Spain’s Santander hires Credit Suisse, Goldman to look at Citibanamex bid

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MADRID, June 28 (Reuters) – Spain’s Santander has hired Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to look at a potential bid for Citibanamex, Citigroup’s retail bank in Mexico, two sources familiar with the process said on Tuesday without providing further details.

Both Santander and Goldman Sachs declined to comment and a Credit Suisse representative was not immediately available for comment.

Santander had previously submitted a non-binding bid for Citibanamex, another source with direct knowledge of the process said, adding that binding bids were expected later this year.

Spanish newspaper Expansion, which first reported on Tuesday that Santander had hired the banks, said the sale process could be outlined before the end of the summer.

Mexico´s Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV has also submitted a non-binding offer and hired Bank of America as advisor, one source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Analysts at Credit Suisse, in a note on Tuesday, said a sale could be worth up to 9 billion euros ($9.54 billion).

“Our updated scenario analysis suggests a purchase price range of 6.8 billion-9 billion euros,” the analysts said.

Santander Executive Chairman Ana Botin said in February that the bank would look at Citibanamex but would pursue a disciplined approach and not issue new shares to fund any such deal. However, some financial consultants and investment bankers believe that Citibanamex is too good an opportunity not to be considered, given its high profit margins.

Earlier this month Santander, the euro zone’s second-biggest bank in terms of market value, named Mexican Hector Grisi as its new chief executive, who will take on the role next January.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has in the past pledged to “Mexicanize” the unit, floating names of Mexican billionaires and bank owners, but he has no direct control over the process.

Citigroup has said nationality will not be the deciding factor in the transaction.

“Having a Mexican national leading the group could be a positive for the Mexican administration and make a foreign owner more palatable,” broker Nau Securities said recently.

Last Friday, Citigroup Latin America Chief Executive Ernesto Torres Cantu said that the bank did not expect to reach a deal to sell its Mexican consumer banking arm Citibanamex until January 2023.

Cantu said the bank was engaged with potential buyers, but declined to provide more details about the process.

Other potentially interested parties include Mexican Grupo Financiero Inbursa.

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Edmund Shing, PhD

Global Chief Investment Officer
BNP Paribas Wealth Management

Edmund has over 29 years of experience in financial markets in a wide variety of positions, ranging from proprietary trading to portfolio manager in a number of financial institutions in London and Paris.  He previously held the role of Global Head of Equity and Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London from 2015 to 2020, and has been Chief Investment Officer at BNP Paribas Wealth Management since November 2020.

Edmund is responsible for piloting our investment strategy and will continues to rollout out recommendations and themes with actionable advice that brings our expertise to our clients and support to our client-facing teams.  In this time of change, his expertise in following and anticipating markets is a true value added for both our customers and those at Wealth Management who serve them.

Edmund has a PhD in Cognitive and Computing Science from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and has done advanced studies in Knowledge-Based Systems and in Experimental Psychology.  He is an EFFAS-certified financial analyst. He has also authored the book “The Idle Investor” published by Harriman House in 2015, proposing 3 simple investment strategies that take only a few minutes to execute per month.

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