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Citi says Mexico consumer bank a 'jewel,' as it gears up to sell

·1 min read
The logo of Citibanamex is pictured at a bank branch in Mexico City

(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc described the Citibanamex consumer bank in Mexico it is planning to shed as a "jewel" as it gears up to be active with potential buyers in the coming months.

The lender has been shedding the last of its consumer businesses outside of the United States as part of a "strategy refresh" started by Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser, who took the helm in March.

The bank said this week it would wind down its massive consumer bank in Mexico, the No. 3 consumer bank in the country, and earlier on Friday announced the sale of its retail arms in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to Singapore-based lender United Overseas Bank.

On a conference call on Friday, Fraser said separating the consumer business from the institutional business would not be a simple process.

"We will be looking to go to market in the spring and be active with potential buyers" in the coming months, Fraser said.

"We think this is a jewel for someone," said Fraser, who added that it was "not for us."

Analysts have said homegrown billionaires such as Carlos Slim and Ricardo Salinas Pliego were among front-runners to buy the Citibanamex assets. Analysts said it would likely carry a price tag between $4 billion and $8 billion.

(Reporting by Megan Davies and David Henry in New York and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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