The questions now are: who gets to buy the bank’s assets, and for how much?
The answer to the second question depends on whom you ask. According to Bank of America analysts, it could be worth between $12.5 billion USD — the price Citi paid for Banamex in 2001 — and $15 billion. BBVA, which hasn’t ruled out bidding for Banamex, put the price tag at between $9.5 billion and $14 billion. Some analysts believe it could be worth a lot more, perhaps even as much as $30 billion, if Citi were to spin off the bank and list it on a stock exchange, most likely in Mexico or the U.S..
There are certainly plenty of interested buyers. They include Spain’s biggest lender, Grupo Santander, which already has a strong presence in Mexico, as well as Canada’s third-largest lender, Scotiabank, which has been in Mexico since its purchase of the struggling Grupo Financiero Inverlat in the 1990s. If Santander were to acquire Banamex, it would mean that two Spanish lenders would essentially dominate Mexico’s banking system, the other being BBVA which owns Mexico’s largest lender, BBVA Mexico, with roughly 20% of the market.
That is unlikely to please Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador (AMLO for short), who announced last Thursday that he would much prefer Banamex (which stands for Banco Nacional de Mexico) to pass back into the hands of Mexican owners. Mexico’s banking system is largely controlled by big global lenders, which were able to pick up struggling or collapsing domestic lenders for next to nothing in the wake of the Tequila Crisis (1994-5).
“I am pleased that Ricardo Salinas Pliego has expressed an interest in buying it; he already owns Banco Azteca and I believe he has sufficient resources to do so. The same could be said of Carlos Slim, who owns Inbursa, and Carlos Hank González, of Banorte, among others.”
Mexico’s third-richest man, Salinas Pliego owns a suite of companies including the retail chain Elektra, which sells electrical appliances in installments to low-income consumers; Banco Azteca, which is also focused on consumers of modest means; and TV Azteca, Mexico’s second-largest broadcaster.
Source: El Economista