* Bank says several non-binding bids received
* Parallel talks held with other investors
* Co-op Bank in race to boost capital levels
By Lawrence White
LONDON, April 7 Britain's Co-operative Bank
said on Friday it had received a number of non-binding
offers that would go into a next phase of bidding, as the
struggling lender seeks a takeover that would ward off the need
for state intervention.
The bank, which put itself up for sale in February, said all
the offers involved some form of liability management, as the
bank mulls ways to reduce its debt and raise capital back to
levels that would satisfy regulators.
The bank said it was in parallel discussions with investors
on other ways to build up its capital.
Co-operative Group, which owns a fifth of Co-op Bank, on
Thursday wrote down the value of that stake to nil, in a sign of
uncertainty about the outcome of the sale process and the
consequent difficulty of valuing the lender.
Sources close to the sale have previously told Reuters that
most bidders were interested in specific assets only as they saw
little value in buying the whole group.
The lender, which has four million customers, urgently needs
to raise capital to avoid the risk of being wound down. On Feb.
13 it announced plans to find a new owner after it struggled to
meet regulatory capital requirements.
If the bank fails to attract an outright buyer, or enough
fresh capital from outside investors, it faces the possibility
of becoming the first lender to undergo the wind-up process
under powers granted to the Bank of England.
The rules drawn up following the 2008 financial crisis grant
the Bank's Prudential Regulation Authority to intervene in a
struggling bank, with the aim of imposing losses on its
investors rather than taxpayers via a bailout.
(Additional reporting by Esha Vaish; Editing by David Clarke
and David Holmes)