November 27, 2012
Credit: Credit: AeroMexico
Citigroup Banamex, the Mexican subsidiary of the U.S. banking giant, may divest its stake in Grupo Aeromexico, sources close to the matter tell Aviation Week.
Citigroup Banamex led a consortium of investors that purchased $250 million of Aeromexico stock in 2007, when the airline privatized. At the time, the Citigroup consortium held a 49% equity stake in the carrier, according to an Aeromexico spokeswoman.
Since 2007, Citigroup’s stake has decreased to 40-45%, the spokeswoman says. Aeromexico declined to detail how large Citigroup’s stake is, but noted that the carrier’s pilots were given a 5% stake in the airline, and Delta Air Lines owns close to 5%. The rest of the shares are publicly held.
But Citigroup has been reducing some of its holdings in non-core industries, a person familiar with the matter says. This could signal that the bank may divest its stake in Aeromexico.
Citigroup declined comment.
“We are not confirming whether we have had talks with Citigroup Banamex,” the Aeromexico spokeswoman says. “But if [the bank] does reduce its share, it will not come as a surprise.”
It remains unclear who would purchase Citigroup’s share or if the stake would be floated on the market. Aeromexico reported a third-quarter profit of $75 million, with margins of 9.3%. The company has strongly expanded both domestically and abroad, often using the dormant route authorities of its bankrupt rival, Mexicana de Aviacion.