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Report: 3 Argentine banks submit offers for Cencosud's local card biz

HSBC Bank Argentina SA, BBVA Banco Francés SA and Banco Macro SA have submitted nonbinding offers to acquire Cencosud SA's Argentine credit card operations, El Cronista reported, citing unnamed sources.

According to the report, Goldman Sachs is tasked to sell the Cencosud portfolio, as the Chile-based retailer looks to partner with a bank for its card business. Cencosud declined to comment on the story, El Cronista said.

It was first reported in the fourth quarter of last year that the three bidding Argentine banks were interested in buying Cencosud's Argentine credit card business. A previous report said Cencosud plans to sell 50% of its credit card operations in Argentina and Peru, although this was later denied by the Chilean company.

A CEO of an unnamed Argentine bank previously told El Cronista that the Cencosud deal is a complex transaction. "It is difficult to alienate the interests between a retailer that wants to issue many cards to give cheap credit, versus a bank that seeks to be restrictive and to grant loans only to good customers who do not have credit problems to avoid having delinquency problems," the source reportedly said.

In August 2017, Cencosud said it was looking to divest as much as $1 billion in nonstrategic assets, although it did not indicate which ones would be sold.

In Argentina, Cencosud owns credit card servicer Tarjeta Cencosud.