Bloomberg News

Prosper Bank, Banif Unit in Brazil Said to Be Seeking Buyers

December 06, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Prosper SA, the Brazilian lender, and Banif SGPS SA’s Brazil unit are seeking buyers as Europe’s financial turmoil and new regulations crimp profit, according to four people with knowledge of the negotiations.

Prosper’s controlling shareholder, Grupo Peixoto de Castro, wants to sell the Rio de Janeiro-based bank to focus on other businesses including real estate, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because talks are confidential. Banif, based in Funchal, Madeira, wants to sell its Brazil division as Europe’s debt crisis pushes up funding costs, two people said.

Banco Central do Brasil, the industry’s chief regulator, is boosting capital requirements to comply with new international standards designed to give the world’s financial system a bigger buffer against losses. Funding costs have risen as cash-strapped euro nations debate the best way to stabilize their lenders, with Italy paying more than 7 percent on bonds sold today.

BR Partners SA, a Brazilian financial-advisory firm founded by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives, agreed to buy Porto Seguro SA on Nov. 21 and Banco BMG SA acquired Banco Schahin SA in July. Central bank director Anthero Meirelles said in May “there could be newcomers seeing an acquisition as a way to speed up the process of entering the market.”

Prosper denied it’s in sale talks, according to an e-mailed statement. Banif said its Brazilian division isn’t for sale, according to an e-mailed statement.

Prosper had net assets of 693.4 million reais ($375.5 million) and equity of 52.59 million reais as of June 30, while Banif had net assets of 2.9 billion reais and equity of 269.4 million reais in the same period, according to central bank’s website. Banif has 13 branches in Brazil.

--With assistance from Anabela Reis in Lisbon, Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro and Felipe Frisch in Sao Paulo. Editors: Rick Green, William Ahearn

To contact the reporters on this story: Cristiane Lucchesi in Sao Paulo at clucchesi5@bloomberg.net; Francisco Marcelino in Sao Paulo at mdeoliveira@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net


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