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Dealflow.la #22 - El Chapo 🇲🇽 asks AMLO for help, NuBank 🇧🇷 raised $150 Million in Post-IPO Debt, & Boric 🇨🇱 approval rating free falls.
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KUKUN 🇲🇽 raised a $150,000 Seed round with funding from G2 Momentum Capital 🇲🇽, FJ Labs 🇺🇸, Bridge Partners 🇺🇸 to transform hospitality in Latin America through the use of culturally immersive technology and design. The company merges boutique hotels with the comfort of short-term rentals, with a fully immersive cultural experience available to its users, enabling the hospitality industry to transform through cultural immersion based on location, design, and technology.
Bamboo Debt Capital Markets 🇧🇷 raised a $4 Million Seed round led by Global Founders Capital 🇩🇪 with funding from Latitud 🇧🇷 to build a debt capital markets platform intended to build relationships with originators and investors. The company's platform brings transparency and trust to the alternative fixed-income market facilitating investments in great opportunities through data, structuring, governance, and due diligence, enabling originators to find funding opportunities to generate business.
HealthAtom 🇨🇱 raised a $10 Million Series A led by Kayyak Ventures 🇨🇱 with funding from Taram Capital 🇨🇱, Soma Capital 🇺🇸, FJ Labs 🇺🇸, Digital Horizon 🇬🇧, Amador Holdings 🇵🇦 to develop software designed to manage dental clinics and consultations. The company's platform makes dental administration easy through appointments with patients in video call format without leaving the application and getting all the patient's records history in one place, enabling doctors to give better service to their patients, have everything in order, and make their practice more profitable.
KLYM 🇨🇴 raised a $27 Million Series A from JP Morgan Chase 🇺🇸 and International Finance Corporation 🇺🇸 to streamline the entire process of accounts from receipt, reconciliation, billing, and payment as well as offers electronic factoring to provide working capital information, thereby enabling clients to better understand their suppliers, eliminate risk from the supply chains, avoid duplicate payments and automate the entire accounts payable workflow.
BioElements 🇨🇱 raised a $30 Million Series A led by BTG Pactual 🇧🇷 to transform polluting products into environmentally friendly solutions by manufacturing biodegradable, compostable, and non-biotoxic bags, films, flexible packaging, and cutlery. The company offers substitute films for traditional plastic: primary, secondary, heat shrinkable with and without printing, enabling clients with biodegradable production inputs, compostable in non-biotoxic, and non-toxic heavy metals.
NuBank 🇧🇷 raised $150 Million in Post-IPO Debt from International Finance Corporation 🇺🇸.
FIFA charges Argentina over World Cup final celebrations. FIFA opened a disciplinary case against the Argentine Football Association on Friday for alleged offensive player misconduct and violations of fair play at the World Cup final. FIFA cited its media and marketing regulations for prosecuting the case, which appears to relate to a boisterous celebration by players running through the interview zone after the game on Dec. 18. Argentina beat France in a penalty shootout after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. About three hours later, players led by captain Lionel Messi ran and sang through the official interview area and damaged flimsy partition walls without stopping to speak to international broadcast and print media. The disciplinary charges that include “offensive behavior and violations of the principles of fair play” did not specify Emiliano Martinez, who crudely brandished the trophy he received on the field as the best goalkeeper at the World Cup. (AP)
Argentina’s international bonds leaped to their highest in more than a year after the government said it planned to repurchase about $1 billion of the debt, surprising investors in the cash-strapped country. The South American nation’s $16.1 billion in overseas bonds due 2030 rose 2.5 cents to 35.5 cents on the dollar to the highest since October 2021, paring gains from earlier in the day. It is those bonds, plus ones maturing in 2029, that the government plans to buy back, Economy Minister Sergio Massa said Wednesday, without giving details. The central bank will lead the process. (Bloomberg)
Argentina will buy back overseas bonds equivalent to over $1 billion to improve its debt profile, Economy Minister Sergio Massa said on Wednesday, looking to send a positive signal to markets despite low reserves levels. The move will focus on dollar-denominated sovereign notes maturing in 2029 and 2030 with the program set to start immediately as the country looks to take advantage of what the minister called a "window of opportunity." (Reuters)
For another perspective: Argentina’s bond buyback seems to make little sense. (BA Times)
Banks in Argentina need more vault space to store piles of pesos. Argentina’s peso bills are depreciating so quickly as inflation approaches 100% that banks are running out of space to store bank notes. Banks in the crisis-prone economy, including Banco Galicia and the local unit of Spain’s Banco Santander SA, are installing more vaults to store banknotes at a time the largest denomination bill is worth less than $3, according to people familiar with their plans. Just last week, a business chamber in Buenos Aires called on the central bank to start printing larger-denominating bills to tackle the increasing problems of transacting with an ever-greater number of bills. (Bloomberg)
Protesters ended blockades Wednesday that had largely isolated the rich Santa Cruz region from the rest of Bolivia for more than 15 days, but leaders said the roadblocks could resume to press demands that the government free the region’s governor. Gov. Luis Fernando Camacho, who is widely considered the leader of the opposition to Bolivia’s left-leaning national government, was detained late last year on “terrorism” charges related to previous demonstrations. (AP)
