Best-managed LATAM companies 2007: A Latin leap forward
Latin America’s best companies, like its capital markets, are beginning to find their bite. Boldness is the buzzword in a stable environment of 5% regional economic growth. For a growing club, foreign markets are the targets for home-grown Latin success stories. Leticia Lozano reports.
AMONG THE LATIN American companies active globally are the ever-disciplined Mexico-based Cemex, the world’s third-largest cement maker; and Brazilian iron ore producer CVRD. However, these are just the biggest of a growing bunch. "Brazilian industry is putting on a show around the world," says Alvaro Novis, chief financial officer at Brazilian engineering and construction group Odebrecht.
Last year, acquisitions by Latin American companies were worth $95.6 billion, made up of 458 deals, compared with 304 in 2005 worth $25.3 billion, according to Dealogic. So far this year, the region’s companies have made $1.5 billion-worth of acquisitions, with a strong pipeline of deals predicted for 2007. And in a market with huge potential, innovative niche players such as Chilean retailer La Polar, Brazilian miner MMX and Panamanian airline Copa are also thriving. Consolidation in areas ranging from banking to telecoms is the order of the day, as more companies tap local capital markets to expand. Indeed, IPOs in Latin America raised $10.2 billion last year, more than double the 2005 level, according to Dealogic. The number of IPOs rose to 34 from 20 in 2005 and 11 in 2004.