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Global Investors bullish on latin america’s newer PE markets

  • One third of existing investors (LPs) are accelerating their commitments to Latin American PE

  • LPs see the most attractive risk/return profile for PE in Mexico, Peru and Colombia

  • Over half of investors in Latin American PE expect net returns of 16%+

  • However, political climate, dealflow and entry valuations have grown more challenging since 2012

  • There are significant differences in the target industry sectors of international and domestic PE investors

Investors believe the overall risk/return equation for Latin American private equity (PE) is improving, though conditions in Brazil are more challenging, according to the annual Coller Capital/LAVCA Latin American Private Equity Survey. According to LPs, the risk-return equation is improving in Mexico, Peru and Colombia – more than half of LPs say these countries will provide very attractive markets for investment in the next two years.

This upbeat assessment is reflected in investors’ return expectations: more than half (56%) of domestic and international investors expect net annual returns of 16% or higher from Latin American PE overall. Almost three quarters of LPs expect their private equity commitments in Mexico, Peru and Colombia to deliver annual net returns of 16%+, and half of LPs expect this level of return from Brazil and Chile.

In consequence, over a third (35%) of existing investors expect to accelerate their new fund commitments to Latin American PE. Mexico-focused funds in particular are set to boom. Just 15% of investors with Latin American PE exposure currently have commitments to Mexico-specific PE funds; within three years 39% of LPs expect to have Mexico-focused commitments.

While Latin America’s overall growth story remains highly attractive to private equity investors – even compared with other emerging markets – LPs believe challenges have grown since last year, particularly in terms of the region’s political climate, dealflow and entry valuations.

For Coller Capital, Erwin Roex commented: “These findings are a strong endorsement of the private equity opportunities in Latin America. Despite economic challenges in individual markets, the region retains its attractiveness to both domestic and international LPs, and this is reflected in very strong return expectations. The newer PE markets of Mexico, Peru and Colombia are seen as particularly exciting.”

LAVCA President Cate Ambrose said: “The survey results demonstrate that LP views on the region continue to evolve. Over time, investors are reaching a more sophisticated understanding of the opportunity that Latin America presents. The findings point to confidence in the mid- to long-term expectations for PE markets across the region.”

Promising industry sectors for Latin American PE investment

There is a marked difference in how domestically-based and international investors see the attractiveness of individual industry sectors in Latin America. Far more Latin American LPs see good PE opportunities in manufacturing/logistics and real estate, while international LPs find the oil and gas sector particularly attractive. Domestic and international LPs agree that the consumer goods and retail sectors will be very attractive for PE investment over the next three years.

How investors access Latin American private equity

Few LPs (just 10%) employ consultants or gatekeepers to help them access Latin American PE. Pan-regional funds remain the most popular method of accessing Latin American PE for both domestic and international investors: 59% of LPs currently invest this way, and 70% of investors expect to be doing so within three years.

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