AMLO Wants Citi’s Mexico Unit to Be Bought by Local Investors
(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he prefers Citigroup Inc.’s retail-banking operation in Mexico be bought by local investors, in his first public comments on what’s expected to be the country’s largest banking deal in years.
The president, who’s been avoiding in-person events since testing positive on Jan. 10 for Covid-19 for a second time, said in a video address that potential Mexican buyers included Banco Azteca SA’s Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB’s Carlos Slim, and Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV’s Carlos Hank Gonzalez.
“We’re not against foreigners, but we’d like this bank to become ‘Mexicanized,’ because it usually happens that when the investors are foreigners, the earnings are not reinserted into our country,” AMLO, as the president is known, said in the video filmed in his office.
He mentioned that the bank had been a Mexican institution since the 19th century, before it was bought by Citi in 2001, then discussed the importance of it returning to Mexican ownership. He also predicted the sale would generate “billions” of pesos in taxes for Mexican coffers, money which he said would be destined to the continued development of the country.
“Our adversaries are taking advantage of this to say that the economy and the country are doing badly, and that’s not the case,” he said. “We can turn this into something very good if without authoritarian measures this bank succeeds at becoming ‘Mexicanized.’”
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