Mexican regulator OKs Banorte, IMSS purchase of BBVA pension fund

MEXICO CITY Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:03pm EST

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's pension fund regulator Consar said on Thursday it has approved the $1.6 billion acquisition of BBVA's pension fund in the country by Grupo Financiero Banorte and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Banorte (GFNORTEO.MX) and the IMSS, a state-run health organization, will now run Mexico's biggest pension fund, with nearly a third of the total market.

Consar said the combination of Banorte and the IMSS' existing Afore XXI Banorte fund with Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria's (BBVA.MC) Bancomer fund will not exceed the market share limit of 20 percent.

The deal still needs approval from Mexico's antitrust agency Cofeco to be final.

Banorte, which runs Mexico's No. 4 bank by assets, has been actively bulking up its operations in the country. Last year, the group bought boutique bank Ixe, which gave it access to Ixe's portfolio of wealthy clients.

(Reporting By Cyntia Barrera Diaz; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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