Corpbanca-Itau Chile deal gets boost as shareholders OK merger

viernes 26 de junio de 2015 11:35 GYT

By Felipe Iturrieta

SANTIAGO, June 26 (Reuters) - Shareholders of Chile's Corpbanca approved on Friday a merger with the Chilean operations of Brazil's Itau Unibanco, a step forward for the often troubled deal to create a new Latin American banking venture worth some $8 billion.

The two lenders announced their intention to do the deal - which if completed would be Latin America's largest banking combination since 2008 - in February of last year.

The planned merger has faced dissent from minority shareholders and demands this year for a revamp from Corpbanca after its market value shifted.

Earlier this month, Itau agreed to sweeten the deal to cut its own dividend and allow Corpbanca, which is controlled by Chilean billionaire Alvaro Saieh, to increase its payout.

The deal, which needed at least two thirds shareholder approval to proceed, received the backing of 88.4 percent on Friday. Saieh owns a stake of just under 50 percent.

The merger still has to meet with regulatory approval, and the companies have said it will likely be finalized in early 2016.

After completion, the venture will likely move from fourth to third largest bank in Chile, Corpbanca chief executive Fernando Massu said at the shareholder meeting, behind Banco de Chile and Santander Chile.

The company sees synergies of up to $114 million within three years, with the total cost of the merger seen at $85 million, said Massu.

(Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Andrew Hay)