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Archive for February, 2009

butchery Inae Riveras
CHICAGO (Reuters) – At the tender age of 18, when other teenagers dream about
getting a car, Wesley Batista was handed a meat-packing plant to manage. Some 20 years later, the 38-year-old Brazilian runs the U.S. operations of the world’s largest beef producer, Brazil’s JBS  beef group. Like his brother, Joesley, the chief executive officer of JBS, the meat business was in Wesley’s blood.
Both dropped out of college and learned their trade early, following in the footsteps
of their father, Jose Batista Sobrinho, who grew the empire from a butcher shop.
The family-controlled company, based in Brazil’s financial capital Sao Paulo, surprised analysts last year by announcing plans for some major international acquisitions.
The deals included National Beef Packing Co LLC and the beef unit of Smithfield Foods Inc, both in the United States, and the Australian-based Tasman Group.
JBS announced last week it was abandoning plans to buy National Beef, the No. 4
U.S. beef producer, after the Justice Department said some of its plants would have
to be sold. That acquisition would have made it the No. 1 U.S. beef processor, a
jump from its current rank of No. 3.
The company, largely unknown outside of Brazil until a few years ago, originated in
the early 1950s when the elder Batista started buying cows in Goias state in central
Brazil and selling them to meat-packers.
In 1957, he saw an opportunity with the planned construction of Brazil’s new capital
of Brasilia and set up one of the first regional slaughterhouses, with an initial
capacity of just 25 to 30 animals a day.
Starting in the 1980s, JBS aggressively acquired rivals and set up a national chain of plants that reduced sanitary risks and cut reliance on local suppliers, said Jose Vicente Ferraz, technical director at AgraFNP consultancy in Sao Paulo.

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brazil_getty_136521s1Times are tough, so is it worth emigrating? Kate Hughes looks at possible exit strategies

Brazil has an immature and developing market and isn’t exposed to the kind of debts that developed Western countries have suffered from.
The interest on your savings is minuscule, your pension pot has been hammered, and the value of your house is plunging. You might be made redundant – and, to cap it all, we’ve had the coldest winter in 30 years. In short, life in Britain isn’t looking great. This may be a worldwide wipeout, too, but there could be a few safer, if not entirely safe, havens to run to with what’s left of your wealth.
“Very few places have not been affected by the downturn,” says Oliver Watson, regional managing director of international recruitment consultant Michael Page. “But if you are looking for an overseas opportunity, look for a sound gross domestic product [GDP, a country’s input and output] and an economy linked to natural resources. Brazil won’t see stellar growth over the next year, but it should be steady. It has an immature and developing market and isn’t exposed to the kind of debts that developed Western countries have suffered from.”
So far, Brazil has weathered the downturn better than most, but low demand for its exportable products means that the South American country will not escape unscathed. The most up-to-date GDP figures show continued strong growth, but they only go to the end of September last year, and business confidence in Brazil is at a six-year low. Brazil’s economy is taking a hit, but the downturn here may be less severe.

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From Reuters (Tais Fuoco)

* Q4 net income jumps to 215.5 mln reais vs 26.2 mln

* 2008 profit 389.7 million reais vs loss 99.8 mln

* Sees Brazil’s wireless market continuing to expand

* Seen “a small growth” in January

Brazil’s largest mobile phone company Vivo Participacoes (VIVO4.SA)(VIV.N) said on Friday its fourth-quarter profit surged nearly ten-fold because of a sharp increase in new users and as it kept costs in check.

The company’s chief executive Roberto Lima said the profit surge in the fourth quarter was due to changes in its subscriber and pre-paid telephony offers and “very rigorous” cost controls, as it renegotiated contracts with suppliers.

Vivo, a joint venture of Portugal Telecom (PTC.LS) and Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC), said net income rose to 215.5 million reais ($94.1 million) from 26.2 million reais in the fourth-quarter of 2007.

For all of 2008, Vivo made a profit of 389.7 million reais, the best year since the company was formed in 2003, compared with losses of 99.8 million reais in 2007.

“Vivo had a few illnesses in its infancy but today it’s growth is healthy,” Lima said in an interview with Reuters.

Vivo added 2.668 million new mobile phone users in the fourth-quarter, bringing its total user base at the end of 2008 to 44.95 million people.

The jump in new wireless clients helped boost sales by 14 percent to 4.27 billion reais in the fourth quarter, Vivo said. Sales for all of 2008 totalled 15.8 billion reais.

Lima said the company’s growth could slow in 2009 but he believed Brazil’s wireless market would continue to expand.

“This is a sector that has been growing in the double digits since its creation. Even if it grows 10 percent, it’s still a fantastic rate,” he said, pointing out that any growth achieved was on the basis of an already large customer base.

