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Santander Chile closes sale of Nexus stake; Banco do Brasil prices offering

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents the week's latest news and trends in Latin American banking.

M&A front

* Banco Santander Chile finalized the sale of most of its ownership stake in payment processing company Sociedad Operadora de Tarjetas de Crédito Nexus SA. The Chilean bank sold an 11% stake in Nexus to Banco de Chile, Banco del Estado de Chile and Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA. Meanwhile, Brazil-based Itaú Unibanco Holding SA will buy Santander Chile's remaining 1.9% stake in the payment processor, subject to the approval of Banco Central do Brasil.

* Argentina's Banco Macro SA completed the acquisition of the entire stake of Banco del Tucumán SA. The merger by absorption comes under the corporate combination process Banco Macro started in April.

* Créditos y Ahorro Credifinanciera S.A. Compañía de Financiamiento completed its acquisition of all shares of Banco ProCredit Colombia SA. Financial regulator SFC approved the transaction in September.

* Banco Santander SA received clearance from the Peruvian banking regulator to acquire more than 37.3 million shares of Edpyme Santander Consumo Perú SA from SKBergé SA, Banco Santander Perú SA said. The purchase will allow Santander to increase its direct ownership in the auto loan provider to 99.99% from 55%.

* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA confirmed that it will not sell Chilean automobile financing unit FORUM Servicios Financieros SA for the time being. Diario Financiero earlier reported that BBVA likely received offers of about €600 million for FORUM, but felt that it can extract more value from the business.

Follow-on offers

* Banco do Brasil SA priced its secondary share offering at 44.05 reais apiece, generating about 5.84 billion reais for the bank and workers' severance fund FI-FGTS. The two entities sold a combined 132,506,737 Banco do Brasil shares, with the bank off-loading 64 million shares held in treasury and the fund selling 68,506,737 shares.

* Brazilian financial technology firm PagSeguro Digital Ltd. priced its follow-on public offering of class A common shares at US$39.00 apiece, representing an aggregate offering amount of about US$653.3 million. Parent company Universo Online S/A, the sole selling shareholder in the offering, is divesting 16,750,000 shares in PagSeguro and has given the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 2,512,500 additional shares.

Legal table

* Mexican antitrust regulator Cofece reportedly notified seven financial institutions where it discovered probable evidence of efforts to manipulate government bond prices. The watchdog has been investigating the matter for nearly three years and could levy fines of up to 10% of a company's annual Mexican revenue if it finds them guilty. A ruling against the banks would be negative for their credit profiles, Moody's said.

* Ricardo Monreal, the Mexican Senate's majority leader, said the assembly looks to pass a group of bills that would reduce banking fees by the end of October. The first batch of bills would revise 32 articles and three laws, with one proposal looking to waive certain fees and charges for bank accounts smaller than 18,700 Mexican pesos, Monreal said.

Rebranding

* Financiera G&T Continental Costa Rica SA received approval from financial regulator SUGEF to change its name to Financiera Gente SA.

* Following its $19 million purchase of the digital business unit of Chile's Multicaja SA earlier this year, Peru's Credicorp Ltd. renamed the unit as Tenpo PayPal.

Fintech sphere

* Peruvian personal loan startup Latin Fintech plans to start expanding its business to other Latin American countries, including Mexico and Colombia. Latin Fintech may start its foray into the international market by next year.

* Spain-based financial technology firm Bnext will launch operations in Mexico in November, its first venture outside its home country, CEO Guillermo Vicandi said.

In other news

* The Brazilian central bank has given approval for the capital of Banco XCMG Brasil SA to be 100% foreign-owned. It marked the first such authorization by the regulator, which was recently given the authority to decide on the participation of foreign investors in banks. Banco XCMG will be established by China-based XCMG Construction Machinery Co. Ltd., which specializes in heavy equipment.

* Brazil's Banco Inter SA and Uber Technologies Inc. are reportedly in discussions to create a financial services partnership. The partnership could target both Banco Inter's more than 3 million clients and Uber's drivers.

Featured this week on Market Intelligence

* In hunt for fintech unicorns, venture capital looks to Latin America: The Latin American startup space has seen record flows of equity investments over the last two years, as global funds look to secure stakes in promising startups bound to become regional leaders.

* Uncertainty in Argentina drives bank rating downgrades in Q3: Rating downgrades among Latin American banks outflanked upgrades in the quarter through Oct. 1, with all negative rating actions coming from Argentine lenders.

* Hires and Fires: A weekly rundown of executive management, board and other personnel moves at Latin American financial institutions.

* Ratings Roundup: A summary of various ratings actions on Latin American financial institutions and economies.