HSBC sells Panama operations to Bancolombia in $2.1bn deal

UK financial giant HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA) said Tuesday it had agreed to sell HSBC Bank (Panama) SA to Colombian lender Bancolombia SA (NYSE:CIB) for USD2.1bn (EUR1.6bn) in cash.

The offload, which will be carried out through HSBC Holdings’ fully-controlled unit HSBC Latin America Holdings (UK) Ltd, has yet to receive regulatory green light and is seen to close in the third quarter of this year.

The price is based on an estimated net asset value at completion of USD700m, the vendor said.

The disposal reflects HSBC’s group strategy for the region to zero in on the core markets of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, HSBC Latin America’s CEO Antonio Losada said.

Dutch TNT Express seeks buyers for Brazilian and Chinese operations

Netherlands-based TNT Express NV (AMS:TNT) is looking at divestment opportunities for its operations in Brazil and China, the express delivery company’s interim CEO Bernard Bot said in a financial results statement on Monday.

The executive noted that the outcome for the Chinese activities will soon be determined.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of EUR148m (USD197.5m) a few weeks after the European Commission (EC) banned the USD7bn (EUR5.2bn) tie-up with US package delivery group United Parcel Service Inc (NYSE:UPS).

Bot stressed there are many positive options through which the company may bolster its profitability. A full update will be made on 25 March 2013, he added.

US hedge fund Omega Advisors leaves Apple for Facebook

Leon Cooperman’s hedge fund Omega Advisors divested the shares it held in US technology major Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and acquired new shares in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and in oil and gas company SandRidge Energy Inc (NYSE:SD) in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a filing with the US securities regulator.

Omega Advisors, which is led by Cooperman as CEO, shed 266,404 shares in Apple, which represented its entire holding in the technology firm and bought 3.16m shares in Facebook as well as 24.38m shares in SandRidge.

The market value of Apple has fallen considerably in the last months.

In addition, Omega Advisors boosted its ownership in US energy firm McMoRan Exploration Company (NYSE:MMR) by some 1.8m shares.

The filing provided no financial details.

Italy’s UniCredit raises €890m from sale of stake in Poland’s Bank Pekao

Italian financial group UniCredit SpA (BIT:UCG) said it had pocketed some EUR890m (USD1.2bn) from the sale of 9.1% in its Polish unit Bank Pekao SA (PINK:BKPKF).

The group sold around 23.9m Pekao shares at PLN156.00 (USD50.40/EUR37.14) apiece to institutional investors, it said. The price was 6% below the Pekao closing before this announcement and 4% lower than the average price over the last three months.

The sale generated a capital gain of about EUR135m to UniCredit, resulting in an increase in the group’s CT1 ratio BIS2.5 based on its weighted assets as at 30 September 2012.

Following the placement, the Italian bank remained with 50.1% in Pekao and will continue its commitment to the subsidiary and to the Polish market which is core to its franchise and strategy.

UniCredit, which agreed to a one-year lock-up period for its remaining stake in the Polish unit, said it does not expect to shed further Pekao shares after this sale.

UBS Limited, UniCredit CA-IB Poland and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) were in charge of the share placement

Citigroup seeks buyers for Brazilian credit card and consumer finance unit

US financial services group Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) is looking to divest the Credicard consumer finance unit of its Brazilian business as part of a plan to concentrate on its strongest operations, the Valor Economico newspaper said today without citing sources.

According to the report, Citigroup has opened a data room to possible suitors with preliminary information about the unit. Credicard, with some 7m clients, could draw interest from some of Brazil’s biggest players including Banco PanAmericano SA (SAO:BPNM4), part of Banco BTG Pactual SA, Valor said, adding that a price tag had not been determined yet.

A public relations executive for Citigroup refused to comment on market speculation, when contacted by Reuters.

Recently, Valor cited Citigroup’s chief country officer Helio Magalhaes as saying in an interview that the group did not plan to sell Credicard.

Germany’s Siemens hires Rothschild to divest security products unit

German engineering group Siemens AG (ETR:SIE) intends to divest its Sweden-based security products business and has appointed investment bank Rothschild to advise it on the process, Bloomberg reported today citing three insiders.

