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The chief executive of Brazil's biggest private lender Itau Unibanco said on Wednesday that the accounting inconsistencies that led retailer Americanas SA to request bankruptcy protection represent a case of 'fraud'. Milton Maluhy Filho's remarks came after Itau, which had a multi-million-dollar exposure to Americanas, had to set aside more cash for bad loans in the fourth quarter. Maluhy added that Itau has not identified any case similar to that of Americanas, which reported around $8 billion in debt after disclosing "inconsistencies" in its accounting.
Itau Unibanco (ITUB) is seeing favorable earnings estimate revision activity and has a positive Zacks Earnings ESP heading into earnings season.
Brazilian banks may start setting aside provisions for losses with retailer Americanas already in the fourth quarter of 2022, analysts say. Banks such as BTG Pactual, Bradesco,Santander Brasil, Itaú Unibanco Holding and Banco do Brasil have around 15 billion reais in loans with Americanas, according to analyst reports. Analysts estimate the banks may provision around 30% of their loans in the fourth quarter, which would be equivalent to 4.5 billion reais ($890 million), even with bankruptcy protection taking place in January, as a precautionary measure allowed by the Brazilian central bank.