Rio government postpones auction of hard-to-sell state bank

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state government has postponed the auction of state bank Banco do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Berj), according to a filing with the Bovespa stock exchange.

The auction was originally scheduled for Monday, but was called off Friday (Apr 15). No details were given about the auction's new date.

It has been very hard for the state government to get rid of Berj, as several attempts during the last few years have been unsuccessful.

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The latest was an auction held in May last year, which saw no bids from private sector banks.

Berj is the result of a 1997 privatization, in which Banco Itaú - now part of Itaú Unibanco (NYSE: ITUB) - incorporated one part of state bank Banerj, while the state government held onto the remaining assets, which came to be known as Berj.