Bloomberg News

Santander Seeks to Extend Deadline on Brazil Unit Free Float

November 27, 2011

(Updates with BM&FBovespa’s comments starting in the fourth paragraph.)

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, is in talks with Sao Paulo exchange operator BM&FBovespa SA to extend a deadline by two years for increasing the portion of a Brazil unit’s stock that trades publicly.

Santander wants to move the time limit, which is subject to an accord with BM&FBovespa, to October 2014 for boosting Santander Brasil’s so-called free float to 25 percent, the Madrid-based bank’s unit said today in a regulatory filing. The sale of stock to increase the float hinges on “market conditions,” it said.

The lender filed Nov. 16 with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission for a sale of 310.8 million American depositary receipts of its Brazilian unit. The sale of a 5 percent stake in the unit to Qatar Holding LLC is included in the transaction, it said. The rest, or about 3 percent of the division, is to comply with the free float requirement.

Companies listed at BM&FBovespa’s Novo Mercado segment must have at least 25 percent of shares traded publicly. BM&FBovespa, the operator of Latin America’s biggest securities exchange, may extend the deadline for two years if Santander presents a detailed plan on how it will reach the minimum free float, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Santander Brasil has fallen 8.8 percent in Sao Paulo trading since registering the sale, compared with a 7.5 percent decline for Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil’s largest bank by market value. Santander rose 0.9 percent to 12.97 reais in Sao Paulo at 2:51 p.m.

--Editors: David Scheer, Dan Kraut

To contact the reporter on this story: Francisco Marcelino in Sao Paulo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at

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