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Dealflow.la #39 - Citigroup 🇺🇸 to spin off Banamex 🇲🇽 after sale efforts collapse, Panama 🇵🇦 drought causes cargo ships to lighten their transpacific loads, & Lula 🇧🇷 ignores Zelenskyy 🇺🇦.
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U.mode 🇧🇷 raised a $550,000 Seed round with funding from Smart Money Ventures 🇧🇷 and Investidores.VC 🇧🇷 to build a technology-based fashion platform intended to analyze and recognize standards of everything that involves in fashion business operations. The company's platform specializes in digital transformation systems by analyzing attributes in external sources, giving data regarding performance history, helping in sharing briefings with suppliers, and giving pilot test feedback, enabling fashion companies to improve sales performance with real-time reporting.
CargOn 🇧🇷 raised a $630,000 Seed round led by EqSeed 🇧🇷 to build a software platform intended to manage the logistics operation. The company offers monitoring of cargo trucks, delivery of the cargo, real-time data, loading and unloading indicators, billing, delays, transit trips, data analytics, and finance management, thereby enabling the optimization of resources and times through technology.
Num Finance 🇦🇷 raised a $1.5M Pre-Seed round led by Reserve 🇺🇸, with funding from VC3 DAO 🇮🇪, Ripio Ventures 🇦🇷, and H2O Scouter Fund 🇺🇸 to offer businesses a swift and efficient way to augment their operations in emerging markets via returns, loans, and digital assets facilitated by local ramps and tokens.
Portal Do Medico 🇧🇷 raised a $4.1M Venture round led by SRM Ventures 🇧🇷 to build their exclusive marketplace for healthcare professionals and clinics.
Kiwi 🇵🇷 raised a $4.5M Seed round with funding from Independent Capital LLC 🇵🇷, Altio Capital 🇲🇽, and Advent-Morro Equity Partners 🇵🇷 (and $75 Million in Debt Financing from i80 Group 🇺🇸) to help Latinos by providing tools and resources to establish credit and secure access to capital. Kiwi offers a credit card meant to keep people out of debt and in charge of their finances. Kiwi users can apply for a loan from $150 to $1,000.
Australian-based lithium miner Allkem Ltd, set for a $10.6 billion merger with U.S.-based Livent Corp, sees an "enormous" opportunity in Argentina. Argentina's strong pipeline of lithium projects could attract billions of dollars in investment by the end of the decade, with the country's lithium exports potentially rising to $10 billion. Argentina, the No. 4 lithium producer globally, sits within the so-called "lithium triangle" and has been attracting investment. (Reuters)
Argentina is in talks to renew and potentially expand its currency swap line with China, as the South American country battles tumbling foreign reserves that threaten its ability to meet payments. The country has free access to some $5 billion as part of the China currency swap agreement that totals 130 billion yuan ($18.81 billion). The two countries activated the usable portion in January to help bolster Argentina's embattled peso. Argentina must rebuild its reserves to cover trade costs and future debt repayments, as well as to meet economic targets under its $44 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which it is currently trying to revamp. (Reuters)
Argentina's foreign currency reserves have fallen sharply this year as a major drought battered exports of cash crops corn and soy and the peso weakened, pressured by 109% annual inflation and political uncertainty ahead of elections in October. (Reuters)
Argentina has put a new 2,000-peso bill into circulation as the country endures one of the world’s highest inflation rates that has decimated the value of the local currency. The new banknote is worth double the previous highest bill in circulation but is still worth only $8.21 at the official exchange rate and $4.08 at black-market rates. Consumer prices rose 8.4% in April compared to the previous month, with inflation reaching 32% in the first four months of the year, according to the state-run INDEC statistics agency. (ABC)
Brazil has declared an animal health emergency for six months after authorities detected its first-ever case of avian influenza virus in wild birds, according to a document signed by the government’s agriculture minister. The South American nation, the world’s biggest chicken meat exporter with $9.7 Billion in sales last year, has confirmed at least eight cases of the H5N1 virus in wild birds, including one in Rio de Janeiro state and seven in the neighboring state of Espirito Santo. (Al Jazeera)
Brazil on Monday condemned the "racist attacks" Brazilian soccer player Vinicius Jr has repeatedly suffered in Spain and called on the Spanish government and sports authorities to punish those involved, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The ministry called in Spain's ambassador on Monday to explain the situation following the latest incident on Sunday when racist insults were hurled at the Black top-scoring forward for Real Madrid. (Reuters)
Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil failed to hold one-on-one talks while attending a summit in Japan, even as Ukraine seeks to engage countries in the Global South on taking a harder line against Russia for its war. “I met almost everyone, all the leaders. All of them have their own schedules, that is why we couldn’t meet with the Brazilian president,” the Ukrainian president told reporters on Sunday in Hiroshima at a briefing on the sidelines of the Group of Seven meetings. Asked if he was disappointed, Zelenskiy replied: “I think it disappointed him.” (Bloomberg)
