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Banco Popular's board to study bids May 31

The board of Banco Popular Español SA is planning to meet May 31 and is expected to discuss bids made by other financial entities interested in buying the bank, El Economista reported May 29.

The board is also likely to discuss alternatives to a sale including a capital increase and the disposal of non-strategic assets, the paper said.

The report also said the bank was still betting on a deadline of June 10 to find a buyer and that only Bankia SA and Banco Santander SA had submitted non-binding proposals and had been given access to the bank's balance sheets.

Popular said May 16 that it had received "preliminary" expressions of interest from several entities. The bank's Executive Chairman Emilio Saracho told shareholders April 10 that the bank would need to raise capital to meet regulatory requirements or it may decide to merge with another bank.

Popular has been struggling with heavy losses as it seeks to reduce a bad debt pile of almost €37 billion, largely linked to real estate assets accumulated during Spain's property bubble.