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Valencia seeks rescue of more than 4.5 bil. euros

MADRID--Spain's eastern Valencia region will ask for a rescue of more than 4.5 billion euros (US$5.6 billion) from the central government, a spokesman said Thursday.

“Yes, I confirm the figure,” the spokesman said when asked about Spanish media reports on the plea, which comes two days after northeastern Catalonia announced it would seek 5 billion euros.

The regional president, Alberto Fabra, gave the figure while visiting a factory in the Valencian city of Castellon, he confirmed.

Valencia had a debt of more than 20 billion euros at the end of 2011, equal to about 20 percent of its entire economic output. It faces debt repayments of 2.88 billion euros in the second half of 2012.

The region had estimated its needs at 3.5 billion euros, but Fabra added “more than a billion” euros to cover monies owed by the region to municipalities.

The request, which adds to a growing list of demands including Catalonia's, comes as Spain itself is in the sights of investors who fear Madrid will need a bailout to meet debt repayments due this autumn.

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