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Citi looks to expand in Brazil through wholesale banking strategy

Banco Citibank SA is looking to expand its presence in the financial private sector of Latin America's largest economy, and consolidate its position as parent company Citigroup Inc.'s fifth-largest subsidiary, according to a report from Diário, Comércio, Indústria & Servicos.

"We have a large space to occupy in the wholesale sector," country manager Marcelo Marangon reportedly said, noting that the company built up its investment banking team in 2017.

Citi foresees accelerated growth in credit activity for the next year or two, with a target to increase its US$13 billion portfolio by 7% to 9% in 2019. According to the report, a flurry of companies are considering restructuring debt amid low interest rates, while others are eyeing equity offerings.

"We have a very strong credit discipline and we managed to anticipate most of the restructuring processes," Marangon reportedly said.

Following the sale of its retail banking operations to Itaú Unibanco Holding SA last year, the financial and investment giant turned its attention to the financial market as a wholesale bank focused on private companies, the report said.

The ambitious expansion strategy includes the bolstering of its financial investment department, a more aggressive role in IPO launches, and the execution of several M&A mandates.