LATIN AMERICA IN BRIEF

Acquisitions in Latin America are still heavily dominated by strategic players. Of the 10 largest transactions announced in the first three quarters of 2008, only one involved a private equity buyer, according to data from Mergermarket. In February, French private equity firm AXA Private Equity agreed to purchase Mexican insurer Seguros from ING for $1.5 billion.

FRESH COMMITMENTS
Brazilian alternative asset manager Gavea Investimentos will invest up to $150 million in Brazilian sugar ethanol company Cosan. The controlling shareholder of Cosan, ethanol billionaire Rubens Ometto Silveira Mello, will invest an additional $50 million. Cosan has announced plans to build new mills, expand existing mills and invest in energy generation and logistics in Brazil.

Conduit Capital Partners, a US-based private equity firm focused on infrastructure investment and development in Latin America, has acquired a 50 percent stake in GLEP Energias Renováveis e Participações in a deal valued at over $50 million. The acquisition of GLEP, a Brazil-based company that develops and holds interests in small hydroelectric projects, was made through the $393 million Latin Power III Fund.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation has approved commitments to three new Latin American private equity funds: $150 million to th e Grey lock Latin America Opportunity Fund; $150 million to Conduit Capital Partners' Latin Power and Infrastructure IV fund; and $50 million to Altra Private Equity IV. The three funds are targeting a total of $1.45 billion in commitments.

The Multilateral Investment Fund, a unit of the Inter-American Development Bank, is committing $5 million to the Colombia Opportunity Fund managed by Andes Capital. The fund, one of the first venture funds in Colombia, is targeting a total of $30 million for investments in small companies throughout the country.

EXPANDING HORIZONS
Boston-based private equity real estate firm Taurus Investment Holdings is opening an office in Lima, Peru, a country that has one of the fastest growing real estate development markets in the world according to the firm. Keith Rapp, a Lima-based former financial consultant, is heading up the Peruvian business as managing partner.

Mexico-based social venture fund Ignia has launched Ignia Shared Services, an in-house company dedicated to back office support. The company is geared towards streamlining administrative operations, systems and procedures in Ignia portfolio companies. The company is located in the firm's Monterrey, Mexico office and may in future expand its services to clients outside the Ignia portfolio.

Brazilian alternative asset manager Patria Investments has closed its third Brazilian private equity fund on $700 million. The fund will target opportunities in Brazil related to the consumer market and basic infrastructure. Park Hill Group and Forum Capital Partners served as placement agents.

Emerging markets investor Aureos Capital has made its first investment in Colombia participating in the ãmanagement buyout of vehicle and machinery rental company Rentandes alongside portfolio company Financiera Arrendadora Cent roamer icana. The Aureos Colombia Fund held a first closing with $35.8 million in commitments from Colombian pension funds and insurance companies.

Washington, DC-based Paladin Capital Group, a homeland securityfocused private equity firm, led a financing of more than $1 billion to launch Brazilian ethanol producer Vital Renewable Energy. São Paulo-based Vision Brazil Investments, AIM-listed Leaf Clean Energy, an investment fund of Benelux broker Petercam Asset Management and US-based PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund also participated.

General At lant ic has made a “strategic minority investment” in Brazilian healthcare insurance group Qualicorp. The amount and terms of the investment were undisclosed. Qualicorp, which provides brokerage and benefits administration services, is made up of Qualicorp Corretora de Seguos, Access Clube de Benefícios and Access Administração e Serviços.

GP Investments, the publicly listed São Paulo private equity firm, has held a first closing for its fifth private equi ty fund on $884 million including GP's commitment of $500 million and commitments from Fund IV limited partners. The firm reported a revenue loss of $254.6 million in the third quarter of 2008.