Zacks
0
All posts from Zacks
Zacks in Our Research. Your Success.,

Will Citigroup (C) Sell Argentine & Colombian Assets to Itau?

It seems New York-based financial giant Citigroup Inc. C has finally found a buyer for its consumer banking operations in Argentina and Colombia. On Thursday, Brazilian lender Itau Unibanco Holding SA ITUB announced its intention to buy Citigroup’s aforementioned operations, although no such offer for the concerned assets has been made yet.

“Citi hasn’t started the formal sale process for those assets that could happen in April or May,” Itau’s Vice President for Latin America, Ricardo Marino, said. “As soon as they start the process, we’ll evaluate it.” Itau, Brazil's largest bank by market value, is trying to be opportunistic about pursuing global expansion.

Notably, to spread out its business strategically, Itau targets to earn 20% of its total revenue from international operations over the next 10 years, up from the current level of 15%.

Meanwhile, keeping up with management’s strategy of shedding international operations, in Feb 2016, Citigroup disclosed its plan of reducing its footprint in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. The bank intends to vend retail banking and credit card operations by transferring them to Citi Holdings from Citicorp, effective first-quarter 2016.

Regulatory pressure over Citigroup’s global operations and concerns of weak returns forced the bank to make this move. Aimed at increasing the efficiency of the company’s overall business, other initiatives include streamlining operations and optimizing footprints across geographies. While Argentina’s economy has been under pressure after years of currency controls and policies, restricting it from access to international capital markets, the Brazilian economy has been in troubled waters of late as it is suffering the worst crisis in decades.

Conclusion

As Citigroup encounters issues from various fronts amid rough tides, the latest plan will render some financial flexibility to the company. Going forward, we believe that the company is well positioned to resolve its internal inefficiencies and setbacks. Further, we expect these streamlining initiatives to bolster its capital position, reduce expenses and drive operational efficiencies.

Citigroup currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A couple of better-ranked companies in the finance space include First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. FIBK and Peoples Bancorp Inc. PEBO, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 DaysClick to get this free report >>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
CITIGROUP INC (C): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BANCO ITAU -ADR (ITUB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FIRST INTST MT (FIBK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PEOPL BNCP-OHIO (PEBO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research