Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta opened the Mexican equity market this year, raising 3.35 billion pesos ($227 million) through a follow-on equity offering. The deal found strong demand among foreign buyers, widening the company’s investor base, the company’s chief executive told LatinFinance.

Vesta sold 124.27m shares, including overallotment options, at 27 pesos each. Around two-thirds of the buyers were new investors to the company, Lorenzo Berho said.

“I’m very happy with the response that we have had from countries like Brazil and Chile,” Berho said. “They understand the business model and, for some of them, investing in Mexico represents a complementing investment because countries like Chile are very strong on commodities but not very strong on advanced manufacturing.”

Otherwise, the equity markets have had a subdued beginning to 2015 as investors and issuers adjusted to the effects of falling oil prices and local currencies. “Markets are stuck in neutral,” says one equity markets banker. “I don’t see anyone rushing to do deals given the backdrop. Companies don’t think that waiting is so bad.”

Mexican firms are nonetheless lining up transactions. Grupo Alfa is hoping to launch a follow-on equity sale in the second or third quarter of this year, as well as list its subsidiaries Nemak and Sigma Alimentos in the same timeframe, LatinFinance heard.

Grupo México is considering listing around 15% of its railways business, held by subsidiary Infrestructura y Transportes Mexico, the company said.

And mortgage trust Fibhios was heard to be speaking to equity investors in early February about a potential transaction, which ultimately was put on the backburner.

Telco shifts

Mexico led the region in M&A activity in January and February. The largest deal came from AT&T, which increased its Mexican footprint with the $1.88 billion acquisition of Nextel from NII Holdings. 

The acquisition came close on the heels of the US company’s $2.5 billion purchase of Iusacell from Mexico’s Grupo Salinas, which was finalized a week earlier.

Fresh from its own divestment of 50% of Iusacell to Grupo Salinas, Mexico’s Televisa bought local company Cablevision Red for 3 billion pesos ($206 million). Televisa will take on 7.2 billion pesos in debt and other liabilities as part of the deal, the broadcaster said.

Also in telecoms, Oi’s shareholders approved the company’s €7.4 billion sale of Portugal Telecom assets to Altice. The deal, which was already agreed by management, excludes PT’s debt, its Africatel stake, and bonds issued by Rio Forte investments. It includes PT’s Portugal and Hungary assets.

In the Andes, Peruvian cement maker Yura, a subsidiary of Grupo Gloria, acquired a 63.5% stake in Ecuador’s Union Cementera Nacional (UCEM) for $230 million.

Grupo Sura agreed to buy Panamanian insurer Seguros Banistmo from Bancolombia. The Colombian lender bought Seguros Banistmo’s holding company, HSBC Panama, for $2.3 billion in 2013.

Norway’s Statkraft signed a deal to buy a 75% stake in Chilean hydropower generator Empresa Electrica Pilmaiquen. Statkraft will pay $4.87 a share, valuing the deal at nearly $183m, plus debt. The news came shortly after Statkraft said it had bought Jackson Empreendimentos out of its ownership of Brazil’s Desenvix. The deal increases Statkraft’s stake in the renewable energy company to 81.3%.

Also in Brazil, Morocco’s OCP agreed to buy a 10% stake in Brazilian fertilizer producer Heringer for 145 million reais ($54.4 million), or 27 reais a share. The deal gives the buyer, a state-run phosphate producer, ability to elect a member to Heringer’s board. The companies also signed a long-term supply agreement. The acquisition follows a preliminary deal in June. 

Mexican fibra Terrafina said it would buy $380 million worth of properties this year. It has a portfolio of $101 million of land reserves and industrial space that it is set to sell, also. LF