Chile’s Provida Jumps on Speculation BBVA May Sell Soon

AFP Provida SA, Chile’s largest pension fund manager, rose the most in 10 months on speculation its parent company, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, received a bid for the unit.

Provida gained 11 percent to a record 2,900 pesos at 3:18 p.m. in Santiago trading, the biggest intraday advance since Aug. 9, while its American depositary receipts surged 10 percent. Local trading was halted, the Santiago exchange said.

“There is talk that BBVA already has an attractive offer on the table,” German Guerrero, a partner at Santiago-based brokerage MBI Servicios Financieros, said in a telephone interview. MBI clients sold Provida shares today, he said.

BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank, is studying a partial or total sale of its pension fund business in Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, according to a May 24 regulatory filing.

Roberto Ordonez, head of communications at BBVA’s operations in Chile, didn’t answer two phone calls or respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Brokerage Larrain Vial SA accounted for 76 percent of all acquisitions of Provida shares today, according to information from the Santiago exchange. Gabriela Villalobos, an official at the brokerage’s communications department, declined to comment.

AFP Habitat SA, Chile’s second-largest pension fund manager by assets, rose 4.8 percent to 722.99 pesos, the biggest increase since Oct. 27.

“An attractive offer for Provida will increase valuations of all pension funds,” Guerrero said.

Provida had 21.1 trillion pesos ($42 billion) in assets under management as of May 31 while Habitat had 18.7 trillion pesos, according to the industry regulator’s website.

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