Equity capital markets came back to life in September, giving observers hope that a backlog of deals might finally start to clear.
Brazil’s change in government was understood to offer confidence for several equity issuers to push ahead with long-awaited plans. Brazilian software provider Linx raised 444 million reais ($137.8 million) in a follow-on offering, while meatpacker BRF Foods is poised to list its Sadia Halal unit in London and the United Arab Emirates.
“Brazil’s had this pipeline sitting and waiting patiently for so long now,” a São Paulo-based banker says. “Now that market conditions are in place — the new government is favorable to investors — expect these deals to come through.”
Brazilian transmission line company Taesa was due to sell shares in October as controlling shareholder Companhia Energética de Minas Gerias looked to lower its stake.
“A lot of the Brazilian public sector units want to decrease debt,” the banker adds. “Raising capital and placing it into different areas of investment is now a viable option.”
In Mexico, IEnova finally moved ahead with an equity follow-on offering that could raise over $1 billion. The energy infrastructure company met investors in October in the US and Latin America, with pricing scheduled for late October.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing however. Becle, the holding company that makes José Cuervo, pushed plans to list its tequila company to late November.
Becle filed in late September for a global equity offering, but delayed the listing in early October because it needed to refile its financial statements with the Mexican regulator.
Investors were also said to be spooked about a capital raising just before the US Presidential election, with heightened uncertainty over policy if Republican candidate Donald Trump were to win.
“If things go south with a Trump victory, then this offering may not pan out the way the company may have liked,” says one observer.
The big ticket
In mergers and acquisitions, US power company Duke Energy agreed to deals to sell its LatAm holdings for around $2.4 billion in early October.
China Three Gorges Corporation agreed to take Duke’s Brazilian holdings for $1.2 billion cash and assumption of debt. I Squared Capital, a specialized energy investor, meanwhile, paid the same amount for Duke’s businesses in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina.
Despite not reaching the $3 billion price tag some speculators had suggested ahead of the deals’ agreement, the sales still constitute some of the region’s biggest this year.
In another pair of hotly awaited trades, Citi reached a deal to sell its retail banking operations in Argentina and Brazil.
Itaú Unibanco agreed to buy Citi’s Brazilian retail portfolio, with the equivalent of $2.8 billion in assets, for 710 million reais ($220 million). In Argentina, Banco Santander Rio has agreed to buy Citi’s retail business, with $1.4 billion in assets, for an undisclosed price. Both deals remain subject to regulatory approval.
Citi is also heard to be close to reaching a deal on the sale of its Colombian retail business. The divestments represent the tail end of a strategy first announced in 2014 for the US bank to exit many of its retail businesses in LatAm in a bid to focus on corporate and investment banking and its Mexican operations.
Elsewhere, Brazilian energy firm Petrobras in September went a long way to meeting its ambitious $15.1 billion 2015-2016 asset divestment target, making its biggest sale yet.
The company agreed to sell pipeline system Nova Transportadora do Sudeste to a consortium led by Brookfield for $5.19 billion. LF