International and Regional Players Announce Latin American Restructuring and Infrastructure Investment Plans

Credit Suisse announces restructuring plan in LATAM, infrastructure investment announcements are made in Colombia and Mexico, Mexican retailers expand to Brazil.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group has announced restructuring plans to merge some of its Latin America wealth-management regions. William Dau, former vice president at Blackstone Group and current mayor of the Cartagena, plans to establish a debt fund in the U.S. to raise at least $1 billion to pay for the city’s infrastructure; while in Mexico, the second package of infrastructure investments assembled between the Mexican government and the private sector is worth up to about 200 billion pesos. In the retail sector, Grupo Nós, a joint venture between the Brazilian company Raízen and the Mexican company Femsa, opened the first store of the OXXO retail chain in Brazil. 

Credit Suisse Restructures in Latin America

Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group is merging some of its Latin America wealth-management regions in a restructuring that will shift resources and cut costs in a key growth area for the organization.

Business Times reports that the bank's "Andean" group of clients from Peru to the Caribbean will be split, with some countries reassigned to the Mexico & Central America region, and others being assigned to the South American grouping (excluding Brazil).

The international wealth management unit is targeting gross savings of 80 million Swiss francs (roughly $89.2 million USD) in 2021, although 50 million of those savings are expected to come from asset management: a sector where the bank has begun shuttering funds and laying off employees at its alternative asset business.

According to Business Times, several of the strategies struggled to perform in the volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ex-Blackstone VP Elected Cartagena Mayor Plans $1 Billion Fund

William Dau, Former Vice President at Blackstone Group and current Mayor of Cartagena, is determined to transform the Colombian city. 

At the age of 68, Dau is leveraging his tenure in the finance industry. Leveraging international head hunters to recruit advisers, he plans to establish a debt fund in the U.S. to raise at least $1 billion to pay for infrastructure. 

Drawing on his years in the legal department at GSO Capital Partners (Blackstone’s global credit business, which has $135 billion in assets under management), Dau plans to establish the debt fund to rebuild the seafront boulevard, create a water transportation service and potentially build a new convention center.

“With COVID, we have a new start, a fresh slate[...] I can’t fix Colombia, but I can fix Cartagena,” Dau explained.

Second Mexico Investment Plan Worth up to $10B

The second package of infrastructure investments assembled between the Mexican government and the private sector is worth up to about 200 billion pesos ($10 billion USD), Reuters reports. 

This package follows an initial 297-billion-peso group of investments set out last month and represents a step in the right direction between Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s relationship with business groups.

The planned investments should be worth 170-200 billion pesos, though details are still being finalized. A third private sector investment package could be ready by early February, according to an anonymous source. 

Among the items to be included is one of the biggest privately-funded energy sector projects in Mexico: U.S. company Sempra Energy’s $2 billion liquefied natural gas export plant near the northwestern port of Ensenada, the source added. 


Raízen-Femsa Partnership Opens 1st Mexican Retail Chain Store OXXO in Brazil

Grupo Nós, a joint venture between the Brazilian company Raízen and the Mexican company Femsa, opened the first store of the OXXO retail chain in Brazil on Tuesday (December 1). 

Raízen currently operates convenience stores in the Shell gas station chain in Brazil. According to LABS News, the company’s plans involve opening five OXXO stores in Campinas by December, as part of an effort to expand the chain in other cities in 2021.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, Grupo Nós plans to open 190 own stores of the OXXO and Shell Select brands in the country: a number that should accelerate even more in the following year.

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