Scotiabank Would Consider Acquisitions in Brazil, CEO Says

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Bank of Nova Scotia, the Canadian lender with operations in more than 55 countries, wouldn’t rule out acquisitions in Brazil, Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said.

“This bank has a history of being opportunistic,” Porter, 57, told reporters Thursday after the bank’s annual investors’ meeting in Ottawa. “It’s an exciting market and an attractive market.”

Porter’s comments come two days after Mexico’s El Financiero newspaper reported that Scotiabank and a Mexican lender are in negotiations to buy the Brazil and Mexico operations of London-based HSBC Holdings Plc. Porter has said Mexico is among four countries in Latin America where Toronto-based Scotiabank has interest in expanding.

“The bank has a history of being acquisitive and that could be anywhere within our footprint,” said Porter who didn’t address the newspaper report.

Along with Mexico, Scotiabank is targeting Peru, Chile and Colombia as countries offering the best growth potential. Porter said in January that he’s preparing the lender’s Mexico unit to be a player in that country’s “next round of consolidation.”

“Brazil will come back,” said Porter, adding that he’s traveling to Brazil and Chile next week. “The economy will come back, there’s no question about that.”

Scotiabank climbed 0.6 percent to C$64.06 at 12:25 p.m. in Toronto. The shares have slid 3.4 percent this year, compared with the 2.7 percent decline of the eight-company Standard & Poor’s/TSX Commercial Banks Index.

The lender has spent about C$8.5 billion on takeovers in the past five years, including the C$3.1 billion acquisition of ING Direct Canada from Amsterdam-based ING Groep NV in 2012, and the $1 billion purchase of 51 percent of Bogota, Colombia-based Banco Colpatria Red Multibanca Colpatria SA, its largest foreign purchase.

(An earlier version of this story corrected Porter’s planned travel destinations.)

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