Suape to start receiving New Panamax vessels

The Port of Suape, in Pernambuco, will start receiving New Panamax container vessels, the largest that can currently cross the Panama Canal. The New Panamax ships have the largest dimension available in Latin America – 366 meters long, 52 meters wide and capacity for about 14,000 TEUs (measure equivalent to a 20-foot container). State-owned and the largest port in the Northeast of Brazil in container transport, Suape multiplied its net profit by five in 2020, compared to 2019, to R$57 million. The local government expects new investments in the area thanks to the arrival of the new ships.

Source: Valor international

Ethanol sales rise sharply in South region

Ethanol sales by mills in Brazil’s Center-South region – both for direct filling into vehicle tanks and for blending with gasoline – were twice as high in March as in the same month last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). The increase occurred despite the surge in coronavirus cases in the country in March at much more alarming levels than a year ago and new measures to restrict circulation in several municipalities. The mills sold 2.412 billion liters last month, more than twice as much as in March 2020 (1.113 billion liters), according to data released Tuesday by the Union of Sugarcane Industries (Unica). Compared to February, hydrous ethanol sales in March had a 4% reduction.

Source: Valor international

Minerva raises R$1.6bn to pay short-term debt

Minerva Foods raised R$1.6 billion through the issuance of Certificates of Agribusiness Receivables (CRAs), in two series. Of the total, R$1.2 billion mature in seven years and the remainder in ten, according to a source. The company will use the funds to pay debts abroad with shorter maturity. BTG coordinated the operation, with participation of Itaú, Bradesco and XP. In December, Minerva’s leverage ratio was 2.4 times. Gross debt totaled R$11.5 billion with 45% due in 2026, and much of which was now extended. 

Source: Valor international

Companies move to buy leftover vaccines from U.S.

Brazilian business leaders connected to the movement United for the Vaccine are working with embassies to buy leftover vaccines from the United States and Canada, where inoculation campaigns are much more advanced.

The expectation is that doses may arrive to the country starting late May. The group is acting with maximum discretion not to offend the federal government, whose management of the pandemic is highly criticized. Representatives linked to the movement have already spoken with the American ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, and the team of Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a source who asked not to be identified. In a parallel move, executives from American multinationals based in Brazil sent a letter to U.S. officials asking them to put the country in the priority list for the acquisition of extra doses of vaccines.

This initiative is led by Whirlpool and includes companies like Microsoft, Google, Cargill, IBM and GE.

Source: Valor international

Oi accepts BTG’s bid for fiber-optic assets

Phone carrier Oi said Monday it accepted a binding offer of R$12.93 billion submitted by funds from BTG Pactual and subsea cable systems company Globenet Cabos Submarinos for its fiber optic assets, gathered at the specific purpose company InfraCo.

The auction should take place in 60 days, as part of the phone operator’s judicial reorganization process. As preferred bidders, the funds will be able to counter superior offers that appear in the auction by adding more than 1% to the competing bid.

Source: Valor International

Real estate financing may set new record in 2021

Housing credit is expected to set a new record this year, despite the pandemic and the beginning of a new cycle of interest rates hikes. According to projections from the Brazilian Association of Real Estate Credit and Savings (Abecip), new housing loans may close 2021 with a volume of R$160 billion, up 27% from 2020, the best year in the sector. Housing credit last year increased 57.5% compared with 2019.

Source: Valor international


Aperam invests to upgrade special steel lines

Steel multinational Aperam will invest R$243.6 million in Brazil this year to expand and modernize its production capacity. The investments will be made in the industrial unit in Timoteo, Minas Gerais, with resources from the company’s cash reserves, CEO in Brazil, Frederico Ayres Lima, says. Stainless steel is the flagship product and will receive the largest portion of the funds – R$90.6 million – to upgrade technology and increase productivity. The production of “green steel” will receive R$72 million.

Source: Valor International

Globo to use Google’s cloud, AI technology

Globo and Google closed a seven-year agreement through which the Brazilian group – the largest communications group in Latin America – will use all the resources of Google Cloud, the cloud division of the American tech company. Globo will migrate 100% of its data center to Google’s cloud and will use technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to create new digital products. In addition, Globo’s streaming service Globoplay will be integrated to televisions that use Google’s Android TV system. The alliance is yet another step in Globo’s strategy to become a mediatech company to reach consumers directly.

Source: Valor International

Agrotech Agrosmart goes shopping to expand fast

Startup Agrosmart, specialized in agricultural solutions, bought Argentine BoosterAgro, owner of a leading agrometeorology applications in Latin America. With the agreement, the Brazilian company expands its current base from 4,000 users and 800,000 hectares of land served to 100,000 active users and about 48 million hectares across nine countries. “BoosterAgro is the largest digital agribusiness platform in Latin America because it is a free, entry-level product, but it will offer us a huge user base and allow us to expand our service hub very quickly,” Agrosmart CEO Mariana Vasconcelos says. The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but came out of Agrosmart’s cash reserves as the firm raised $8.8 million in two investment rounds since 2015. Bank Bradesco and investment fund manager SP Ventures are the main partners.

Source: Valor International

Raízen starts sugar crop with R$345m in new equipment

Raízen, a joint venture between Cosan and Royal Dutch Shell, spent R$345 million to start the new sugar crop with 509 new pieces of equipment and trucks to serve about one third of its own sugarcane area, which amounts to 350,000 hectares. With new technologies, the company expects to reduce diesel consumption in 2 million liters per year. Fuel is the company’s main cost component and represents around 25% of operating expenses. The new fleet includes 125 semi-autonomous Mercedes trucks specifically designed to operate between the cane cultivation lines.

Source: Valor International