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Opinion

XP’s Benchimol pushes for the top in Brazil

XP has been outperforming even its most optimistic analysts’ projections in recent quarters.

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During a recent interview with Brazilian financial services group XP’s chief executive Guilherme Benchimol, I joked about a quote I read as part of my research that was attributed to him in 2017. 

He had gone on the record as saying XP could become bigger than Itaú. But, I said, with Itaú holding a 49% stake of XP, that wasn’t possible if Itaú didn’t sell its shares.

Still, I noted, it was amazing that Itaú’s stake in XP was now worth about 10% of the market capitalization of Brazil’s biggest private bank, especially as that market cap is a mighty R$315 billion ($73 billion).

It wasn’t until I had left and was reviewing my notes that I realised the weight of his response. 

“Itaú has 49% of XP,” he said. “XP’s [market cap] is 100% of XP. So just do a mathematical exercise: if XP is worth R$1 trillion and Itaú has half of that, it has R$500 billion. If Itaú is worth less than R$500 billion, then XP is worth more than Itaú. It is mathematically possible.”




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