Mexican Banco Azteca To Open 85 Branches in Brazil, Argentina, Peru

Mexican bank Banco Azteca plans to open 85 branches in Brazil, Argentina and Peru by the end of 2008, the bank announced on September 27, 2007.

Banco Azteca is a unit of Mexican retail chain Grupo Elektra.

In fact Banco Azteca will start operation in Brazil, Argentina and Peru with the opening of the 85 branches.

Banco Azteca also plans to expand its presence in the markets of Panama, Guatemala and Honduras.

Banco Azteca currently has a network of 1,450 branches in Mexico.

The bank was set up in Mexico at the end of 2002, with the objective to provide consumer credits to low-income Mexicans who shop at Elektra stores and have little access to loans. Banco Azteca opened its first branch outside Mexico in Panama, on March 1, 2005.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 28, 2007

Peru's Electricity Output Up 9.7 Pct Y/Y Aug 2007

Peru's electricity production stood at 2,366 GWh in August 2007, up 9.7 pct year-on-year, the Energy Ministry reported on September 27.

Hydropower utilities generated 60.6 pct of the total electricity production. Other 33 pct corresponded to natural gas-fueled plants, and 2.5 pct and 3.9 pct to residual fuels and coal facilities, respectively.

Peru's electricity generation from natural gas rose by 45.8 pct to 755.4 GWh. The natural gas demand for electricity production reached 206.8 million cu m, up 36.1 pct.

Peruvian state-owned electric power generation company Electroperu produced 623,439 MWh, up 0.4 pct. The output of the private utility Edegel SA increased by 40 pct to 587,115 MWh.

The total electricity sales in the country rose by 8.8 pct to 2,028 GWh in August 2007.

The electricity sales in Peru totalled 22,290 GWh in 2006, the ministry reminded. The industry concentrated 54 pct of the sales in the past year, the commercial sector and services had a share of 21 pct, while the residential demand represented 24 pct.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 28, 2007


Investment in Peru Coaster, Bus Assembling Seen At $5.0 Bln 2008-2012

The assembling of 20,000 coasters and buses for the public transport sector in Peru is expected to attract investments of a total $5.0 bln (3.528 bln euro) in the next five years, the general manager of Peruvian heavy vehicle company Motores Diesel Andinos SA (Modasa), Hector Garcia projected on September 26, 2007.

The Peruvian motor vehicle assembling market is estimated to post a combined revenue of $50 mln (35.3 mln euro) in 2007. expects to be responsible for $20 mln(14.1 mln euro) of the total, Garcia said.

(www.modasa.com.pe) launched natural gas-fueled buses on September 26. The company has also expanded its Ate-Vitarte plant in the province of Lima with an investment of $4.5 mln (3.2 mln euro).

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 27, 2007

Ferrocarril Transandino eyes RR extension project

Peruvian rail concessionaire Ferrocarril Transandino, which runs the railway connecting colonial city Cuzco to the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, will request authorization to extend the line to the Santa Teresa area, local paper Gestión reported.

The company has already met with officials from the regional government of Cuzco, as well as with authorities from Peru's transport and communications ministry (MTC) to discuss the project, Ferrocarril Transandino's general manager Rómulo Guidino was quoted as saying.

The extension would total about 7km and would also include the construction of a bridge over the Vilcanota river.

If approved, the company would invest the canon of 37.3% of income that it currently pays to the state in the construction of the extended railway until the investment is recovered.

Company officials are currently working on a proposal to submit to MTC, said Guidino.

Ferrocarril Transandino is in charge of the maintenance and administration of the rail system and its rolling stock. The company is also associated with operator PeruRail to provide service.

The company further handles the Línea del Sur rail system, which connects cities Matarani/Mollendo-Arequipa-Juliaca/Puno-Cuzco, totaling some 800km.

Last year, the company and PeruRail were awarded a 10-year contract to transport minerals from the mining company Cerro Verde to the Matarani port using a bimodal transport system, consisting of trucks and rails.

Officials are currently evaluating the possibility of expanding the service to other mining companies such as Tintaya, said Guidino, adding that the use of a rail system is not only more efficient and cheaper, but also helps reduce traffic on local highways.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 26, 2007


Backus Plans $250 Mln Investments 2007-2008

Peruvian beer producer Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus & Johnston SA plans $250 mln (176.8 mln euro) investments in 2007 and 2008, aimed basically at buying modern equipment, general manager Roberto Priday said on September 25, 2007.

With the investments Backus seeks to increase its production and distribution capacity.

With the new allocation, the total investments made by the company in the period since 2005 when it passed under the control of UK-South African brewer SABMiller, will reach $500 mln (353.6 mln euro).

Backus has recently invested $12 mln (8.5 mln euro) to renew the equipment in its beer plant near Motupe, in the western Lambayeque region.

[Editor's note: SABMiller announced on January 18, 2007 plans to invest $1.8 bln (1.273 bln euro) in expansion in South America between 2007 to 2011, encouraged by the rising sales in the region. The company will initially focus on expansion in Colombia and Peru.]

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 26, 2007

Barrett evaluating offers to partner on block 67

US oil firm Barrett Resources is evaluating offers from companies interested in becoming a strategic partner for block 67 in Peru, according to company corporate affairs director Fernando Deustua.
Barrett has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs as financial advisor for this process, state news agency Andina quoted Deustua as saying.

