February 18, 2019 / 4:46 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Citi expects privatization to bolster revenue in Brazil

(Recasts, adds CEO quotes)

By Carolina Mandl and Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc expects to boost annual revenue in Brazil over the next years by advising potential public asset sales and through a revival in capital markets, its chief executive officer in Brazil told journalists on Monday.

Marcelo Marangon said Citi expects its annual revenue in Brazil to grow to $1.5 billion from $1.1 billion over the next years. He did not specify a timeframe for the goal.

Bankers of Citi’s Brazilian investment banking division are already targeting the largest asset sales and planning to vie for mandates in the transactions.

The fastest government asset sales should be of stakes held by state-owned banks, such as development bank BNDES and Caixa Economica Federal, in publicly listed companies.

BNDESPar, the holding company owned by BNDES, owns stakes in power companies such as Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA , AES Tiete Energia SA and Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais- CEMIG, as well as in meatpacker JBS SA.

A government-controlled fund hired banks last week to sell its stake in reinsurer IRB Brasil Resseguros SA .

Citi is also planning an expansion in its commercial banking division, which supplies services to mid-sized companies. Department head Antonio Rubens said Citi plans to double its Brazilian commercial banking unit’s assets by 2020.

The bank’s commercial unit has roughly 5 billion reais ($1.34 billion) in assets, out of 75 billion reais for Citi’s Brazilian operation as a whole, most of it dedicated to larger corporations.

Rubens said those assets jumped by 27 percent in 2018 as an economic recovery increased demand. Deposits grew 10 percent to 3 billion reais.

Citi is targeting firms with between 200 million and 1.8 billion reais in revenues, he said.

This move underscores a shift in Citi’s strategy in Brazil toward wholesale activities, after the sale of its retail activities there to Itaú Unibanco Holding SA for 710 million reais.

$1 = 3.7294 reais Editing by Bernadette Baum

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