Scotiabank Seeks More Latin America Deals, With Focus on Mexico

Bank of Nova Scotia, which has spent about C$8.5 billion ($7.1 billion) on takeovers in the past five years, is seeking more deals in Latin America as it focuses on Mexico, Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said.

“We intend to continue to be acquisitive as a bank,” Porter, 56, said today at a mergers-and-acquisitions conference in Toronto.

Scotiabank is preparing for more consolidation among lenders in Mexico, one of four Latin American countries the Toronto-based lender has focused on for growth.

“We’re trying to run our bank as efficiently as we can in Mexico, we’re making the technology improvements and upgrading people, all those type of things, to get ready for what we view as the next round of consolidation,” Porter said. “I don’t know whether it’s going to happen in ’15, ’16 or ’17, but we want to be in the room for it.”

Porter said it’s also a good time to buy as Spanish lenders Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, and London-based HSBC Holdings Plc scale back in Latin America.

“We’re still seeing some of the global banks shedding assets in what they call non-core and we’re taking advantage of that,” Porter said, adding that the bank hasn’t faced much competition when bidding for assets in the region.

Scotiabank has three deals awaiting completion in Uruguay, Peru and Chile with a total purchase price of about C$600 million, Porter said. The bank, which operates in more than 55 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, agreed last month to buy Citigroup Inc.’s retail- and commercial-banking businesses in Peru for an undisclosed price.

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