Citigroup Exits Nicaragua
Citi will sell Banco Citibank de Nicaragua SA and Cititarjetas de Nicaragua to Panama-based GFF.Reuters

Citigroup has agreed to sell its Nicaraguan businesses to Panama-based Grupo Financiero Ficohsa (GFF), in its latest disposal of overseas assets to cut costs and boost profits.

Citi will sell Banco Citibank de Nicaragua SA and Cititarjetas de Nicaragu to GFF.

The sale includes commercial loans, personal loans, deposits and credit cards.

GFF encompasses the largest bank and insurance business in the Honduras, alongside banks in Guatemala and Panama, and financial services in the US.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but a GFF statement said that Citi's operations in Nicaragua include $255m (£171.3, €232.4m) in assets, a loan portfolio of $171m, deposits worth $197m and over 600 employees.

The deal still has to be approved by regulators in Nicaragua and Panama.

Camilo Atala, president of Grupo Financiero Ficohsa, commented: "This acquisition is another important step in our expansion strategy, which further strengthens our position as one of Central America's top 10 financial groups. It also allows us to enter a country with great potential for growth, with a robust and well-positioned operation.

"Additionally, we are well acquainted with the process, after the successful integration of Citi's consumer banking business in Honduras, which was conducted smoothly for both clients and employees."

The Wall Street giant's stock has lost some 6.31% so far this year.

Asset disposals

Citigroup, on 5 March, said it has sold its nearly 10% stake in Turkey's Akbank for $1.2bn.

Earlier in the month, Citi announced the sale of its consumer finance unit OneMain Financial Holdings to US-based subprime lender Springleaf Holdings for $4.25bn in cash, a deal that will narrow the US bank's focus.

In February, Citi's retail operations in the Czech Republic drew interest from five Czech lenders.

In December 2014, Citi agreed to sell its Japanese retail banking operations to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) in a withdrawal from unprofitable businesses the world over.

In October, the third-largest US bank announced its intention to exit the consumer sector in 11 different markets in a bid to slash costs.

In April, GFF bought Banco Citibank and Cititarjetas in Honduras.