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Mexico:Banorte cagy on rumors of IXE acquisition

In a release to the Mexican stock exchange (BMV), Grupo Financiero Banorte was noncommittal on a rumor published by a prominent business columnist that the bank was in talks to acquire IXE Grupo Financiero.

The release said Banorte is “analyzing different strategic alternatives to continue consolidating its leadership position as one of the most important institutions in the Mexican financial system.”

IXE released a similarly vague statement through the BMV, saying it was “exploring options to increase its competitive capacity in the Mexican financial market.”

RUMOR RILES MARKETS

The acquisition rumor that sparked a more than 2% jump in IXE’s stock price on Friday (Oct 1) started with Alberto Aguilar, a financial columnist with daily newspaper El Universal, who published an article that afternoon saying that Banorte “is in very advanced talks to acquire IXE.”

Aguilar’s un-sourced columns have frequently been accurate this year as the rumors have swirled over a possible acquisition of non-bank mortgage lender Hipotecaria Su Casita.

Curiously, this is the second time in recent days that Banorte and IXE have appeared in the same headlines in Mexican papers. Earlier, both banks said they would like to be involved as investors in the restructuring of troubled Mexican airline Mexicana: Banorte by possibly converting a loan to the company into an equity stake and IXE by rounding up a group of investors to purchase the company.

Banorte general manager Alejandro Valenzuela had told the Mexican media that he was “very happy” that IXE was interested in getting involved in the Mexicana restructuring.

IXE PROFITS LAGGING

IXE Grupo Financiero has not been very profitable as of late and has had some trouble picking up the pace following the financial crisis of 2009.

The financial group – which includes an insurer and a securities broker, as well as the 11th largest bank in the Mexican market – earned 28mn pesos (US$2.2mn) in the first half, down 83% from its 1H09 earnings.

As a consequence, the group had a 12-month ROE of 0.89%, the lowest of the 25 financial groups tracked by Mexican banking and securities commission CNBV and far below the industry average of 14.9%.

The group also had to close an ill-timed middle-class consumer banking venture called Banco Deuno that it launched in 2008, rolling it up into its flagship bank in August.

Should Banorte complete a full acquisition of Grupo Financiero IXE, the financial group would overtake Santander Mexico to become the third largest financial group in the Mexican market by assets, behind Banamex and BBVA Bancomer.

Grupo Financiero Banorte is the only top-five financial group in Mexico that is controlled by Mexican capital.

Source: Business News America, 02.10.2010

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Filed under: Banking, BMV - Mexico, Latin America, Mexico, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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