Daily Archives: Nov 13, 2012

The collapse of Colombia’s biggest broker, Interbolsa, might have prompted some investors to dump the country’s bond and currency last week.

Yet that was not enough to prevent Cemex, the Mexican cement producer, from raising close to $1.1bn from the partial sale of its Latin American subsidiary on the Colombian Stock Exchange last Wednesday. Read more

Place your bets … Chilean casino operator Enjoy is staking $140m on the purchase of a casino in Uruguay’s ritzy Punta del Este resort.

Announcing the deal, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which is selling the controlling stake in Uruguayan hotel and casino operator, Conrad, to Enjoy, called Latin America “one of the fastest growing casino gaming markets in the world”. Read more

Anyone who has ever worked in Brazil, set up a company or in fact tried to do anything in the country will feel their pain. Raymond James Financial said on Tuesday that it was shutting down its equity research unit in Brazil because of tax and regulatory hurdles. Read more

Comex, the number-one Mexican paints company which is being acquired by Sherwin-Williams of the US, was founded 60 years ago by the Achar family in a garage at its home.

The Achar garage may not be quite as celebrated as that of Steve Jobs but the family business, acquired in a deal valued at $2.34bn, has close on 4,000 points of sale ranging from Panama to Canada. Read more

Who knew insurance could be so toxic? Two British insurers have pulled out of an agreement to offer cover against political violence in Zimbabwe, in a curious turn of events.

Earlier this year, insurance broker RK Harrison Group approached Harare-based Champions Insurance about offering cover from Lloyd’s of London against political violence. In October, Champions said that a deal had been agreed for an undisclosed amount. But the plan is now off. What happened? Read more

The Russian competition watchdogs have bared their teeth. The Federal Antimonopoly Service on Tuesday announced that it had fined Russian Railways, the state-controlled group, over Rbs2bn ($70m) for allegedly abusing its dominant position in freight.

Russian Railways immediately said it would appeal. And who knows it might win: chairman Vladimir Yakunin is a close associate of president Vladimir Putin (pictured together). But, for the moment, it is the anti-monopoly service that’s top dog. Read more

Tuesday is middle class day in Latin America. The World Bank will publish a 200-page report on the rise of the middle class in the region. And the Brazilian government has issued a 60-pager called Voices of the middle class, the second in a series.

Both chart the astonishing rise of the middle classes in recent years – or rather, the economic boom that has allowed tens of millions of people to migrate from their countries’ lower to middle income levels. But they also raise a big question: with incomes on the rise, why has so much else remained unchanged? Read more

The fallout from the mining strikes in South Africa has already made a dent or two in the economic statistics. It has also had repurcussions for several companies – Lonmin in particular. Now Kumba Iron Ore, majority owned by Anglo American, has issued a profits warning.

Shares in Kumba fell nearly 3 per cent in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The company said in a statement that full year earnings for 2012-13, to be announced in February, could be 20 per cent lower than in the previous year. Read more

Mihaly Patai, the chairman of Hungary’s Banking Association, resigned on Tuesday, marking another twist in the long-running battle between prime minister Viktor Orban’s government and the country’s banking sector.

The move comes after parliament in Budapest passed legislation on Monday which reneges on an earlier pledge to halve Hungary’s controversial bank tax next year, while in addition doubling the new Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), set to be imposed from January 1, to 0.2 per cent of transactions. Read more

Life for international bond investors in Russia is expected to get a lot easier from January, when newly-created links between the Moscow market and European-wide settlement and clearing systems are finally switched on.

Russia’s Central Securities Depository will next month start opening client accounts with direct access to Euroclear and Clearstream, the west European-based clearing networks. Officials at Micex, the Russian financial exchange, say the accounts will become fully operational for bond investors at the beginning of 2013. Read more

By Atanas Bostandjiev of VTB Capital
This week’s announcement that a consortium led by VTB Capital, the investment banking arm of VTB Group, has completed the acquisition of Vivacom, one of Bulgaria’s leading telecoms operators, is a clear sign of the opportunity frontier markets still offer investors. Read more

The once-a-year Singles Day in China is becoming a big event for both online shoppers and retailers, with some of the bigger sites such as those run by Alibaba offering 50 per cent off and seeing growth in sales explode.

The alternative to Valentine’s Day, which was started among Chinese college students and held on November 11 (as a numerical pun of four single digits) has now become mainstream – and very big. It is also causing something of a challenge for couriers and delivery companies in the mad rush. Read more

* Top Lula aide gets 10-year prison sentence

* Li prepares to become Chinese premier

* China property tax program trial may be expanded Read more

Astonishing news from Brazil on Monday night: politicians are going to jail. Not just being convicted of crimes, you understand: actually going to jail.

It was big enough news in October when Brazil’s supreme court began handing down guilty verdicts to those accused of involvement in the mensalão, a vote-buying scheme allegedly operated in Congress in 2003 and 2004 by people close to then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. That those people will really do time is a huge advance for the rule of law and respect for institutions in Brazil. Read more

East Africa’s largest private equity fund Catalyst Principal Partners reached its final close last week, at $125m, writes Katrina Manson. It marks a growing pot of money chasing deals in the region whose nascent private equity industry has little record but is keen to make the most of a dearth of capital for a growth market of 200m people. Read more