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Lloyds to buy out Brazilian bank

Lloyds TSB has begun talks to buy out the consumer banking arm of its half-owned Brazilian associate, Banco Multiplic. The price of the business was not disclosed but analysts suggested it could be worth as much as pounds 300m.

The UK bank said yesterday that it was negotiating the deal with Multiplic Empreendimentos e Comercio (MEC), the other 50 per cent shareholder in Banco Multiplic. MEC is owned by two equal partners, Antonio Jose Carnerio and Ronaldo Cezar Coelho.

While the deal could take six months to be concluded, it was welcomed by analysts, who predicted a more stable economic environment in Brazil, which could mean a slowdown in bad debt provisioning.

Lloyds said a further announcement would be made as soon as possible.

Analysts, however, did not expect Lloyds' presence in Brazil to extend beyond Banco Multiplic, which made net profits of $110m (pounds 67m) in 1995 after recording a loss the previous year.

While Lloyds has been concentrating on its UK retail banking business in recent years and selling out of its overseas operations, it has largely retained its presence in Latin America.

It has had an operation in Brazil for more than a century and has been involved with Banco Multiplic since it was set up around 20 years ago.