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Privatization of BanespaNoronha Advogados, London

It was in the midst of a judicial battle, which led to successive delays of the Banespa privatization, that the Central Bank of Brazil set the date of November 20 for the privatization auction. Injunctions are still likely to be imposed and revoked until this date.

Banespa is one of the largest banks of Brazil. Since 1994, it has been overseen by the federal government because of a debt owed to the government by the state of São Paulo, which led to the bank's federalization in 1997.

The winning bid will be at least R1.85 billion (approximately $1 billion) for 60% of the bank's voting capital, and 30% of its corporate capital.

Despite the delays resulting from the drawn-out judicial battle, financial institutions are maintaining their interest in the Banespa sale owing to the bank's size and prominence in terms of ranking, number of banking agencies and clients. Nine key financial institutions are involved in the bid process, five of them foreign: BankBoston, BBVA, Citibank, HSBC and Santander; and the remaining four Brazilian: Bradesco, Itaú, Safra and Unibanco.

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