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Mexican entrepreneur Garza Calderon confirms interest in Citi asset sale

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By Valentine Hilaire

MEXICO CITY, Jan 16 - Mexican entrepreneur Javier Garza Calderon aims to bid on the consumer banking arm of Citigroup in the country, pledging to return it to Mexican hands, he said in a statement Sunday.

Garza Calderon, founder of the organization "Entrepreneurs for the Fourth National Transformation (E4T)," said he was interested in inviting other business leaders to form a group of investors to analyze the possible acquisition.

"I perceive a great opportunity to rescue its historical, cultural and financial assets so that they return to the hands of Mexican businessmen," Garza Calderon said in a statement shared with Reuters.

"A team of national and international analysts and specialists will evaluate all the lines of business that Citi Banamex handles and subsequently we will make an offer," he added.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday named Garza Calderon as a potential bidder https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-president-urges-mexican-investors-bid-citi-assets-2022-01-13 after Citigroup said this week it would sell its Citibanamex consumer banking operations, ending a two decade retail presence in Mexico.

Still commonly known as Banamex, the bank Citi bought in 2001 has long been a fixture on Mexican high streets.

Lopez Obrador has urged Mexican investors to snap up the assets with the aim of "Mexicanizing" the bank.

Garza Calderon's organization E4T is a business association that supports Lopez Obrador's so-called Fourth Transformation (4T) to root out corruption and inequality, according to the group's website.

Mexican tycoon Ricardo Salinas, billionaire Carlos Slim of Grupo Financiero Inbursa and Carlos Hank Gonzalez, chairman of the board of Grupo Financiero Banorte could also be interested in the sale, Lopez Obrador said. (Reporting by Valentine Hilaire, writing by Cassandra Garrison; editing by Diane Craft)