By Cyntia Barrera
MEXICO CITY Nov 27 Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB
de CV (Banorte), which runs one of Mexico's biggest financial
groups, said on Tuesday it has reached a deal to buy a local
pension fund owned by Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
S.A. (BBVA) in a deal valued at $1.6 billion.
The cost of the acquisition of the Bancomer pension fund
will be split in half between Banorte and the
Mexican Social Security Institute, a state-run health
organization. The two co-own the Afore XXI Banorte pension fund
Earlier this year, Banorte's chairman and former head of
Mexico's central bank, Guillermo Ortiz, told Reuters that the
group was also looking at BBVA's pension funds in
Colombia and Peru.
Banorte, Mexico's No.4 bank by assets, has been actively
strengthening its operations in the country. Last year, the
group bought boutique bank Ixe, which gave it access to Ixe's
portfolio of wealthy clients.
The group's chairman emeritus, Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, 81,
died in August from complications related to pancreatic cancer.
The bank said his heirs remain major shareholders after his
Banorte shares ended up 0.14 percent at 74.11 pesos on
The country's pension regulator said on Tuesday evening that
the firms had started the paperwork necessary for approval, but
pointed out that the deal still needed approval from multiple
government regulatory agencies.
"This commission has the resources necessary to issue a
speedy ruling on this transaction," the regulator said.