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Banorte Rises After Central Bank’s Ortiz Named Board Chairman

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, Mexico’s third-largest bank by outstanding loans, rose in Mexico City trading after naming former Mexico central bank Governor Guillermo Ortiz as its chairman.

Banorte rose 48 centavos, or 0.9 percent, to 52.2 pesos at 12:13 p.m. New York time. The company was the second-biggest gainer in Mexico’s IPC index after Gruma SAB. Investors must sign off on Ortiz’s appointment after the board approved the proposal by Chairman Roberto Gonzalez, who will become chairman emeritus, Banorte said in a statement yesterday.

Ortiz, 62, joins a bank that is turning to acquisitions for growth. The company is in talks to buy Ixe Grupo Financiero SAB, which Banorte said would add to cost savings and to its loan portfolio. Banorte Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Valenzuela said yesterday he’s interested in all of Ixe’s units, which include banking, mortgages and investment management.

Ortiz’s arrival will help the Monterrey, Mexico-based bank cement confidence in its brand in Mexico and abroad, said Rafael Escobar, an analyst with Vector Casa de Bolsa SA in Mexico City.

“This is one of the names with the greatest weight in the Mexican financial sector,” he said. “It’s a person that gives prestige to a very reputable institution such as Banorte.”

Banorte’s third-quarter net income rose 20 percent from a year earlier to 1.71 billion pesos ($138 million) as its loan portfolio expanded, the company said in the statement. Outstanding loans expanded about 8 percent to 254 billion pesos.

‘Important Change’

Ortiz led the central bank for two six-year terms before being replaced by Agustin Carstens last year. As governor, Ortiz oversaw the bank’s implementation of a system to target inflation and the transition to an interest-rate setting system like the one used by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

“It’s a very important change in my career,” Ortiz said today in an interview broadcast on Mexico City-based Radio Formula. Banorte will increase its “relevance” in the Mexican market with the Ixe merger, he said.

Banorte is seeking to close the agreement with Ixe by the middle of November, Valenzuela said today on the same broadcast.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Roeder in Mexico City at jroeder@bloomberg.net; Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jose Enrique Arrioja at jarrioja@bloomberg.net

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