A Bolivian judge has ruled that a prominent right-wing politician and governor of the South American country’s largest department, will remain in detention as he awaits trial on charges of “terrorism”. The ruling from Judge Rosmery Lourdes Pabon upholds a previous decision, made by a different judge in late December. It called for the Santa Cruz governor to be held for four months in pre-trial detention after prosecutors suggested he could be a flight risk or obstruct the ongoing investigation. Fernando Camacho faces charges that he helped instigate the 2019 political crisis that resulted in the resignation of Evo Morales, the country’s first Indigenous president, after his election for a controversial fourth term in office. On Thursday, prosecutor Omar Mejillones said Fernando Camacho’s actions as a leader in the civil unrest led to a “power vacuum” in the country. (Al Jazeera)
A Rio de Janeiro court on Thursday accepted Brazilian retailer Americanas SA's, bankruptcy protection request, days after the company disclosed nearly $4 billion in accounting inconsistencies that have sparked a legal feud with creditors and investors. Americanas, a 93-year-old company with stores all over Brazil and a major e-commerce unit, said in a securities filing that it would restructure debts of about $8.2 Billion. A Rio de Janeiro court on Thursday accepted Brazilian retailer Americanas SA's bankruptcy protection request, days after the company disclosed nearly $4 billion in accounting inconsistencies that have sparked a legal feud with creditors and investors. Americanas, a 93-year-old company with stores all over Brazil and a major e-commerce unit, said in a securities filing that it would restructure debts of about 43 billion reais $8.2 billion. (Reuters)
Brazil moves forward with riot investigation after capital attack. Brazilian authorities have launched a probe to discover who financed the far-right effort to overturn the 2022 election. (Al Jazeera)
Lula: Brazil's intelligence services failed ahead of Brasilia pro-Bolsonaro riots
In a TV interview, Lula said: "My intelligence did not exist. ... We have army intelligence, air force intelligence, ABIN (Brazil’s Intelligence Agency); none of them warned me.” (NBC)
Investors pull out of Chile. Leaving behind a $50 Billion hole Boric government vows to reshape the country’s free-market economy. Capital that has exited the country shows little sign of returning. (Bloomberg)
Chile rejects $2.5 Billion mine project on environmental risks in snub to business. Government votes against the Andes Iron project in northern Chile. Ruling follows Boric’s green agenda and angers business groups. (Bloomberg)
Chile’s Boric sees approval hit all-time low as troubles mount. Only 25% of respondents back President Boric: Cadem survey. Boric under fire for stance on rising crime and a weak economy. (Bloomberg)
Colombia on Thursday extradited to the U.S. the brother of a powerful leftist senator on charges that he conspired with dissident guerrillas to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine. A handcuffed Álvaro Córdoba was handed to agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a chartered flight to New York. The case was something of a minefield for President Gustavo Petro, a former leftist rebel who signed off on the extradition of his ally’s brother despite his own increasing criticism of Colombia’s role as the U.S. caretaker in the war on drugs. (AP)
Colombian inflation poses a major risk to President Gustavo Petro’s popularity and his ambitious reform agenda this year, according to analysts who spoke with Bloomberg. Consumer prices rose more than 13% in 2022, the fastest pace in more than two decades, hurting poorer Colombians who mainly backed Petro. Worse may be yet to come, according to Juana Tellez, chief economist at BBVA Colombia. (Bloomberg)
Colombia's aviation regulator annulled a business merger process between Avianca and Viva airlines due to procedural irregularities, meaning the process will restart without the companies' having to reapply, the aviation governing body announced on Thursday. (Reuters)
Ecuador’s government fired the CEOs of 12 major state-owned companies, including oil driller Petroecuador, in response to graft allegations published by a local media outlet. The heads of key oil, mining and electricity producers were ordered to step down in a letter signed Tuesday by Joaquin Ponce, who heads EMCO, the holding company that controls the nation’s state-owned enterprises. The government hasn’t accused the CEOs of any crimes, but is trying to restore public trust with an overhaul of key officials. (Bloomberg)
The United Nations has issued a statement expressing “concern” after Guatemala announced it would investigate a former anti-corruption investigator assigned to the country. Iván Velásquez, a Colombian who led the UN’s anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala from 2013 to 2019, is under investigation for “illegal, arbitrary and abusive acts”, according to prosecutors in Guatemala. (Al Jazeera)
Guatemalan authorities arrested a lawyer representing the jailed director of an investigative newspaper Thursday and pursued a second lawyer for alleged obstruction of justice. (Washington Post)
The killing of two Honduran water defenders this month has sparked international outrage, with the United Nations calling for an investigation and locals questioning the government’s commitment to protecting environmental activists. (Al Jazeera)
Mexico's president said Wednesday that he would consider a request by convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to return from the United States to complete his sentence on humanitarian grounds. The message from El Chapo was described as an "SOS" by one of his attorneys. The Sinaloa cartel founder has appealed to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for help due to alleged "psychological torment" that Guzman says he is suffering in a U.S. prison. "We're going to review it (the plea)," Lopez Obrador told reporters. It was unclear if Mexico had the power to grant the request, "but the door must always be left open when it comes to human rights," he added. El Chapo is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison in Colorado after being convicted in 2019 of charges including drug trafficking, money laundering, and weapons-related offenses. (CBS)
