By Joe Leahy in Sï¿½o Paulo
Financial Times, 20 November 2011
Original URL -
China Construction Bank is in talks to buy a bank in Brazil amid plans
to open a subsidiary in Latin America's biggest economy, according to
officials and people familiar with the matter.
The move comes as the leading Chinese banks are moving into Latin
America to service rising trade with the region and to encourage South
American exporters to begin trading in Chinaï¿½s currency, the renminbi,
rather than the dollar.
John Weinshank, senior vice-president at CCB's New York branch, told a
banking conference in Miami that the executive board of the worldï¿½s
second-largest lender by market value had approved a proposal to open a
subsidiary in Brazil.
"We are following our customers," Mr Weinshank told the annual
conference of Felaban, the Latin American banking federation, adding
that the proposal still needed the approval of regulators in both countries.
Separately, a person in Sï¿½o Paulo familiar with the matter said CCB had
opened talks with the owners of a small Brazilian bank over a potential
acquisition of the institution.
The person declined to name the target, but said entry into Brazil
through an acquisition would provide CCB with the necessary licences and
permits more easily than starting from scratch.
China overtook the US to become Brazil's largest trading partner in 2009
and its biggest foreign investor last year as companies ranging from car
manufacturers to engineering firms are looking to set up in the Latin
Chen Jin, head of international financial institutions for Industrial
and Commercial Bank of China in Beijing, told the Felaban conference
that the group is establishing branches in Brazil and Peru as it seeks
to help its clients with their businesses in Latin America.
ICBC has also bought 80 per cent of Standard Bank in Argentina, a deal
that is awaiting shareholder approval, she said.
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