BTG Pactual, Celfin in Talks to Form Biggest Latin America Investment Bank

Banco BTG Pactual SA, whose chief executive officer is Brazilian billionaire Andre Esteves, is in merger talks with Chile’s Celfin Capital SA in a transaction that would strengthen the Brazilian firm’s presence in the Andean region.

The merger “would create Latin America’s biggest investment bank that leads the region’s most important markets,” Santiago-based Celfin wrote in an e-mailed statement. BTG said the firms have similar cultures and that a merger would create synergies that would benefit their clients and shareholders.

Sao Paulo-based BTG Pactual employs 1,200 people and manages $64.5 billion of assets while Celfin, with a staff of 500, manages $5.5 billion of assets, the statement said. Celfin operates as a brokerage in Chile and Peru and may begin operations in Colombia next month, Juan Andres Camus, the firm’s chairman, said yesterday at the Bloomberg Chile Economic Summit in Santiago.

Esteves, 43, and Brazil’s youngest self-made billionaire, has said he aims to turn BTG into the biggest investment bank in Latin America.

Third-Biggest Adviser

The firm rose to become the second-biggest manager of equity sales in Brazil this year, after Banco Itau BBA SA, up from seventh place in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. BTG is the third-biggest adviser of mergers and acquisitions so far this year after Itau BBA and Credit Suisse, keeping its 2010 ranking. It managed 38.5 percent of all M&A deals in Brazil this year.

Among recent deals, BTG in July put together a proposal to merge Carrefour SA’s Brazilian assets with the country’s biggest retailer, Cia. Brasileira de Distribuicao Grupo Pao de Acucar. The deal was rejected by Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA, which shares control of Pao de Acucar with Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz.

In June, BTG raised $1.6 billion for its first private- equity fund, with investments from global funds, sovereign wealth funds and family trusts.

BTG, which Esteves and partners repurchased from UBS AG for $2.5 billion in 2009, has been buying stakes in ventures including pharmacies, hospitals and parking lot operators as it taps into Brazil’s economic expansion and strong consumer demand.

In February, BTG ventured into retail banking with the acquisition of Banco Panamericano SA, a used-car lender.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eduardo Thomson in Santiago at ethomson1@bloomberg.net; Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro at abrasileiro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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