Latin America business update

10.06.2007 By: Source: Adapted from Latin Trade

ArcelorMittal, a European steel company, said it has spent US$5.41 billion raising its stake in its Brazilian unit to 96.6% from 67.1% via tender off. ArcelorMittal still plans to buy out all shares in its subsidiary Arcelor Brasil.

Avianca, a Colombian airline, signed a US$2.90 billion contract to buy 38 airplanes and lease another three from Airbus, a European aircraft maker. The deal comes with the option to acquire an additional 32 planes. In another deal, Aviance awarded U.S. technology company IBM a US$12 million contract to manage its information technology infrastructure. The deal aims to lower Avianca's operating costs.

The World Bank, a multilateral lending institution, approved US$112.1 million in financing for Uruguay. The money will help the government push through fiscal and social reforms.

Masisa, a Chilean forestry company, said it would sell its controlling stake in Forestal Argentina, an Argentine forestry company, to Diversified International Timber Holdings, of the United States. Forestal Argentina was valued at US$102.7 million in the deal.

CMS Energy, a U.S. energy company, agreed to sell for US$94 million its interests in GasAtacama, a Chilean natural gas pipeline, as well as a Jamaican electricity asset to Ashmore Energy International of the United States. CMS will use the money to pay down debts and focus on U.S. investments.

Companhia Brasileira de Offshore, a Brazilian shipping company, received US$79.3 million in financing from BNDES, Brazil's state-owned development bank. The money will help the company build three platform supply vessels at a shipyard in Rio de Janeiro state.

Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, a Mexican airport operator, has begun a US$40 million expansion at the Monterrey International Airport. The project, a new terminal, will handle 1.5 million passengers a year.

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), a Brazilian metals and mining company, sold for US$23 million its calcium silicon assets to Wellgate, a Swiss private equity fund. The sale forms part of CVRD's policy of focusing on other alloys.

Philips, a global electronics and medical devices company, bought for an undisclosed amount VMI Sistemas Médicos, a Brazilian medical products company. The purchase makes Philips the largest producer of X-ray equipment in the country.

DaimlerChrysler Financial Services, the financing unit of the German-U.S. automobile maker, opened a new call center in Monterrey, Mexico to cater to Mexican and U.S. Hispanic markets. Terms were not disclosed.

Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company, signed a deal with ONGC, an Indian oil company, to explore for oil in both Brazil and India. Terms were not disclosed.