* Banco do Brasil mulls bidding for Bankia’s U.S. unit
* Seeks share of overseas profit to rise to 13 percent
* Expansion in the U.S. has taken longer than expected
SAO PAULO, April 2 (Reuters) - Banco do Brasil SA is on the lookout for takeover targets in the United States to provide more banking services to a growing Brazilian community in the world’s No. 1 economy, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
Brazil’s largest bank by assets is considering bidding for the Florida-based unit of Spain’s Bankia SA, known as City National Bank of Florida, and another lender in New Jersey, said the source, who declined to speak on the record because they were not allowed to comment publicly on the matter.
Since early 2009, Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine has focused international expansion on the U.S. retail banking market as well as Colombia, Perú and Chile, yet with limited success as valuations remain too expensive. In the U.S., the goal is to grow in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states with a large community of Brazilians and Latinos.
A spokesman for state-controlled Banco do Brasil in Brasilia said by telephone that the bank “does not comment on market speculation.”
Bankia, which was bailed out in recent months, is disposing of City National in a bid to streamline its businesses. Bankia representatives could not be reached for comment after business hours.
In February, executives said Banco do Brasil was looking for takeover targets in Florida and New Jersey following the April 2011 acquisition of Coral Gables, Florida-based EuroBank.
The bank wants to increase the share of profit from non-Brazilian units to 13 percent this year from about 8 percent last year, the source said.