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Bancolombia Drops After Semana Report of HSBC Panama Bid

Bancolombia SA, Colombia’s largest bank, dropped after a report from Semana magazine that the lender is in talks with HSBC Holdings Plc to buy the London-based bank’s unit in Panama.

The Colombian bank’s preferred shares, which are more actively traded than the common stock, dropped 0.4 percent to 30,680 pesos at the close in Bogota after earlier falling as much as 1.1 percent. The benchmark Colcap Index rose 0.2 percent.

Bancolombia is in talks to buy HSBC’s Panamanian operations in a deal that may be valued at about $1.9 billion, Semana said on its website without saying where it got the information. The bank on Feb. 8 said it would propose to raise money through a preferred share sale at an annual meeting in March. That disclosure sent the stock tumbling 3.2 percent on the next trading day.

“The market may be seeing greater odds of a share sale if this deal goes through,” said Valeria Marconi, an analyst at Correval SA brokerage in Bogota.

HSBC reached agreements last year with two other Colombian banks to sell units in Latin America. In January 2012 Bogota-based Banco Davivienda SA agreed to buy HSBC’s operations in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras for $801 million. Then in May, Bogota-based Banco GNB Sudameris SA agreed to pay about $400 million in cash for HSBC’s businesses in Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Heidi Ashley, a spokeswoman at HSBC in London, and Martha Acosta, a spokeswoman for Medellin-based Bancolombia, separately declined to comment.

In 2006 HSBC agreed to pay $1.77 billion in cash for Panama-based Grupo Banistmo SA, which at the time was the owner of Panama’s largest bank and insurance company. Banistmo also had branches in Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia and Nicaragua, according to HSBC’s July 2006 statement.

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