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BCI to buy Wal-Mart's Chilean financial biz; Bradesco compensates pension funds

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BCI to buy Wal-Mart's Chilean financial biz; Bradesco compensates pension funds

* Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA signed a definitive agreement to fully acquire retail giant Wal-Mart's Chilean financial division for about 92.01 billion Chilean pesos. In conjunction with the deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, Bci will enter into a renewable 10-year commercial agreement with Wal-Mart Chile that includes "success-based" commissions for the retailer.

* Banco Bradesco SA will pay more than 111 million reais to three Brazilian pension funds amid an investigation, known as Operation Greenfield, into alleged irregularities in pension funds, Valor Econômico reported. The bank's payment to Petros, Funcef and Afeam corresponds to the amount invested in the Enseada investment fund from Dec. 31, 2010, to mid-October of this year.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA said it acted as joint lead arranger and joint book runner for a $151.5 million senior unsecured syndicated loan for UNIFIN Financiera SAB de CV SOFOM ENR The three-year loan will be used to refinance Unifin's existing indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.

* Mexico's government recognized Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez as the victor of a disputed election that took place in November, Reuters reported. The Organization of American States has recommended a new election to counter accusations of fraud.

* AXA Seguros SA de CV aims to bolster sales of life insurance premiums in inflation-adjusted UDI units in 2018 following strong growth in the policies this year, El Economista reported, citing the company's commercial and life director Jorge Blasco. He said that of the 12,000 policies sold so far this year, about 40% were in UDIs, up from only 10% in 2016.

* Grensa, the first Mexican popular finance company, or sofipo, to receive regulatory authorization since the 2014 Ficrea fraud scandal, will seek to meet the credit needs of small and medium-sized companies now that it has the possibility to receive deposits and diversify its funding sources, El Economista reported, citing company executives.

BRAZIL

* Credit demand from Brazilian businesses increased 9.5% year over year in November as stabilizing economic conditions and falling interest rates spurred greater confidence to take on new debt, according to Serasa Experian. Compared to the prior month, demand for corporate credit ticked 1.8% higher in November.

* Cielo SA said its American depositary receipts will be traded on Nasdaq International Designation as of Jan. 2, 2018.

* Brazilian prosecutors charged David Muino Suarez, a relationship manager at Switzerland-based lender BSI, with laundering $21.7 million in illicit funds for Brazilian clients, Reuters reported.

* The Brazilian central bank announced a reduction in reserve requirements for lenders, effective Jan. 2, 2018, in a move that will inject 6.5 billion reais into the country's economy, Reuters reported.

* Brazilian central bank Governor Ilan Goldfajn said a moderate benchmark interest rate cut would be suitable at the bank's monetary policy meeting in February 2018, Reuters reported. The benchmark Selic rate stands at 7%.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social is preparing three new products aimed at attracting private investment for infrastructure projects in Brazil, Valor Econômico reported. The initiatives include creating a credit line for companies to take out foreign currency hedges, with the development bank guaranteeing up to 20% of a company's hedge obligations.

ANDEAN

* Banco Internacional del Perú SAA said its board approved a bond issuance program of up to $800 million. The bonds can be placed in both international and domestic markets.

* Rigel Peru SA Compania De Seguros De Vida said it will implement a capital increase of up to 3.3 million Peruvian soles. Owners DT Rigel SA and Euroamerica SA will each have a 50% contribution in the capital raise.

* Peru's current political crisis will hit investor sentiment even if President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is not impeached by Congress, according to a Bloomberg report carried by El Comercio, citing a report by the Oxford Economics consultancy. In separate Bloomberg reports carried by Gestión, Japanese investment bank Nomura said the crisis could hit the Peruvian sol, while Brazil's BTG Pactual was optimistic about Peruvian stocks as long as early elections are not called.

* Peruvian savings bank Caja Municipal de Ahorro y Credito de Arequipa SA issued 20 million soles in four-year bonds, the first issuance of long-term debt by such an institution, Gestión reported. Caja Arequipa became the first municipal savings bank to issue debt in the capital market between 2010 and 2012.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina's Congress passed President Mauricio Macri's pension reform plan in a rescheduled vote Dec. 19, Reuters reported. The reform has attracted fierce criticism from opposition lawmakers and labor unions, who say it will hurt retirees.

* An Argentine fintech platform called Plata Ya, or Money Now, owned by the Sucred holding company, is offering loans to borrowers as long as they can supply a selfie with some "proof of life" such as winking or opening the mouth, Clarín reported.

* Chile's banking law reform is likely to continue its advance through Congress following Sebastián Piñera's election as president while other economic reforms such as a pension shake-up will be blocked, Pulso reported, citing Senator Juan Antonio Coloma. Moody's also said it would be difficult for Piñera's administration to reverse all the fiscal reforms of the previous government because the president-elect lacks a congressional majority.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Takaful Emarat buying Al Hilal Takaful; Qatar launches currency-rigging probe

* Europe: Lloyd's changes strategy; Brydon keeps LSE chair post; BPM selling bad loans

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription.