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Aureos signs agreement with Costa Rican Exchange

The emerging markets specialist will have preferred access to the Central American nation's junior stock market.

Aureos Capital's Emerge Central America Growth Fund (EMERGE), one of Aureos' three Latin America private equity funds, has signed a cooperation agreement providing preferred access to companies on Costa Rica's junior stock exchange, El Mercado Alternativo para Acciones (MAPA).

EMERGE targets small and medium size enterprises in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, and the Dominican Republic.

MAPA was formed by the main stock market, the Bolsa Nacional de Valores, to provide small and medium size companies access to private capital.

The cooperation agreement put in place is between Aureos and MAPA sponsor Carlos Mora de las Orden. In addition to providing EMERGE with preferred access to MAPA-sponsored companies, Orden will also recommend companies to EMERGE with the understanding that EMERGE will register those companies with MAPA at a later date.

EMERGE fund manager Jose Ulate noted the use of MAPA as an exit opportunity in a statement.

“The Aureos EMERGE fund will not only refer potential companies to MAPA, but it will also be able to invest through it,” Orden said in a statement. “This creates a mutually beneficial relationship which we believe will be valuable to Aureos and help catalyse further investment through the MAPA platform.”

Aureos Capital was established in 2001, when it was formed to take over management of a portfolio of 14 CDC Group funds, and has 25 offices in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, India, China, the Pacific Islands and Central America.

The firms held a first close on $140 million (€94 million) in January for its $300 million Latin America fund. That fund is expected to hold its final close in 2008, and will make investments of between $2 million and $10 million in Mexico, Central America and the Andean region.

Aureos raised the $36.3 million Aureos Central America fund in 2002, and in 2006 was selected by the Inter-American Development Bank to manage the EMERGE's $21 million.

Outside of Latin America, Aureos is raising a $100 million Central Asia fund and a $400 million Africa fund.