Slim’s Inbursa to Acquire Standard Bank Unit to Expand in Brazil

Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB, the bank controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, agreed to buy Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s Brazil unit for $45 million, getting a foot in the door in South America’s largest economy.

The Standard Bank unit, with an operating license in Brazil, offers a platform to develop a local business in the same mold as Inbursa’s current operations, Slim’s company said in a filing yesterday. The Mexico City-based bank offers services including insurance and auto loans in its home country.

Inbursa, led by Chairman Marco Antonio Slim Domit, the billionaire’s son, is making more investments abroad. Its participation in a syndicated loan to YPF SA resulted in Inbursa receiving shares in 2012 after the Argentine oil producer defaulted.

Inbursa dropped less than 1 percent to 29.10 pesos yesterday in Mexico City before the acquisition was announced. Bloomberg News reported in October that Inbursa was in talks to acquire the Standard Bank division.

Banco Standard de Investimentos SA, as the Brazil unit is known, had 244 million reais ($144 million) of assets in the country as of September, 92 percent less than the 2.9 billion reais reported in June 2012, according to central bank data. Total capital decreased 63 percent to 115 million reais.

Standard Bank, based in Johannesburg, established an office in Sao Paulo in 1998 and eventually employed more than 100 people there, according to the company’s website. The Brazil unit has been involved in structured finance, metals trading, commodity finance, foreign-exchange transactions and derivatives trading.

In 2011, Standard began unwinding its expansion strategy in emerging markets and announced asset sales in Russia, Turkey and Argentina to raise cash for investment in Africa. The following year, it completed the sale of 80 percent of its Argentine division for about $400 million to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

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