Banistmo-Lloyds deal receives regulator approval

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Colombian banking regulator Superbancaria approved Panamanian bank Banco del Istmo's (Banistmo) acquisition of UK financial services group Lloyds TSB's (NYSE: LYG) Colombian unit, a source at Superbancaria confirmed to BNamericas.

Lloyds announced the sale of its operations in Colombia to Banistmo as well as its Argentine unit to local bank Banco Patagonia Sudameris in July this year. The final transaction will take place on November 30, giving Banistmo ownership of Lloyds Colombia beginning December 1, according to a Banistmo press release.

The regulator approved Banistmo's purchase of 95% of Lloyds TSB Colombia. Lloyds total assets are worth some US$398mn or 7% of Banistmo's total assets.

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The acquisition is part of Banistmo's international expansion strategy announced in 1998. The bank now has operations in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and the Bahamas.

Lloyd's Latin American operations will be reduced to Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay and those units will be monitored under Lloyds TSB's global strategy together with all other international operations.

As of September, Banistmo had total assets of US$5.6bn and equity of US$553mn, making it the largest bank in Central America, according to the bank's release.