Spanish Banco Santander completes disposal of Columbian unit

Spain’s Banco Santander SA (MCE:SAN) said on Monday it had concluded the second and final phase of the sale of its Colombian business to Chilean lender CorpBanca (SCL:CORPBANCA).

In early December 2011, Santander said it had entered into an agreement to divest all of its Colombian units to CorpBanca. At the end of May 2012, the Spanish bank announced it had finalised the first phase of the transaction after selling 51% stakes in Banco Santander Colombia SA (CLB:SANTANDER) and in Santander Investment Trust Colombia SA for a total price of USD624m (EUR499.2m).

Today, Santander unveiled it had completed the disposal of the remaining shares in the two entities and of its other Colombian units in exchange for USD605m, thus bringing the total price for the entire business to USD1.23bn.

The Spanish lender has gained some EUR620m from the sale that will help it partially satisfy its additional provisioning of real estate assets which need to be covered by the end of the year.

Established in 1857, Banco Santander operates as a Spanish retail bank with presence in ten major markets. It manages EUR1.38trn in funds for over 102m customers across its network of about 15,000 sites. The group has a headcount of some 193,000.

HSBC agrees to sell Latin American operations to Columbia’s Banco GNB

British banking group HSBC Holdings Plc (LON:HSBA) announced it had agreed to sell its operations in Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay to Colombian peer Banco GNB Sudameris SA, owned by the Gilinski Group, for USD400m (EUR310.5m) in cash.

HSBC expects to close the divestment of the activities in Colombia and Peru in the fourth quarter of the year, while the sale of the businesses in Uruguay and Paraguay is seen to be concluded in the first quarter of 2013, it said. All of the transactions are conditional and need to obtain regulatory clearance. The total purchase price will be adjusted to reflect the divested businesses’ net asset value at completion.

The company unveiled that its Latin American unit was holding talks on the matter last week. The disposals are part of HSBC’s strategy and mirror its desire to concentrate on the operations with the greatest potential for sustainable growth, said Antonio Losada, president and chief executive officer of HSBC Latin America and the Caribbean.

The activities being sold consists of 62 branches throughout four countries and had a gross asset value of USD4.5bn as at the end of December 2011.

London-based HSBC is a banking and financial services organisation with around 7,200 offices in more than 80 countries worldwide. At the end of March 2012, the group’s assets amounted to USD2.64trn.

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