Banco Nación board approves US$160mn BICE deal

Friday, November 10, 2017

The board of Argentina's biggest bank by assets, state-run Banco Nación, approved the divestment of three of its businesses to investment and foreign trade bank BICE.

BICE, which is also state controlled, is due to acquire Nación's leasing, factoring and trust fund units.

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As part of the deal, Nación will obtain about 2.8bn pesos (US$160mn) in BICE shares and end up with a 66% stake in the bank.

The deal "gives us a bigger lending pot to enable us to focus on renewable energy, factoring and other areas we want to develop," BICE president Pablo García was quoted as saying.

BICE's board is due to authorize the transaction when it meets on November 14, newspapers reported. At the end of June, BICE was the 24th biggest lender in the country by assets.

BICE has allocated US$200mn to finance renewable energy projects awarded through the country's RenovAr public auction program.

Nación wants to focus on the mortgage and SME segments.

Creating opportunities for small businesses is seen as a key way to reduce poverty and advance economic development and, crucially, help create the estimated 600mn new jobs the World Bank says will be required worldwide by 2030.