* Plan is part of global restructuring effort, Valor says
* Bank opens data room to potential bidders, Valor reports
* Bank spokesman did not have immediate comment on report
SAO PAULO, Jan 30 Citigroup Inc's
Brazilian unit plans to sell its Credicard consumer finance unit
as part of an effort to focus business on the most profitable
areas, Valor Econômico reported, without saying how it obtained
Citigroup made available some preliminary information on the
unit to potential bidders through a data room, Valor said. There
is still no estimate of the value of Credicard, which is a
consumer finance company focused on low-income households, the
A public relations executive for Citigroup said the bank
does not comment on market speculation.
Last year, HSBC Holdings Plc gave up on its sale of
a similar unit, Losango. The business model of consumer finance
companies such as Credicard and Losango is losing appeal after
interest rates fell to record lows and as borrowers scale down
the use of pre-dated checks to pay for loan installments.
In a recent interview with Valor, however, Helio Magalhães,
Citigroup's chief country officer, said a sale of Credicard was
not in the cards.
Credicard has more than 7 million clients, according to
Valor, and could generate interest from some of Brazil's largest
banks such as Banco Bradesco SA, Banco Santander
Brasil SA and state-run Banco do Brasil SA
The brand is also associated with the issuance of credit
cards, which could attract players such as Banco PanAmericano
SA, a unit of investment banking giant BTG Pactual Group
, Valor added.
Citigroup in 2006 paid 280 million reais ($139 million) for
the 50 percent that it did not already own in Credicard, buying
out its longtime partner Banco Itaú Holding Financiera SA.