Banco Ficohsa acquires Citibank de Honduras and Cititarjetas de Honduras

Honduras-based Banco Ficohsa on Monday announced the acquisition of the entire shares of Citibank's Honduran arm Banco Citibank de Honduras, SA and Cititarjetas de Honduras, SA, subject to regulatory approvals.

The transaction includes Citi's entire Honduran consumer banking business, including credit cards, personal loans and customer deposits, but does not include Citi's corporate banking business in the country, including Banco de Honduras, SA.

The acquisition is an important step in Ficohsa's growth and expansion strategy, placing the bank among Central America's 10 leading banks.

The deal, the largest acquisition ever by a Honduran bank, will create the largest bank in the country.

The acquisition is subject to authorisation by the National Banking and Insurance Commission (CNBS) and the Competition Defence and Promotion Commission, Ficohsa said in a release.

Citibank said it will focus on its core business of corporate banking in the country.

''We are not leaving Honduras. Our strategy is to focus our operations on the corporate banking business to strengthen our position and continue offering top-level services in the segments where we can offer the most value, backed by Citi's unique global network.''

The acquisition makes Banco Ficohsa - the leading member of the country's top financial group, with banking, insurance and credit card businesses – the largest bank in Honduras, with a net worth of $339 million, $2.77 billion in assets, a loan portfolio of $1.88 billion, and $1.6 billion in deposits (using pro forma figures of the companies combined as of December 31, 2013).

''We are very optimistic about this acquisition, not only for our operations, but for the country as a whole. We see a long-term future in Honduras as part of our goal to continue growing and consolidating our business in Central America,'' said Camilo Atala, Grupo Financiero Ficohsa's President. ''We are pleased to welcome Citibank's more than 700 professionals, and we are certain that they will help us to continue delivering excellent service and innovative products and services.''

The purchase of Citibank's consumer banking business in Honduras, which includes credit cards, personal loans and customer deposits, strengthens Banco Ficohsa's extensive portfolio of products and services and expands its network with 22 additional points of service and 20 ATMs.

''Citi has been present in Honduras for more than 48 years and we are committed to this country,'' commented Reina Irene Mejía, Citi's general manager in Honduras.

While awaiting regulatory approval of the acquisition, both banks will continue with their normal operations and looking after their respective customers. Banco Ficohsa has sais that once the transaction is approved by the regulators and consummated, the clients of the acquired entities will maintain their accumulated points, miles or awards.

Banco Ficohsa has a 20-year history of operations in the Honduran market and an A+ grade from Fitch Ratings. Throughout its history it has proven itself to be a solid institution with quality products and services, including the country's most advanced technological platform.

MBA Lazard served as Ficohsa's financial advisor for the transaction.