Business and Banking

Feb 1, 2002

Bradesco Enlarges Its Empire
Brazil's largest private-sector bank, Banco Bradesco, has added a bank, an asset manager and a finance company to its financial services fold, making a decisive statement about its large-scale strategy. Bradesco's rival, Banco Itaú, also recently made two key acquisitions (see following item) as the two banks squared off in the ongoing battle for a share of the Brazilian bank market. Low interest rates and intense competition mean that the sector could consolidate even more this year.

In January Bradesco outbid Itaú for Banco Mercantil de São Paulo, paying Brazil's Vidigal family R$1.372 billion ($567 million) for an 82.2% stake in the bank. Mercantil has R$8.9 billion in assets, which will increase Bradesco's assets to R$116.3 billion, and gives the bank an additional 708 million customers and 220 branches.

Bradesco also announced the purchase...

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