Bancolombia snaps up HSBC Panama assets

BANCOLOMBIA, Colombia’s largest lender by assets, agreed to purchase HSBC Bank SA Panama for $2.1bn (£1.36bn), the most ever paid by a local bank and the latest in an expansion wave by financial entities into Latin America.

The acquisition includes HSBC Panama’s brokerage, fiduciary services unit, banking business and its insurance company, Bancolombia said in a regulatory filing yesterday.

“The transaction is aligned with Bancolombia’s strategy to expand its international operations by investing in the growing, solid and profitable market of Panama, where it has been present for over 40 years,” it said.

The Bancolombia agreement does not include HSBC Panama’s units in Colombia, it said.

The sale is expected to close during the third quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals. Last year, Banco GNB Sudameris agreed to buy HSBC’s units in Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay for $400m, while Banco Davivienda agreed to acquire HSBC assets in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras for $801m.

HSBC could make about $1.4bn from the sale of the Panama assets, as the business is being sold at three times its net asset value of $700m.