March 11, 2019 / 6:19 PM / in 3 months

State-controlled lender Banco do Brasil eyes partnerships for units

SAO PAULO/BRASILIA, March 11 (Reuters) - State-controlled lender Banco do Brasil SA is seeking partnerships in its asset management, investment banking and debt collector units rather than listing these businesses, analysts said in notes to clients on Monday.

Itaú BBA’s analysts said that Chief Finance Officer Carlos Hamilton Vasconcelos Araújo said in a meeting that partnerships would be similar to those forged by BB Seguridade SA, before its initial public offering.

BB Seguridade has partnerships with companies such as Principal Financial Group, Mapfre and Icatu Hartford. They own both minority and majority stakes in insurance companies controlled by BB Seguridade.

“A similar structure can be applied to other segments, particularly the asset management and investment banking businesses,” Itaú BBA’s analysts wrote.

Brasil Plural also said the bank does not intend to sell any stake in its card business and cited an Araújo speech to analysts in which he said Banco do Brasil’s debt collector unit was a potential target for partnership.

“It was clear the bank envisages the opportunity to improve the profitability of these assets, as it happened with BB Seguridade,” analysts at Banco Safra wrote.

Speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the strategy openly, one source told Reuters that preliminary analysis showed that Banco do Brasil could unlock a higher value for its businesses if it first sought partnerships with renowned financial institutions. A listing of the units would be a second step.

BB Seguridade is worth 53.2 billion reais ($13.85 billion) on the Sao Paulo stock exchange B3, an amount that it would hardly reach inside Banco do Brasil if it had not been listed in 2013, the source added.

Banco do Brasil’s management had said earlier this year that the bank would sell stakes in core businesses aiming at adding value to these units. The bank, however, will seek the total sale of non-core assets, as is the case of power company Neoenergia SA and Argentine lender Banco Patagonia .

Banco do Brasil press representatives declined to comment. ($1 = 3.8405 reais) (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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