HSBC set to receive bids for Brazil unit by June, sources say

Wed May 13, 2015 9:23am EDT
 
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By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Pamela Barbaglia

SAO PAULO/LONDON May 13 (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings Plc could select a preferred bidder for its struggling Brazilian unit as early as next month, with the sale expected to be finalized by August, three sources with knowledge of the process said.

HSBC expects to get any binding offers for the unit late in June, said the sources, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the process. The sale could then gain traction rapidly since the unit only owns a small fraction of Brazil's banking system assets, the sources noted.

Ultimately, bidders will set a price for the unit, which is formally known as HSBC Bank Brasil Banco Múltiplo SA, based on how rapidly they expect it to return to profitability, the first and second sources said. Bids for the unit may not surpass book value, which is estimated at around 10 billion reais ($3.34 billion) as of now, they said.

News of an imminent sale comes after HSBC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver has targeted Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and the Unites States as potential markets for unit disposals. HSBC hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to manage the transaction.

HSBC Bank Brasil, the nation's seventh-largest commercial lender, lost a net 442 million reais last year.

The three sources said that Banco Bradesco SA, Banco Santander Brasil SA and Grupo BTG Pactual SA , all private-sector lenders based in Brazil, have had access to the sale's preliminary documents. Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia had initially shown interest in the unit, although it fizzled in recent weeks, the first source noted.

BTG Pactual, the largest investment bank in emerging markets, would only be interested in "pieces of the unit, namely the asset and wealth management operations," the first source noted, adding that HSBC "is unlikely to agree to a break-up."

According to the second source, there is a "fair amount" of interest from Chinese bidders, which are seen as capable to place aggressive bids to outbid HSBC Brasil's domestic rivals.   Continued...