July 21, 2017 / 11:11 PM / 2 years ago

Big week for Brazil IPOs leaves sweet taste for Carrefour, Biotoscana

SAO PAULO/BOGOTA (Reuters) - The busiest week for initial public offerings in Brazil in four years ended on Friday on an upbeat note for issuers, as a nascent economic recovery and the passage of key economic reforms helped to lure global investors.

A general view of a Carrefour supermarket in Sao Paulo, Brazil July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Grupo Biotoscana SA, a Colombia-based pharmaceutical firm, and shareholders raised 1.34 billion reais ($426.7 million) in a Friday IPO. Three days earlier, the IPO of Brazil’s biggest diversified retailer Grupo Carrefour Brasil SA fetched 5.12 billion reais.

That marked the busiest week for local equity offerings since April 25, 2013, when the IPOs of insurer BB Seguridade Participações SA (BBSE3.SA) and loyalty program Smiles SA raised 12.6 billion reais.

Brazilian stocks .BVSP and its currency BRBY have outperformed Latin American peers in recent weeks as President Michel Temer’s plan to revamp labor regulations cleared Congress before its winter break, suggesting resilient lawmaker support for his reform agenda despite the nation’s political crisis.

“With the labor reform approved and Congress in recess, there’s a window of opportunity for companies looking to seize on demand for Brazilian equities,” said one fund manager who participated in the Carrefour listing.

This week’s successful transactions spell good news for reinsurer IRB Brasil Resseguros SA and renewable power firm Omega Geração SA, whose shares are scheduled to debut on the São Paulo Stock Exchange in coming weeks.

Extending the current wave of offerings hinges, at least in part, on Temer’s ability to garner support for an ambitious pension code reform when Congress returns in August, bankers said.

Bankers said companies seeking to tap local equity markets needed to balance risks and returns as Brazil slowly emerges from recession against the backdrop of escalating corruption allegations against Temer.

Uncertainty has kept many foreign investors - traditionally the main buyers of Brazilian IPOs - on the sidelines.

Foreigners snapped up just 54 percent of Brazilian IPOs this year, prior to this week, compared with the 67 percent over the previous decade, data showed.

However, most buyers in the Biotoscana listing were foreign institutional funds, a person with knowledge of the deal told Reuters, suggesting that uneasiness may be starting to abate.

Investors stung by a string of deals in recent years that failed to deliver promised returns are wary of IPOs in Brazil.

Less than one-third of the 115 IPOs priced since the start of 2007 yielded returns above Brazil’s interbank lending rate, Thomson Reuters data showed.

($1 = 3.1406 Brazilian reais)

Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Tom Brown

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