Itaú-Unibanco, Brazil’s leading private banking institution denied London press reports it was interested in block-buying into UK banks that were saved from collapse in 2008 by the British government, as well as banks in other countries including United States, but admitted an interest in shares.
The news was published by the Sunday Times quoting Pedro Malan, a former Brazilian Finance minister and currently president of the Itaú-Unibanco international consultants board.
The Royal Bank of Scotland and the Lloyds Banking Group, two of the UK’s largest banks are apparently the Brazilian banking group targets.
However according to a release from the bank, there are no negotiations for the formal acquisition of these institutions, but rather purchasing shares as the UK government decides to sell them beginning this year, as was anticipated in 2009.
Sunday Times added that Itaú-Unibanco plans for the British market still need some ironing out in the coming months. The British government has a 84% participation in RBS and 43% in Lloyds.
However Malan admits two factors have to be considered before a final decision as to future undertakings: one is that uncertainties remain in the global scenario and two, presidential elections in Brazil in the second half of 2010.
“We are considering and evaluating. Of course we are evaluating”, Malan is quoted in the Sunday Times. “But we are not in a hurry. We believe we have plenty of time before coming to a decision.”.
Malan is also quoted saying that Itaú-Unibanco is looking for possible agreements in other countries including United States, since the group is interested in having a global presence.