Monday, June 29, 2009

Brazil: Venture Capital's Next Hotbed?

Brazil: Venture Capital's Next Hotbed?
Investments in Brazilian startups are surging, but high taxes and strict labor laws could hamper returns

(Source Business Week, Technology, Investment) Brazil is best known around the world for soccer, samba music, and supermodels. Now it's emerging as an attractive destination for investment capital.

At a June 25 conference in New York, a Brazilian venture capital trade group announced some impressive figures. As of the end of 2008, local and foreign investors had committed $28 billion in venture and private equity capital to Brazilian companies, said Luiz Figueiredo, president of the Brazilian Association for Private Equity & Venture Capital. That's up from $6 billion in 2004, amounting to a hearty 50% compound annual growth rate over the last four years. Investors have financed 500 Brazilian companies to date with venture or private equity capital, and there's $12 billion left to invest over the next few years from that $28 billion kitty.

Venture and private equity players see ample opportunity in Brazil, which boasts a stable financial system and a strong base of local investors. But the country's business challenges, including high taxes and restrictive labor laws, could hold back growth.

The conference on investment opportunities in Brazil was hosted by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce and drew more than 150 investors, executives, and technologists. An initial public offering and a large investment underscored the event's theme.

On June 25, Brazilian stock exchange Bovespa hosted the world’s largest IPO this year, a $4.3 billion offering by Brazilian credit-card processor VisaNet. The same day, Boston private equity firm Advent International announced that it has bought a 50% stake in Brazilian holding company PAP for $142 million. PAP controls Kroton Educational, a fast-growing education company. It was Advent’s fifteenth investment in Brazil since 1997. Read Article...
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