The US$50 million transaction, which closed on 21 January, gives Scotiabank complete ownership of Banco Comercial. Through the deal, Banco Comercial acquired US$37 million worth of the government’s preferred shares, while the remaining stake was paid for by Scotiabank.
The acquisition ends a 2006 agreement between the Uruguayan government and Banco Comercial’s former owners, a consortium led by private equity fund Advent International. The agreement was signed when the bank was privatized that year, as a response to its bankruptcy during Uruguay's 2002 banking crisis.
The acquisition finishes a process that began in 2010, when Scotiabank hired Ferrere along with Canadian firm Torys LLP and Brazil’s TozziniFreire Advogados to assist with its entrance into the Uruguayan market. Ferrere partner Diego Rodriguez notes reserves praise for Uruguay’s Central Bank, which gave particularly “fast approval” to the transaction.