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Report: BBVA front-runner to assume Cencosud Argentina credit card operations

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Report: BBVA front-runner to assume Cencosud Argentina credit card operations

BBVA Banco Francés SA is considered the front-runner to acquire Chilean retailer Cencosud SA's credit card operations in Argentina, El Cronista reported citing market sources.

According to the report, Goldman Sachs, which is tasked to sell the Cencosud portfolio, has put a $180 million price tag on the deal. The Chile-based retailer is reportedly looking to partner with a bank for its card business, eyeing faster financing channels.

Cencosud has 700,000 active credit card accounts in Argentina, which finance approximately 1.00 billion Argentine pesos monthly. In addition, the company wants the buyer to take over a 12 billion-peso loan portfolio, according to the publication.

Earlier reports by El Cronista said BBVA, along with HSBC Bank Argentina SA and Banco Macro SA, had already submitted nonbinding offers for the transaction. Cencosud is looking to divest as much as $1 billion in nonstrategic assets in 2018. In May it agreed to sell a 51% stake in Lima, Peru-based Banco Cencosud SA.

Banco de Chile published a report in which it warned that Argentina's current financial troubles could delay the sale of Cencosud's credit card operations until 2019, Diario Financiero reported.

As of June 12, US$1 was equivalent to 25.84 Argentine pesos.