Mexico's Banorte says former chairman's heirs main shareholder

MEXICO CITY Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:58pm IST

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MEXICO CITY Aug 27 (Reuters) - Banorte, Mexico's No. 4 bank by assets, said on Monday the heirs of former chairman emeritus Roberto Gonzalez Barrera remain its major shareholders after the businessman's death on Saturday night.

Banorte said Gonzalez, who died in Houston at 81 as a result of complications from pancreatic cancer, had put contingency and succession plans in place.

Gonzalez's direct and indirect shareholding in the bank was reduced last year when corn miller and tortilla maker Gruma, which he founded and chaired, sold its stake in Banorte.

"Even so, Don Roberto and his heirs remain our main shareholder with 14.83 percent of shares," Banorte said in a statement, noting that Gonzalez had put in place all necessary steps to ensure continuity.

The free float in the bank is 81.44 percent, Banorte said.

Banorte appointed Guillermo Ortiz, the former Mexican central bank governor, as chairman of the board in 2011, replacing Gonzalez, and Deutsche Bank analyst Mario Pierry said Banorte's strategy and expansion plans should remain unchanged despite Gonzalez's death.

Gruma said in a statement the company's operations and administration would continue on the same path the company has followed. It did not name a successor as chairman.

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