MADRID, April 10 (Reuters) - Banco Popular chairman Emilio Saracho said on Monday the struggling bank was considering a capital increase and did not rule out a merger.
The bank is considered Spain's weakest due to its exposure to toxic real estate assets, and reported a record 3.5 billion euro ($3.70 billion) loss last year.
"We need high confidence to carry out a new capital increase, so we must create that through transparency," Saracho told shareholders in Madrid.
Saracho, who took over the chairmanship in December, said the bank would continue to work on selling real estate assets and was considering selling off other non-strategic holdings.
Banco Popular shares are the worst performers on the European STOXX banking index over the past year, falling almost 60 percent against a 30 percent rise in the index. They were trading down 2.8 percent at 1022 GMT.
$1 = 0.9454 euros Reporting by Jesus Aguado, writing by Isla Binnie, editing by Angus Berwick