Attempts to smuggle eggs from Mexico or Canada can result in fines of up to $10,000, officials warn. And yet, soaring egg prices in the US have tempted many to cross the border, where they can be bought for half the price, to bring back the delicate cargo, Seizures at border posts have spiked by more than 100%. US egg prices were up 60% in December compared to the previous year. Between 1 October and 31 December alone, egg and poultry seizures rose 108%, according to Department of Agriculture statistics. Earlier this week, Jennifer De La O, the director of Customs and Border Protection's San Diego Field Operations, tweeted that her office has "recently noticed an increase in the number of eggs intercepted at our ports of entry." (BBC)
Mexican state oil company Pemex illegally burnt off hydrocarbon resources worth more than $342 million in the three years up to August 2022 at two of its most important new fields, internal documents from the country's oil regulator showed. (Reuters)
Foreign buyers picked up $6.8 billion of South Florida residential real estate between August 2021 and July 2022, according to a new report from the Miami Association of Realtors. That's a 34% increase from the sales volume the year prior. Miami's real estate market has long been a haven for foreign buyers, differentiating the city from the rest of the country. (Axios)
A Catholic priest in Nicaragua is facing eight years in jail after he shared a social media post allegedly critical of Daniel Ortega’s hard-left regime. (CH)
Panama's vessel registry, the world's largest, has withdrawn its flag from 136 ships linked to Iran's state oil company in the last four years, the country's maritime authority said this week, pushing back against claims by an anti-nuclear group. Shipments of Iranian crude hit all-time highs in the last two months of 2022 and had a strong start this year, according to flow tracking firms. Those gains come despite U.S. sanctions on companies it accuses of helping Iran export oil, mainly to China and Venezuela. (Reuters)
Peru’s President Dina Boluarte has called for dialogue after clashes between protesters and police during nationwide demonstrations left one person dead and 30 injured. “Once again, I call for dialogue, I call on those political leaders to calm down. Have a more honest and objective look at the country; let’s talk,” Boluarte said at a press conference on Thursday evening. Her comments came after clashes on the streets of the capital Lima, where thousands of protesters from across the country faced a massive show of force by local police. (CNN)
Firefighters have been working to put out a raging inferno that broke out in a building near a protest site in Peru’s capital Lima where police fired tear gas as thousands of protesters poured into the city to demand the removal of President Dina Boluarte. Demonstrators gathered on Thursday in Lima’s historic downtown area where scuffles broke out with the security forces who battled to stop the protesters from reaching key government buildings, including Congress, as well as business and residential districts of the capital. (Al Jazeera)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
The government of Puerto Rico is a step closer to privatizing power generation on the island despite widespread skepticism among consumers, who crave a reliable source of electricity after decades of random power outages. Board members of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority unanimously approved a contract for the operation and maintenance of power generation units owned by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the public corporation currently in charge of energy generation in the U.S. territory. (NBC)
Venezuela's opposition national assembly on Thursday named the commission members who will manage most of the country's assets abroad, moving ahead with a promise by the body's new leadership as it seeks to unify ahead of expected presidential elections. Venezuela traditionally has only one legislature, but currently has two parallel bodies - one of the government-allied lawmakers and another for the opposition. (Reuters)
The head of the Venezuelan government's negotiating team in its talks with the country's opposition said on Tuesday there was no reason to return to dialogue if the government's opponents do not "return" frozen foreign assets. Venezuela's government and the opposition said in November they had asked the United Nations to manage more than $3 billion now held in foreign banks, gradually releasing the money to fund humanitarian efforts. (Reuters)
Venezuela, Lebanon, and South Sudan are in arrears on paying dues to the United Nations’ operating budget and are among six nations that have lost their voting rights in the 193-member General Assembly, the U.N. chief said in a letter circulated Thursday. Also losing voting rights are Dominica, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. Gabon is serving a two-year term on the Security Council though its voting rights there are not affected. The U.N. Charter states that members whose arrears equal or exceed the amount of their contributions for the preceding two full years lose their voting rights. But it also gives the General Assembly the authority to decide “that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” and in that case a country can continue to vote. The General Assembly decided that three African countries on the list of nations in arrears -- Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia -- would be able to keep their voting rights. It granted the three countries the same exemption last year. According to the secretary-general’s letter, the minimum payments needed to restore voting rights are $76,244,991 for Venezuela, $1,835,303 for Lebanon, $619,103 for Equatorial Guinea, $196,130 for South Sudan, $61,686 for Gabon, and $20,580 for Dominica. (AP)
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