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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
UBS to take over Brazilian bank
Sign outside UBS offices in New York
Emerging markets are a target for UBS
UBS is set to make a major move into South America by buying a Brazilian investment bank.

The Swiss-based group is to pay up to $2.5bn (1.35bn) for Banco Pactual - making it a key player in the country's asset and wealth management sectors.

"Brazil has one of the world's fastest growing financial markets," said UBS chief executive Peter Wuffli.

The deal is the latest in a string of purchases made by UBS, which unveiled record profits earlier this month.

"The combined entity will provide an unrivalled platform for the business to grow in Brazil and throughout Latin America," Mr Wuffli said.

UBS said that Pactual had $18.6bn in its asset management funds and $4.6bn invested in its wealth management business.

The Swiss bank will pay $1bn up front, then up to $1.6bn over five years, depending on performance. It said the present value of the entire transaction was valued at $2.5bn.

Earlier this month, UBS reported record first-quarter profits, helped by its private bank which manages money for wealthy clients.

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