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Andean market mergers set growth agenda

The merger of the Peruvian and Colombian stock exchanges will transform the equity capital markets of the Andean region and help them to compete with Brazil for investment, say local experts. Jason Mitchell reports.

IN JANUARY, THE Lima Stock Exchange (BVL) and the Colombian stock exchange (BVC) signed a memorandum of understanding to combine the two companies that run the exchanges. Both companies’ general assemblies are expected to approve the deal in March, the first cross-border merger of two exchanges in Latin America.

The creation of a single company is separate from the move to create a single index, called Integrated Latin American Markets (Mila), made up of the main companies that trade on the BVL, the BVC and Chile’s main bourse, the Santiago Stock Exchange (BCS). Its test phase ends in March, when direct trading is expected to start.

Chile has one of the most advanced economies in Latin America – it has had an investment-grade rating since 1992 – and the most sophisticated capital markets in the region. Peru and Colombia have two of the fastest-growing economies and their capital markets and M&A activity has picked up during the past few years. However, their debt markets are still dominated by public issuance (in Colombia it accounts for 80%) and the stock markets remain concentrated around a few names.

Last year, announced M&A deals with Colombia as the target nationality amounted to $7.95

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