Banco do Brasil, Bradesco Join Espirito Santo to Buy African Bank Stakes

Banco do Brasil SA and rival Banco Bradesco SA agreed to acquire stakes in BES Africa, a Banco Espirito Santo SA holding company that makes investments on the continent, as the Brazilian banks expand international operations.

Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal’s biggest publicly traded bank by market value, said today that Banco do Brasil and Bradesco are entering a partnership with its African holding company to acquire stakes in financial institutions based in Africa, according to a regulatory filing.

“It’s very positive to have Brazilian banks operating abroad, not only to expand their businesses but also to help Brazilian citizens that work in other countries and companies that have operations abroad,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega said today in Sao Paulo at a news conference to announce the African partnership.

Banco do Brasil, Latin America’s biggest bank by assets, raised 9.76 billion reais ($5.54 billion) in July in a stock offering to expand abroad and increase lending. The Brasilia- based bank in April made its first international acquisition, paying $480 million for a controlling stake in Banco Patagonia SA, Argentina’s third-largest bank by market value, joining competitors Bradesco and Itau Unibanco Holdings SA to expand abroad.

Banco do Brasil is considering acquisitions in the U.S. and has identified a few possible names, Aldemir Bendine, the bank’s president, said today at the news conference. He didn’t provide further details.

Bradesco, Brazil’s second-biggest lender by market value, said in April it would hire 40 people for its asset-management division to expand in Latin America, Europe, the U.S. and Japan. BRAM, as Bradesco’s asset management unit is known, said one- third of the new hires would work outside Brazil to sell Brazilian-asset funds and lure capital to local markets.

The banks will complete in 60 to 90 days studies of their venture in Africa with BES, Bendine said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joao Oliveira in Sao Paulo at joliveira4@bloomberg.net; Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro at abrasileiro@bloomberg.net

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