Bank of Boston Corp. may acquire a minority stake in a bank in Brazil to expand its operations in that country.
A spokeswoman for the Sao Paolo bank confirmed that Bank of Boston is considering buying 49% of Banco Meridional do Brasil SA, which is based in the southern city of Porto Alegre. Meridional has 300 branches and $2 billion in assets.
The Brazilian government plans to privatize Meridional by May 14 and reportedly seeks $300 million for a 55% stake in the bank. According to reports, Bank of Boston does not want to acquire more than 49%, because a greater share would oblige it to include Meridional's results in its balance sheet.
"We are expanding our banking operations in Brazil and looking at different possibilities," the Bank of Boston spokeswoman said. She said the bank had considered acquiring a stake in Banco Nacional, a failed bank that recently merged with another institution.
Bank of Boston and Citicorp are the only U.S. banks with large retail and commercial banking operations in Latin America. Bank of Boston has 27 branches and $3.5 billion in assets in Brazil. It plans to open another eight branches there by the end of 1998.