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Banking

Does UBS plus Banco do Brasil add up?

UBS’s strategy of creating emerging markets growth through partnerships is writ large in its joint venture with Banco do Brasil. Can the new entity become more than the sum of its parts?

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In the early 1980s a young man called Ilson Mateus was working as a gold miner in the Brazilian state of Para. He heard about a town in the neighbouring state of Maranhao called Balsas that, he was told, had struck a different type of gold – soy beans. Mateus decided to take what he had saved, buy a truck and fill it with boxes of drinks to sell to the workers in the burgeoning soy fields that surrounded the town.

In less than a year, Mateus had two trucks. One year later, in 1986, he founded a grocery store and today Grupo Mateus is, according to the Brazilian Supermarket Association, the 12th-largest grocer in Brazil, with annual revenues of R$7.5 billion ($1.39 billion).

These types of companies are a tough IPO sell for international investment banks operating in Brazil.


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