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Awards for excellence - Brazil

Best bank:

Banco Itaú

Best debt house:

Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney

Best equity house:

UBS Warburg

Best M&A house:


Banco Itaú is undoubtedly the best bank in Brazil, and quite possibly the best-run bank in Latin America. Its figures for the first quarter of 2001 were astounding: a net profit of $310 million and return on equity of 42%. Remember that Banco Itaú is a commercial bank, not an investment bank where returns on equity of 42% might be more achievable.

Partly for this reason, Banco Itaú has the largest market capitalization in Latin America, excluding the recently-acquired Banacci, despite the fact that its rival, Bradesco, has significantly more assets and equity.

Although Banco Itaú's BIS ratio of 13.4% is down from 18.3% in the third quarter of 2000, if excess provisions are included, as well as unrecorded tax credits, the tier one capital ratio would be above 17.8%.

Banco Itaú is not just an incredibly well-run retail bank, however. Its traders are legendary, and indeed $76 million of the bank's first-quarter profits came from long-dollar positions that took advantage of the plunging Brazilian real.

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