UPDATE 1-BTG Pactual seeks to open bank in Chile

Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:53pm EST

* BTG on Thursday applied for Chile banking permit -regulator

* Brazil's BTG recently bought Chile brokerage Celfin Capital

* BTG seeking to extend regional reach

SANTIAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - BTG Pactual Group on Thursday requested a permit to open a bank in Chile for high net worth, institutional and corporate clients, close on the heels of its purchase of local brokerage Celfin Capital.

The Brazil-based bank bought Celfin at the beginning of this year to extend its reach into fast-growing economies like Chile, Peru and Colombia.

"We can't predict (a time frame) but a reasonable calendar would be 6 months to receive the permit and between 6 months and one year for the bank to be operational," CEO Andre Esteves told Chilean newspaper Diario Financiero's Thursday edition.

Later on Thursday, Chile's banking regulator said BTG had applied for a banking permit and that it was reviewing the request.

Billionaire financier Esteves told Diario Financiero a capital increase would not be needed to open the bank due to surpluses in Brazil.

Since it was formed it 2009, BTG Pactual has been on a deal-making frenzy in Brazil and abroad as Esteves, a 44-year-old financial wunderkind, strives to turn the firm into the largest investment bank in emerging markets by the end of the decade.

Apart from buying Celfin, which had operations in Colombia and Peru, BTG Pactual purchased Colombian securities firm Bolsa y Renta in June for about $52 million. The Celfin acquisition was approved by Brazil's central bank at the end of last month.

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