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BNDES’s project finance revolution

Plans to incentivize foreign capital aim to boost capacity, with a new internal ‘investment bank’ to drive growing pipeline.

Gustavo Montezano, President of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) attends a launching ceremony of the basic sanitation legal framework at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia
Gustavo Montezano, president of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES).
Photo: Reuters

Since Gustavo Montezano, president of BNDES, took over at the state-owned development bank in 2019, it has been evolving its role from a central provider of funding for the country’s infrastructure projects to an advisory role that brings in private finance.

One of the key reforms was the introduction of non-recourse financing in Brazil, which made project finance attractive for international companies. The bank is working with the Brazilian government to improve the financial environment for foreign investment in the country’s expanding infrastructure industry.

BNDES is now going further – it has created its own group, which Montezano, speaking to Euromoney in São Paulo, refers to as BNDES’s internal “investment bank”. Its official name is the Fábrica de Projetos – or Project Factory.

“When I joined BNDES there was a clear lack of projects in the Brazilian pipeline and, as of today, there still aren’t enormous Brazilian infrastructure opportunities, but it’s improving," says Montezano. "We are quickly catching up with Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.”

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