Major Brokerage Firm in Mexico Buys That Country's Largest Bank

MEXICO CITY -- A Mexican brokerage firm has bought Banco National de Mexico, the country's largest commercial bank, for $3.2 billion, the finance ministry said Monday.

The price paid by Acciones y Valores Accival, Mexico's dominant securities firm, represented 2.62 times the net worth of the bank, which was owned by the government. The finance ministry noted that the price is one of the highest ever paid for a bank.

It exceeds the $2.3 billion that Chemical Banking Corp. has agreed to pay for Manufacturers Hanover Corp. Other pending U.S. megamergers -- BankAmerica Corp. with Security Pacific Corp. and NCNB Corp. with C&S/Sovran Corp. -- have price tags of more than $4 billion.

No. 196 in the World

Banco National, known as Banamex, had $22.4 billion in assets at yearend 1990. [It is No. 196 in the world, according to the American Banker's ranking by assets.]

Banamex, an active international trade financier, is the seventh bank to be sold under a privatization program initiated last year by Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Accival's president, Roberto Hernandez, said in an interview last week that if he gained control of Banamex, he would seek to boost its U.S. presence.

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