Fraga welcomes BSCH bid for Banespa bank

Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano was the surprise high bidder for Banespa yesterday, claiming Brazil's state bank for an unexpectedly high US$3.6bn. Santander's offer was well above the minimum bid of US$940m necessary for the 76% stake in Banespa, which the government brought back from near financial death to become the prize of the country's biggest bank privatization ever.

Brazilian banks Unibanco and Bradesco were the only others to submit bids for Banespa, which serves the country's

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