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Colombia Grupo Sura Won't Bid For Spain BBVA's Latin America Assets - CFO

SANTIAGO--Due to its dominant market share in Latin America, Colombia's largest financial holding firm, Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA (GIVSY, GRUPOSURA.BO), can't bid for the Latin American pension-funds management operations of Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA's (BBVA, BBVA.MC), said Grupo Sura Chief Financing Officer Ignacio Calle. In May, BBVA, Spain's second-largest bank by market value, disclosed plans to sell its pension-fund management units in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru as part of an effort to focus on its main banking businesses. In 2011, Grupo Sura purchased ING Groep NV's (ING, INGA.AE) Latin American assets, which became Sura Asset Management. After the acquisition, Sura as a whole now manages $84 billion for 17 million clients in Latin America. Grupo Sura would "face antitrust restrictions" if it were to bid for BBVA's assets in Latin America, Calle said on the sidelines of a LatinFinance forum. "We have a strong presence in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru," he added, pointing out that Grupo Sura's market share is "over 50%." While buying BBVA's assets isn't an option for Grupo Sura, the financial-holding company keeps looking for acquisitions, but rather small ones, in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile, said Mr. Calle. Entering Brazil will be a step that Grupo Sura will consider after consolidating its presence in Latin America's Spanish-speaking countries, Mr. Calle added. The U.S., meanwhile, is also a market the Colombian company will look at in terms of acquisitions after it strengthens its business in Latin America. "Entering the U.S. is a matter of time," Mr. Calle said. Write to Graciela Ibanez at graciela.ibanez@dowjones.com.

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