Citigroup’s Mexico retail unit, known as Citibanamex, said it expects to set the terms of its sale in early April, amid signs of increased interest in the bank, which is expected to bring in at least $4 billion.
Citi’s head of the country, Manuel Romo, told reporters that the unit will open its “data room” to those it believes meet the requirements necessary to launch a bid for the bank, whose sale was announced in January.
“We are doing it in a timely and appropriate manner,” Romo said at a press conference ahead of the country’s highly anticipated banking conference, which is being held in Acapulco for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, Mexican bank Banorte said that if it decided to go ahead with an offer, it would invite “all Mexicans” to participate in the purchase.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he wants investors to “make the bank Mexican,” which Citi bought in 2001.
Lopez Obrador mentioned the names of several big Mexican businessmen, such as Ricardo Salinas, who controls Banco Azteca, and Carlos Hank Gonzalez of Banorte as potential buyers.
In a call with investors in February, Romo said that Citibanamex could be sold directly or through an initial public offering (IPO), but the bank was not willing to sell the partial unit.
Romo also said the sale, which could take up to two years, received interest from domestic and foreign banks and non-banks.
Analysts have priced Citibanamex from $4 billion to $8 billion, although Citi, which acquired the bank for $12.5 billion in 2001, has yet to price the unit.
Romo said Wednesday that Paco Ybarra, CEO of Citi’s Corporate Client Group, will lead the sale from New York.
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