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Argentina: Equity issuance looks set for takeoff

Argentina’s capital markets could be about to take off, as more than 20 companies line up to list on the Buenos Aires stock exchange.

The country’s financial markets have been in bad health since Argentina suffered a severe economic crisis between 2001 and 2002.

At the end of October this year, the total market capitalization of the Buenos Aires stock exchange was $62 billion compared with $1.4 trillion for the São Paulo exchange and $426 billion for the Mexico City exchange, according to the World Federation of Exchanges. Even Peru’s Lima exchange has a market cap of $69.9 billion.

However, it is understood that several big Argentine enterprises plan to undertake IPOs next year, including retail and real estate group Pegasus Capital, banking group Banco Supervielle, pharmaceuticals company Sidus, and airports operator Aeropuertos Argentina 2000.

Pablo de Estrada, director of Mercado Abierto Electrónico, Argentina’s main market for securities certificates and FX, says: "More than 20 companies are looking at listing in Buenos Aires. They will stagger the IPOs so that they do not all come to the market at the same time. Some of these companies may want to list on foreign exchanges as well but could run into problems because of the sub-prime turmoil. However, Argentina has a very limited mortgage market and is largely insulated from the sub-prime crisis.

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