Brazil’s real was among the best-performing currencies in emerging markets after the lower house approved a slightly stricter version of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s fiscal plan, signaling the government is trying to address investor concerns about overspending. (Bloomberg/Yahoo)
Fast-fashion giant Shein is rapidly ramping up manufacturing in Brazil, with 100 factories already producing for the online retailer since it announced plans to invest $148 million in the region a month ago. It’s part of a bigger plan to expand production outside of China and to embrace rapid growth in Latin America, said Marcelo Claure, Shein’s chairman for the region and a shareholder in the company. (Bloomberg)
The extensive coverage of the 5G mobile network in Chile, together with the high adoption of this technology, has allowed Movistar Chile to announce that it has surpassed the first million clients in fifth generation. An adoption that is advancing at a speed never seen before, considering that it took 4G 12 months to reach 500,000 customers, while 5G only four months. (BNAmericas)
The suspension was triggered by the killing of four indigenous teenagers by the left-wing rebel group EMC-Farc. It comes just two months after Mr. Petro put on hold a ceasefire with another of Colombia's armed groups, the Gulf Clan. The president came to office in August of last year with the aim of achieving "total peace" in Colombia. But on Monday Mr Petro released a statement in which he questioned the EMC-Farc's commitment to the bilateral ceasefire it had agreed with the government following the "atrocious incident" in southern Colombia. (BBC)
Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe could be tried on allegations of witness tampering, after a judge on Tuesday dismissed a prosecutor's request to shelve the probe, reviving a long-running and deeply polarizing case. The attorney general's office asked in March 2021 for a hearing on potentially curtailing the investigation, after it found Uribe's conduct did not constitute a crime. Uribe and several allies were investigated over allegations of witness tampering carried out in an attempt to discredit accusations he had ties to right-wing paramilitaries. He has always maintained his innocence. Uribe's supporters have characterized the process as persecution, while his detractors have celebrated it as a deserved downfall. (Reuters/US News)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
Despite initial hopes to finalize the regularization of Airbnb operations in the Dominican Republic in August 2022, the process remains pending. The Ministry of Tourism (Mitur) continues to work towards formalizing the digital accommodation rental platform, with Minister David Collado expressing optimism about signing an agreement in the coming weeks, as reported by Diario Libre. While no specific date was provided, Collado stated that the agreement with the Ministry of Tourism includes conditions for Airbnb to formalize its operations in the country. The General Directorate of Internal Taxes (DGII) has also prepared a draft regulation governing the application of the Transfer Tax on Industrialized Goods and Services (ITBIS), which is now with the Executive Branch for review. (Dominican Today)
Ecuador’s National Electoral Council announced on Tuesday that early presidential elections would be held on Aug. 20 after President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the National Assembly by decree last week and brought forward the vote scheduled for 2025. Lasso’s decision to dissolve the opposition-led legislature came as lawmakers tried to impeach him for not stopping a deal between the state-owned oil transport company and a private tanker company, accusations he denies. In disbanding the assembly, the president made first use of an option available to him under the constitution in conflicts with the legislative branch. Elections had to be called within three months, for both the assembly and presidency, and the winners will serve out what would otherwise have been the remainder of the terms of those elected officials. If there is no outright winner a runoff vote will be held in October. Lasso can choose to run in the presidential election. In the meantime, he can rule by decree for up to six months. (AP News)
The killing of Indigenous Ecuador anti-oil activist spurs questions. Eduardo Mendúa was shot outside his home, leading some to wonder about the role of the oil industry in his death. (Al Jazeera)
Honduras said on Saturday it was ending its decades-long diplomatic relations with Taiwan, bringing it closer to China as it expands its footprint in Central America. "The government of Honduras recognizes the existence of just one China," the Honduran foreign ministry said in a post on Twitter. "The government of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China." The ministry said Honduras had notified Taiwan of its decision to break ties, and that it would not return to having any relationship or official contact with Taiwan. (VOA)
