MEXICO CITY () – The Mexican government said on Wednesday that Citigroup is wary of the possible antitrust consequences of selling consumer banking operations in Mexico and expects more contenders to emerge for the assets.
A statement from the Ministry of Finance said the country would leave Mexico. 3 Consumer Bank “raises sensitive issues for the financial and regulatory authorities, which are strictly and strictly considered by the Ministry of Finance, including the main issue of concentration.”
Finance Minister Rogelio Ramires de la O said there was “no bias” in the government over who could buy Citibanamex assets and that local and foreign participants could compete here.
“In due course, as the process matures, the Mexican government will monitor and consider various proposals,” Ramires said in an interview.
His ministry said Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser had “personally come to Mexico to explain the decision and that the bank will continue to operate wholesale corporate banking, including new investments in our country”.
A Treasury Department spokesman said Fraser was in Mexico 10 days ago and met with Ramires. The minister said he had briefed President Andres Manuel Lopez on his visit to Obrador.
Ramires said the government wants to seize Citibanamex assets to maintain its value.
“And the bank will maintain its scale so that the bank’s depositors and account holders do not feel any uncertainty,” he said, noting that the Mexican government itself is not interested in buying the assets.
Citigroup did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas said on Tuesday night that he had asked his team to explore the possibility of buying Citigroup assets, and that Mexican Interior Minister Aden Augusto Lopez was waiting for more offers to emerge.
“It is clear that there will be various business groups interested in advancing the purchase offer,” Lopez told a regular news conference, replacing Lopez Obrador after the president said he had signed a contract with COVID-19 for the second time this week.
Dave Graham’s interview; Edited by Richard Chang and Christopher Cushing