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business & economy

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HSBC buys Banistmo

Five Megaport bidders

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Business & Economy Briefs

Political implications for 2009 RP presidential race

HSBC buys Banistmo

by Eric Jackson, mainly from other media

The UK-based multinational banking corporation HSBC has agreed to buy the largest private bank based on Panamanian capital, Banistmo, for about $1.77 billion. On July 21 HSBC announced that it would pay $52.63 per Banistmo share, 25 percent higher than the previous day’s closing price on Spain’s Spain's Latibex stock exchange. Banistmo, which since the mid-90s had been on an ambitious expansion course under the leadership of Alberto Vallarino, has branches in its original base of Panama plus in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

HSBC, whose initials originally stood for Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation --- despite rumors to the contrary that it stands for Home for Scottish Banking Clerks --- has its origins in British trade with China, and for many years primarily served the Asian region and British companies doing business there. Now, however, after a decade of acquisitions it’s the world’s third-largest bank. The purchase of Banistmo adds to its extensive Latin American holdings, which include branches in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

How much of the purchase price will accrue to Vallarino, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1999, is not reported. However, it’s likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, more than enough to fund another presidential campaign. Several of Panama’s opposition parties are courting Vallarino, who used to be an Arnulfista before his rivalry with former President Mireya Moscoso, as a possible 2009 standard bearer.

The Banistmo sale is part of a trend by which a number of Panama’s largest enterprises are being sold to foreign interests. Both the Cerveceria Baru and Cerveceria Nacional brewery and soft drink bottling companies, for example, were sold to foreign interest. Each of these latter two companies was the foundation of a political party, the now defunct MORENA and existing Solidaridad parties respectively.

The largest Panamanian business is COPA airlines, controlled by the Motta family. After the sale of Banistmo, the largest Panamanian private banks are Banco Continental and Banco General.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also in this section:
Teacher contract talks get to crunch time
AutoCAD 2007: a glimpse of economic reality through a very cool new toy

HSBC buys Banistmo

Five Megaport bidders

Protecting yourself from the Kidnap Express

Business & Economy Briefs

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