Galicia to seek approval to increase bond program by more than US$300mn

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Argentina's Banco Galicia will on April 27 ask shareholders to approve increasing its bond program by US$300mn to US$643mn, in case the bank's treasury department decides to issue bonds before 2014 if market conditions are ripe, Pablo Firvida, Banco Galicia's head of investor relations, told BNamericas.

Banco Galicia, the main asset of Grupo Financiero Galicia (Nasdaq: GGAL), will see its 2019 step-up 10-year bond increase its coupon in January 2014 to 16% from 11%, and it makes sense not to let the debt issue reach that point, he said.

The bank saw 4Q10 net income surge 269% over 4Q09 to 198mn pesos (US$49mn), due to a significant increase in the volume of business with the private sector, a reduction in its public sector exposure and a decrease in its foreign debt obligations.

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Banco Galicia recently received approval to pay its first dividend to shareholders since the Argentine crisis of 2001-02, although the bulk of it will go to the bank's controller.

Banco Galicia is Argentina's largest locally owned private bank.