The move is part of the company’s plan to sell slower-growth operations that are less synergistic with its core activities in a move to bolster its profits.

The target, which employs some 350 people, offers security cameras and access card readers, among other products. Last week, Roland Busch, head of the infrastructure and cities division, said that as a stand-alone entity, the security products business did not comply with the company’s focus on security solutions that are part of its building automation solution and therefore was not viable.

Siemens, whose shareholders already backed the planned spin-off of lighting maker OSRAM Licht AG, also intends to shed its airport luggage systems, mail automation and water technology businesses. Siemens spokesman Philipp Encz refused to comment on other possible sales of units. A spokesman for Rothschild also did not wish to comment.

BNP’s asset management arm to sell clean energy unit CEP

BNP Paribas Investment Partners (BNPP IP), the asset management business of French BNP Paribas (EPA:BNP), will spin off BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners (BNPP CEP) to become Glennmont Partners, the latter said on Monday.

The parent company, BNP Paribas Group, will remain an investor in the fund and will back the new entity via a distribution deal. Following the spin-off, BNPP CEP’s management staff will remain with Glennmont. Joost Bergsma will keep his position as chief executive.

Bergsma commented that as a separate entity, the focus of the business’ interests will be more closely aligned with the interests of its investors.

Glennmont is a EUR437m (USD582m) fund investing in renewable power projects including biomass, wind, solar and hydro power plants. The transaction is pending relevant regulatory authorisations.

UK newspaper group Mecom in talks to sell European opearations

UK publisher Mecom Group Plc (LON:MEC) said today that a number of parties had expressed interest in taking over its Dutch, Polish and Danish operations.

The company, which released a trading update today showing a 9% annual fall in 2012 revenues, plans to dispose of certain businesses as part of a strategic review announced in July last year.

It said that it was currently in exclusive talks with one party concerning the sale of its business in Poland. In addition, it is considering a number of indicative offers for specific parts of its operations in the Netherlands, including some of its digital operations. However, it has received no acceptable offers for its whole Dutch business, Mecom said.

With regard to its operations in Denmark, it said it had got expressions of interest and that it would invite a small number of potential buyers to carry out due diligence shortly.

Mecom added that it was discussing an extension of the term of its current bank facilities by one year to 31 October 2014. Its net debt stood at EUR130m (USD172.5m) at the end of 2012.

Terra Firma revisits plans to sell UK cinema operator Odeon & UCI

UK private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd plans to shed cinemas operator Odeon & UCI group this year after it put sale talks on ice two years ago in favour of a refinancing, the Financial Times reported, quoting a person in the know.

According to the insider, the offload of Odeon would follow that of utility Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd and renewable energy producer Infinis as the private investor’s founder Guy Hands aims to return cash to supporters.

Terra Firma hopes to bag at least GBP1.2bn (USD1.9bn/EUR1.5bn) from a disposal of the cinema chain, according to the report.

A move to put Odeon up for sale is seen to garner the attention of prior suitors including private equity firm Doughty Hanson’s Vue Entertainment Ltd cinema chain as well as buyout company BC Partners, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the matter.

An adviser has not been picked yet and procedures on an offload might not start this year, one person told the paper. However, investors could use recently released financial information and a sale could start earlier, according to another person in the know, quoted by FT.

Spain’s Iberdrola sells stake in gas pipeline operator Medgaz

Spanish utility major Iberdrola SA (MCE:IBE) on Friday unveiled a EUR146m (USD193.4m) deal to sell its 20% stake in gas pipeline operator Medgaz SA to Fluxys Belgium NV (EBR:FLUX).

Medgaz was set up in 2001 to design, build and run a pipeline that connects Algeria to Spain. Other shareholders include Spanish oil group Cepsa and Algeria’s Sonatrach, which were its initial founders.

Spain-based Medgaz operates a deep water gas pipeline from Algeria to Europe through Spain, the first such project built at 2,000 metres in the Mediterranean Sea.

The pipeline is to supply gas from Beni Saf on the Algerian coast to Almeria in Andalusia region of Spain, according to Medgaz’ website