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Banorte CEO Says Quarterly Earnings Likely Met Analyst Forecast

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, Mexico’s third-biggest bank, had a “good year” in 2013, and earnings in the fourth quarter were likely within analysts’ expectations, Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Valenzuela said.

Banorte expects to increase lending 15 percent this year, Valenzuela said in an interview at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. He also predicted that smaller banks may look to join together through mergers and acquisitions.

“For us, loan growth will come from SMEs and consumer products, mortgages, credit cards, payroll loans, automotive loans,” Valenzuela said. “If the economy manages to grow by 3.5 or 4 percent, we can grow easily by 15 percent. The rest of the industry will be pretty close to that.”

Banorte fell 2.1 percent to 88.09 pesos at 9:41 a.m. today in Mexico City trading after touching 87.60 pesos earlier, the lowest intraday price since Nov. 27. Mexico’s benchmark IPC index fell 1.4 percent.

Mexico’s economy will grow 3.4 percent this year, faster than an estimated 1.2 percent expansion last year, according to the median projection of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The government forecasts a 3.9 percent expansion for this year.

Banorte’s lending grew about 7 percent last year amid Mexico’s slowest economic expansion since 2009, Valenzuela said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net; Eric Martin in Mexico City at emartin21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Carlos Manuel Rodriguez at carlosmr@bloomberg.net

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