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World Business, UK, March 28, 2006

Colombia climbs the corporate ladder
Source: Latin Business Chronicle, February 2006
Reviewed: 28-Mar-06

Latin America's most valuable deal last year - the $5.2 billion acquisition of Colombia's largest brewer, Bavaria, by international beer giant SAB Miller - has underlined the recently improved climate for investors in Colombia.

In an analysis of Latin America's top 100 M&A deals in 2005, Colombian companies were targeted in 14 transactions. SAB Miller also bought Colombian brewer, Cerveceria Leona, for $176 million, and Spanish bank BBVA acquired mortgage lender Granahorrar for $424 million.

But despite Colombia's deal surge, Latin America generally missed out on last year's worldwide M&A boom. While global activity grew by 38.4% and reached its highest level since 2000, the region posted an 11% fall in transaction values, and numbers of mergers and acquisitions were down 249 to 538.

Among the biggest deals, 41 of the targets were Brazilian companies. Mexican companies were the targets in another 14 transactions, though their total value fell far short of Colombia's. 

While the Bavaria sell-off stands out, Bancocolombia's $605 million merger with Corfinsura and Conavi, creating the country's biggest financial institution, is more representative of the mainly domestic nature of Colombia's deal activity. Last year also saw examples of consolidation within industries across the Latin American region, with Argentinian steel firm Grupo Techint's $2.5 billion purchase of Mexico's Hylsamex being the biggest. 

This year, leading M&A sectors in Latin America are likely to include natural resources and traditional business sectors, such as cement firms, steel, construction and food. 
Source: Columbian Stars
Joachim Bamrud
Latin Business Chronicle Special Report

Review by Steve Lodge  

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