdings in Iberdrola and Indra.

Earlier this month, Bankia hired financial services group N+1 as advisor in the sale of a portfolio comprising nearly 100 equity investments, including both industrial and services companies, as well as interests in private equity funds.

Last month, Bankia has sold a 12.1 per cent stake in International Airlines Group for €675m. The sale was part of a series of disposals imposed by Brussels.

Deoleo, JP Morgan, and Bankia have officially not disclosed the matter.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.