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BBVA's FORUM preps investor presentation as potential sale looms

FORUM Servicios Financieros SA has detailed its 2018 financials in a corporate presentation to investors, a move seen as a key step in a planned sale of of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA's Chilean automobile financing business.

FORUM, which specializes in the financing of automotive purchases and operates through a network of 360 dealers and 665 points of sale in Chile, is the last of BBVA's business units in the country. Despite having described it as a "highly attractive business" in the past, the Spanish bank plans to sell off the subsidiary, effectively completing its withdrawal from Chile.

According to previous reports, BBVA engaged investment bank JPMorgan to manage the potential sale of the unit, which is the Spanish banking giant's last remaining investment in Chile, after the sale of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA to Bank of Nova Scotia in 2018. FORUM is reportedly expected to fetch bids of around $800 million; offers are expected to come in between March and April.

BBVA said in late 2018 that it was exploring strategic alternatives for FORUM, including a partial or total sale. FORUM has around 23% market penetration within light vehicles credit in Chile, and financed some 96,000 cars last year, according to the financial results. The company booked about 55.08 billion Chilean pesos in net profits last year.

Scotiabank is one of the "strongest" suitors to buy the business, according to a Diario Financiero report citing market sources.

As of March 8, US$1 was equivalent to 671.55 Chilean pesos.