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Interacciones CEO: Merger with Banorte could be ready by end of H1

The integration of Grupo Financiero Interacciones SAB de CV into Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV could be ready by the end of the first half of 2018, El Financiero reported, citing Interacciones' CEO Carlos Alberto Rojo Macedo.

The merger process between the two banks will be fast since there is only a very small overlap in business between Interacciones and Banorte, Rojo Macedo said. "We really believe it's a project that has all the financial merits," he added.

In addition, the two banks have worked out mapping processes of their products and systems to ensure the expertise of Interacciones is not lost in the merger, Rojo Macedo noted. This will also allow the merged entity to be even more aggressive in terms of lowering rates and the number of projects being financed while adding value to Banorte's geographical footprint, the executive said.

The two banks have signed a binding merger agreement, which, subject to approval, would make Banorte the country's second-biggest financial group. Banorte CEO Marcos Ramírez previously said they expect the merger to receive authorization from federal competition commission Cofece by the end of the second quarter.

Banorte recorded a 24% year-over-year growth in its fourth-quarter 2017 profit, reaching 6.48 billion Mexican pesos. Meanwhile, Interacciones posted a 15.57% annual decline in its profit for the same quarter to come to 667 million pesos, due partly to one-off expenses relating to its pending merger with Banorte.

As of Feb. 26, US$1 was equivalent to 18.65 Mexican pesos.