Citigroup said Wednesday it plans to pursue an initial public offering of its Mexico business, Banamex, scuttling a 16-month effort to find a buyer for the unit. The bank expects to complete the separation in the second half of 2024, with a public offering likely to follow in 2025, Citigroup said in a release. It hasn’t yet decided on a listing destination, but a dual listing in Mexico and the U.S. is possible, a source familiar with the plans told CNBC. Citigroup shares fell 3% in early trading. “After careful consideration, we concluded the optimal path to maximizing the value of Banamex for our shareholders and advancing our goal to simplify our firm is to pivot from our dual path approach to focus solely on an IPO of the business,” CEO Jane Fraser said in the release. Fraser has been overhauling the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets since taking over in March 2021. One of her first moves as CEO was to announce a dramatic reduction in the bank’s global footprint. Plans to sell or IPO Banamex were disclosed in January 2022. (CNBC)
President López Obrador on Tuesday suggested that the government could buy a majority stake in the bank Citibanamex if the sale to Grupo México doesn’t go ahead. The mining and infrastructure conglomerate controlled by billionaire businessman Germán Larrea is believed to be close to finalizing a US $7 billion deal to purchase Citibanamex from the United States-based Citigroup, which announced its intention to sell in January 2022. (Mexico News Daily)
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Quanta Computer will invest US $1 billion in the northern state of Nuevo León, Governor Samuel García announced on Monday. Quanta Computer is a Global Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s leading laptop manufacturers. Tesla, which is set to build a gigafactory in Nuevo León, is among Quanta’s clients. (Mexico News Daily)
A volcano southeast of the Mexican capital spewed more gas and ash into the sky on Tuesday as authorities maintained their warning level at one step below red alert. The only time the Popocatepetl volcano triggered a red alert on the government’s stoplight-style system since emerging from decades of dormancy in 1994 was in 2000. The volcano’s last big eruption was more than 1,000 years ago. The 5,425-metre (17,797-foot) mountain just some 70km (45 miles) southeast of Mexico City and known affectionately as El Popo, has been belching for days, dusting towns and crops in Puebla state in superfine ash. (Al Jazeera)
Nicaraguan authorities shutter another Catholic University. The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior permanently closed the Immaculate Conception Catholic University under the determination of “voluntary dissolution”. Over the past year, Nicaraguan authorities have closed 17 other private universities under this “voluntary” clause. Critics say the government employs this legal pathway to close institutions as a way to put pressure on those it sees as opposing its rule. (VN)
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is to further reduce the maximum draft allowed for vessels transiting the waterway during an especially severe drought season, obliging ocean carriers to lighten the loads of Asia – US east coast Panama and Pendulum loops. As a result, transpacific carriers are set to impose hefty surcharges from 1 June for shipments on Asia – US east coast all water services and redirect some of their loops via the Suez Canal. “The Panama drought season is causing draft issues in the canal, reducing the Panama string capacity,” said Maersk in its monthly market update. (The Loadstar)
Scandal-ridden former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday went on trial on charges of money laundering, clouding his chances of standing in next year's election. Martinelli is one of 15 people accused of having bought, in 2010, a majority share in the Editora Panama America publishing house using state funds. Martinelli, who was president from 2009-14, was not present at the opening of the trial having presented a medical disability certificate due to an operation on his shoulder. According to prosecutors, the defendants used a series of front companies to siphon off almost $44 million from state infrastructure contracts during Martinelli's presidency. Martinelli then allegedly used part of this money to buy a controlling stake in the media company, whose newspapers adopted an editorial line that promoted the ex-president's interests. Supermarket magnate Martinelli denies having received "any ill-gotten gains" and claims to be a victim of political persecution to prevent him from standing in the May 2024 presidential elections. (France24)
The Foreign Relations Commission of the Peruvian Congress declared the Mexican President persona non grata in Peru after he said Dina Boluarte was a usurper. Mr. López Obrador, or AMLO, has repeatedly shown his support for Pedro Castillo, the former president of Peru, who is now in jail. (Newsendip)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
Since the pandemic began, wealthy individuals and remote workers have been moving to other states and even countries to live larger while the cost of living remains high. Florida became one of the biggest hotspots, but the influx of people made the Sunshine State less affordable as skyrocketing housing prices push out its retiree population to cheaper places like Alabama. Now remote workers and the ultrawealthy have found a new housing market to wreak havoc on: luxury villas in Puerto Rico. (Yahoo)
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