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Paper: Sudameris could be sold this week

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
The Brazilian subsidiary of Italian banking group Sudameris may change hands before the end of the week, local daily Folha de S.Paulo reported Wednesday. Local banking giants Bradesco (NYSE: BBD) and Unibanco (NYSE: UBB) are said to be in the running as is Dutch-owned ABN Amro Real. So far, the Italian controller of Sudameris, Intesa, sees ABN Amro's proposal as the most attractive, sources close to the negotiations told Folha. "ABN is the only foreign bank poised to boost assets in Brazil," Joao Augusto Frota Salles, a banking analyst with consultancy Lopes Filho, said. Salles said ABN adopted a different strategy from that of other foreign banks last year, opting to boost lending in Brazil during the fourth quarter. Intesa negotiated the sale of Sudameris with the country's second largest private bank Itau last year, but talks broke down in November when the two parties could not agree on the price. Sudameris Brasil executives said in February the bank was no longer up for sale, statements that Intesa CEO Corrado Passera later refuted in a March press conference. "The Brazilian bank is having good results but the decision of selling it is confirmed," he said at the time. Intesa announced last year it would sell its Sudameris franchise in Latin America. The Italian banking group managed to sell its Argentine subsidiary, but has yet to dispose of its Brazilian, Chilean and Peruvian assets. In the case of Peru, Intesa called off the sale earlier this year and decided instead to inject US$150mn into the subsidiary. By Sergio Caldas

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