Latin America: As Brazil falls, private equity rises

Rob Dwyer
Published on:

Every cloud has a silver lining, and private equity firms are pretty good at finding them. Is that why they are now targeting crisis-hit Brazil? Have they learnt from their poor recent performance?

The news that CVC was opening an office in São Paulo intrigued many in Brazil’s financial capital. The private equity firm has long been interested in the country, so its decision to open an office seemed important in terms of timing. 

But the news of the man they had appointed to run the office has captured even more attention: Jean-Marc Etlin had been comfortably and profitably ensconced as head of Banco Itaú’s investment banking unit. To leave – taking his overflowing contact list of owners of potential targets – was a huge sign about the renewed lure of private equity in Brazil.

Jean-Marc Etlin,
CVC Capital Partners

Etlin declined an interview for this feature – he said it was premature and his focus is on working to close his first transaction. However, the market views his switch as a rare reason to be cheerful at a time of political and economic crisis in Brazil: fundraising for funds operating in the country has been strong, and private equity is reported to have huge firepower to deploy.