He said the company had seen “a small growth” in January this year over the first month of 2008.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 43 percent to 1.39 billion reais from 978.9 million in the final quarter of 2007.

EBITDA as a percentage of sales, a measure of profitability widely followed by analysts, jumped 6.6 percentage points to 32.7 percent in the fourth-quarter.

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Spring Wireless has just established its U.S. headquarters in Seattle. The company is one of the fastest growing ventures in the mobile enterprise space and was originally founded in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2001. It has operations across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Brazilian investment in the USA

Brazilian investment in the USA

“We see great potential in the U.S. market, which has traditionally lagged behind Europe and Latin America in mobility. Spring Wireless has been at the forefront of the mobile explosion in markets outside of the U.S. and we’re excited to support our global customers operations in the U.S.,” said Marcelo Condé, Chief Executive Officer of Spring Wireless. “With more than 220 customers worldwide, we understand the needs of global companies. Our move into North America will help us better serve our U.S. customers and help us extend into new markets as we continue to expand our business globally.”

In August 2008, Goldman Sachs, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Brazilian investment firm, Ideiasnet, invested $66 million in Spring Wireless to fuel its worldwide expansion and help fund future acquisitions. In connection with the financing, Spring Wireless’ Board of Directors has grown to include Raheel Zia, vice president of Goldman Sachs Principal Investment Area, and Patrick Kerins, general partner at NEA.

In addition to its new Board members, Spring Wireless has also named a U.S. management team including Shakil Haroon, who will serve as Spring Wireless USA general manager. Prior to joining Spring Wireless, Haroon spent 10 years at software startups and more than 10 years in sales and management at Intel and Microsoft.

Additionally, Liron Shaked will serve as vice president of business development and corporate marketing and Kelly Malone will serve as vice president of sales for Spring Wireless USA. With more than 12 years of international experience in both corporate and startup environments, Shaked will oversee strategic alliances, global partnerships, channel development and global marketing initiatives for Spring Wireless. Malone, who prior to joining Spring Wireless led the Microsoft sales team responsible for supporting the development, marketing and sales of Motorola smart phones, rugged hand-held computers and set-top-boxes worldwide, will head up U.S. sales.

Spring Wireless has been called the largest and fastest growing company in the mobile enterprise space and was recently identified as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant on Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms. Spring Wireless helps connect businesses, its employees and customers to the information they need, when they need it. The company offers a robust platform, prebuilt applications and critical services, enabling greater interoperability for customers than any of its competitors. It works with more than 180 devices, multiple operating systems and an array of common business applications.

As the single point of contact for its clients, Spring Wireless deploys and manages the devices, software and services companies require to go mobile, removing the need for global companies to seek out multiple vendors in different geographical areas. The company provides a complete solution with faster deployment times and lower total cost of ownership than traditional mobile providers, reducing deployment times by up to 50 percent and total cost of ownership by up to 35 percent in some cases.

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The property market in Brazil has celebrated the news that a new record growth has been achieved, to show that the credit crisis has not reached the South American country. Housing credit has closed 2008 with 299.746 properties financed, the highest number ever and a rise of up to 53% over 2007.  According to ABECIP (Brazilian Association of Property Credit Institutions and Savings Accounts) , total amount of mortgages achieved over US$ 13 billion in 2008, a figure 64% higuer than the previous year. Only in december, total mortgage amount rose 36% in relation to november.

As The Move Channel has reported, as a consequence of the strong economy, prosperity levels are rising fast in Brazil, with sharp increases in housing demand. In just two years, 23 million people have risen to prosperity level C (middle class), which now counts 85 million people. This middle class has a monthly income between two and five times the official minimum wage.

With insufficient first home housing stock to satisfy local demand, Brazil currently has an estimated housing deficit of a minimum of eight million properties.

The middle classes are expected to purchase between 1,000,000 and 1,200,000 units per year until 2015. Fuelling demand further is the fact that for the first time in 25 years mortgages are available to Brazilians.

Mortgages account for only two per cent of GDP in Brazil, versus 65 per cent in the United States and 74 per cent in the UK, so consumers aren’t feeling the effects of credit squeeze. Massive growth in this sector means that domestic mortgages are predicted to increase by up to 600 per cent by 2014.

With this in mind it is clear that the first residence market within Brazil’s regional cities is a major investment opportunity and no region has seen faster growth that the North East.

In Natal for example, a local residential 100 square metre two bed room villa with a secure gated community can cost around 180,000 Reais (around £54,000) and deals can include optional rental guarantees of six per cent for four years and guaranteed buy back agreements from the developer.

As an investor, this means there is an opportunity to invest in well located local property that has a well defined target market and exit strategy, attracting middle class tenants and buyers.

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