Mexico's Banorte bats down public offer talk; open on acquisitions

ACAPULCO, April 26 Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:10pm EDT

ACAPULCO, April 26 (Reuters) - The head of Grupo Financiero Banorte, Mexico's largest domestically owned bank, on Friday pushed back against speculation of a capital raise, but left the door open to possible future pension fund acquisitions.

"There is no certainty of anything right now," Alejandro Valenzuela, chief executive of Banorte, told Reuters, when asked whether the company was planning a $2 billion public offering.

A media report earlier this month had said Banorte was planning a $2 billion offering, while local press reports had discussed the possibility of an acquisition of HSBC's Mexican subsidiary.

"We have been studying different avenues to strengthen the capacity to grow," Valenzuela said, speaking on the sidelines of a banking convention in Acapulco.

Banorte, Mexico's fourth-largest bank by assets, announced a 27 percent increase in first-quarter profit earlier this week.

The bank late last year bought a local pension fund owned by Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. in a deal valued at $1.6 billion.

Valenzuela on Friday left the door open for further pension fund acquisitions.

"If an opportunity presents itself and we have the capacity to manage it, why not," he said, while adding, "Right now I don't see anything on the horizon."

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