World Bank unit to buy 5 percent of Chile's CorpBanca

SANTIAGO Thu Oct 4, 2012 5:08pm EDT

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The World Bank's private investment arm, International Finance Corp (IFC), has agreed to buy a 5.0 percent stake in Chilean private bank CorpBanca COB.SN, the local bank's controller CorpGroup said on Thursday.

The stake acquisition will cost upwards of $225 million and should be complete "sometime between the end of this year and early 2013," Adriana Gomez, the IFC's spokesperson for Latin America, told Reuters.

Once the deal is complete, the IFC will place a representative on CorpBanca's board of directors, CorpGroup said in a statement to Chile's securities regulator.

"With this investment, we hope to help CorpBanca expand its business growth model to other markets, with the final aim of improving access to financing, especially for those sectors responsible for job creation and in that way contribute to economic development," Paolo Martelli, the IFC's director for financial markets in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean said in a separate statement.

CorpBanca, which has operations in Chile, agreed late last year to buy Banco Santander's (SAN.MC) banking affiliate, as well as its other units in Colombia, for about $1.23 billion, as Spain's Santander moved to sell assets in Latin America to help shore up finances at home.

If the Colombia deal is completed, it will be the biggest acquisition abroad by a Chilean financial institution.

Chile's CorpGroup conglomerate, led by businessman Alvaro Saieh, has units in banking, retail and communications.

(Reporting By Santiago Newsroom & Anthony Esposito. Writing by Anthony Esposito)

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