BBVA Moving Forward Into The US Hispanic Market.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), based in Spain, announced that it has reached agreement to acquire Laredo National Bancshares, Inc. (LNB), the leading financial services provider to the Hispanic market in the Texas-Mexico border
area, with $ 3.4 billion in total assets and 110,000 customers. The transaction is expected to create value for BBVA’s shareholders from the outset and has a purchase price of $850 million (euro 700 million), to be financed through BBVA’s internal resources. With this transaction, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2005, BBVA moves forward with its goal of becoming a leading financial services company for the Hispanic

“We are very excited about this transaction because it gives us a top position in one of the priority markets for our US strategy,” said Francisco Gonzalez, Chairman & CEO of BBVA. “This is an area with a massive Hispanic presence, more than 5 million people. In addition, approximately 38% of the border trade between the US and Mexico is done through Laredo, a business activity in which LNB has a predominant market share.”

“Step by step, we are firmly moving forward into the US Hispanic market, continuing our value enhancing strategy,” the BBVA chairman added. “LNB’s acquisition makes all the sense within BBVA’s strategy, launched in 2002,” said Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, BBVA’s President & COO. “Profitablegrowth is a key element of BBVA’s strategy, today and in the future. Value creation is our most important commitment with our shareholders.”

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