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BBVA explores sale of 'highly attractive' Chilean automobile financing business

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is exploring strategic alternatives for its automobile financing business in Chile, which is primarily managed by FORUM Servicios Financieros SA, according to a press release from the Spanish bank.

"The alternatives contemplated in this process include the partial or total sale of Forum," BBVA said, adding that the review process is expected to last "for several quarters."

The strategic review for Forum, which BBVA regards as "a highly attractive business," follows the bank selling Chilean unit Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA to Bank of Nova Scotia earlier in 2018.

"Despite Forum being a highly attractive business, BBVA's sale of its banking business in Chile, advises the initiation of this review process," the bank said.

Chilean newspaper Pulso reported in early 2018 that BBVA is looking to exit Chile completely and has offered Forum to a number of companies including investment firm Inversiones La Construcción SA. According to that report, BBVA's asking price for the auto financing business was around $1.00 billion, or 4x its book value.