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The Bank of Nova Scotia posted a 3% increase in fourth-quarter net income as it announced a $2.9-billion offer to buy a majority stake in a Chilean bank.

Scotiabank says Tuesday that it has submitted a binding offer to acquire Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.’s shares in its Chilean banking operation, BBVA Chile.

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“This transaction is in line with Scotiabank’s strategy to increase scale within the Chilean banking sector and the Pacific Alliance countries,” the bank said in a statement. “It will double Scotiabank’s market share in Chile to approximately 14%, and make Scotiabank the third-largest non-state-owned bank in the country.”

The lender adds that BBVA is willing to accept the deal if its minority partner, the Said family, does not exercise its right of first refusal under a shareholders agreement.

The proposal came hours before it posted fourth-quarter earnings of $2.07 billion in net income or $1.64 diluted earnings per share for the three months ended Oct. 31, up from $2.01 billion or $1.57 during the same time last year.

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The quarter was helped by Scotiabank’s Canadian and international banking business segments, which saw net income attributable to shareholders rise by 12% and 11%, to $1.07 billion and $605 million, respectively. However, this was offset by a 15% drop in fourth-quarter net income in its global banking and markets division to $391 million, the bank says.

Scotiabank’s provision for credit losses, or money set aside for bad loans, was $536 million, down from $550 million in the same period a year earlier.

Even with the modest earnings bump in the latest quarter, the bank reported a nearly 11% increase in net income for the fiscal year to $8.24 billion up from $7.37 billion a year earlier.

Originally published on Advisor.ca
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