Aureos backs Central American advertising

The emerging markets private equity firm has purchased preferred stock in El Salvador-based PL Movil to fund the company’s expansion into Costa Rica.

Aureos Capital’s Emerge Central America Growth Fund made an undisclosed growth investment in Costa Rican outdoor advertising company Publimovil Costa Rica through a purchase of preferred stock.

The investment was made though Publimovil Group subsidiary PL Movil, which was established in El Salvador in 2000 and owns media space throughout Central America. The capital will finance the company’s expansion into Costa Rica and aid in its regional consolidation strategy.

“This investment comes at a time where Costa Rica is finalising its ratification stage for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which will open additional business opportunities,” Aureos partner Jose Ulate said in a statement.

Aureos was selected by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a special fund administered by the Inter-American Development Bank, to manage the $21 million Emerge Central America Growth Fund in 2006. The fund targets small and medium size enterprises in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize and the Dominican Republic.

In May, the fund signed a cooperation agreement providing preferred access to companies on Costa Rica's junior stock exchange, El Mercado Alternativo para Acciones.

Aureos’s previous Central American fund closed on $36.3 million in 2002 and is currently divesting. The firm is currently raising $300 million for its Latin America fund, which held a first close in January on $140 million. The Latin America fund will make investments of between $2 million and $10 million in Mexico, Central America and the Andean region.