Banorte analyzing possible buy of Citi’s Mexico consumer bank

Logo of Grupo Financiero Banorte is pictured at its headquarters in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Grupo Financiero Banorte is looking at whether to make an offer for Citigroup’s Mexican consumer banking unit, its chief executive said on Thursday.

“We are starting an analysis of this opportunity, and if we find that a possible transaction adds value to shareholders, we would submit it for their consideration,” Banorte Chief Executive Marcos Ramirez told a news conference.

Citigroup last week said it would sell its Citibanamex consumer banking operations, ending a two decade retail presence in Mexico and prompting Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to call for domestic investors to snap up the assets and “Mexicanize” the bank.

Banorte earlier said it expected to boost its net income in 2022 by as much as 17.3%, and posted higher net income and revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the year-ago period.

The group, which owns one of the country’s largest banks and pension funds, said in a presentation accompanying quarterly results that it is targeting net income between 39.5 billion pesos and 41.1 billion pesos for 2022, compared with a total of 35 billion pesos last year.

As well, the company said it expected loans to grow between 7% and 9% in the year.

For the fourth quarter of 2021, Banorte reported net profit of 9.1 billion pesos ($441.8 million), up nearly 52% from the same year-ago period.

Revenues stood at 26.6 billion pesos in the October to December period, up almost 7% from a year earlier.

($1 = 20.5075 pesos at end-December)

(Reporting by Noe Torres and Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Pullin)