Development of block 67 to produce 100,000b/d of heavy crude starting in 2011 will require investment of US$1.6bn. The block is in the Marañón basin in Loreto department. Barrett will continue to operate the block.

A data room has been prepared that companies can access by signing a confidentiality agreement, Deustua said.

Barrett's principal partner Citigroup and multilateral lenders such as the World Bank will help finance part of the US$1.6bn, he added.

In related news, Barrett asked the energy and mines ministry to expedite approval of the EIS to carry out seismic work at the block.

"We have expressed our concern to the ministry and expect approval this week," Deustua said.

Barrett's timetable calls for starting seismic and basic engineering work on October 15.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 26, 2007 (21:08)


BBVA pays US$7.5mn for 55.7% stake in microlender

The 162,008 shares four investors held in Peruvian microlender CajaSur have been transferred to Fundación BBVA para las Microfinanzas at 141.41 soles each, CajaSur told securities regulator Conasev in a filing.
The number of shares is equivalent to a 55.7% stake in CajaSur, for which BBVA's foundation paid 22.9mn soles (US$7.50mn).

The sale agreement was signed last February, the filing said.

Fundación BBVA para las Microfinanzas is the non-profit microfinance arm of Spain's BBVA (NYSE: BBV), which promotes access to financial services for low-income groups by taking controlling stakes in microfinance institutions.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 25, 2007


Volcán proposes 16% capital increase, dividends

Peruvian zinc miner Volcán has proposed a capital increase equivalent to 16% of its shares worth roughly 120mn soles (US$38.4mn), the company reported to securities regulator Conasev.
The company was not immediately available for comment on the purpose of the funds that will be raised from the issue of some 166mn shares.

The miner also informed it has proposed to issue a dividend of 0.10 soles for each A common shares and 0.105 soles per B share amounting to a total of 107mn soles.

Volcán is one of the world's largest zinc producers with the Yauli, Cerro de Pasco and Vinchos operations in central Peru. The company sold 449,550t of zinc concentrates in 2006.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 24, 2007 (21:07)

Cementos Pacasmayo invests USD 150 mln

Cement manufacturer Cementos Pacasmayo plans to expand production to meet the demand of the construction market. According to its general manager, Lino Abram Caballerino the company is studying a project to expand capacity of Portland cement in Pacasmayo (La Libertad). The project will demand investments of USD 150 million until 2011. In 2007, the company already invested USD 40 million for the same purpose. Cementos Pacasmayo is a subsidiary of Hochschild group. BIS - Business Information Systems

Publication: BIS - Business Information Systems
Provider: Business Information Systems
Date: September 24, 2007


PSEG Global Enters Into Agreement to Sell Electroandes

PSEG Global, a subsidiary of PSEG, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its ownership of Electroandes, a hydro-electric generation company in Peru, to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Statkraft Norfund Power Invest (SN Power) of Norway. The purchase price will total approximately $390 million, including the assumption of $106 million of debt, and closing is expected in October of this year.

"Electroandes is a strong company in an attractive market with dedicated employees. We are selling Electroandes as part of PSEG's announced strategy of opportunistically monetizing its international assets at attractive prices. We are pleased that we were able to make the sale to a company with an excellent reputation, significant experience in hydro-electric power operations and a strong environmental focus," said Matthew McGrath, president, PSEG Global.

PSEG indicated that the sale is expected to result in an after-tax gain which will be recorded in Discontinued Operations. After-tax net cash proceeds, including dividends paid prior to closing, are expected to total $215 to $225 million.

JP Morgan acted as financial advisor to PSEG on the transaction.

Electroandes owns and operates four hydro-generation plants with total capacity of 180 megawatts, 437 miles of electric transmission lines, and has a number of growth initiatives. It is located in the central Andean region of Peru.

SN Power is a growing international renewable energy company that develops, owns and operates hydro power projects and plants in emerging markets. The company is owned by Statkraft and Norfund. Statkraft is a Norwegian state-owned renewable energy company and northern Europe's largest generator of hydroelectric power, operating 91 hydropower stations with 42 TWh of annual generation. Norfund is a leading Norwegian risk capital investor in emerging markets with funding from the Government of Norway.

PSEG Global owns and operates electric generation plants in the US and in selective other countries as well as electric distribution companies in South America. PSEG Global's US investment includes 100 percent ownership in two 1,000-mw electric generation plants in Texas, and partial ownership of smaller plants in California, Hawaii and New Hampshire. PSEG Global is a subsidiary of PSEG Energy Holdings and an indirect subsidiary of PSEG . PSEG is a diversified energy company based in Newark, New Jersey.

Publication: PR Newswire
Provider: PR Newswire
Date: September 19, 2007

Motorola launches Mototrbo system in Peru

Motorola has launched its Mototrbo two-way digital radio system in Peru. The system integrates voice and data communications, and is customised to meet the needs of each customer. The system incorporates digital technology into two-way analogue radios. The system allows for the supply of advanced solutions and applications for professional communications. Mototrbo also offers localisation services via a GPS receiver and text messages between equipment on the network and between this equipment and other devices such as cellphones, PDAs and PCs.

Publication: Telecom.paper News
Provider: Telecom.paper
Date: September 19, 2007

Peru Hoteles Jose Antonio To Invest $8.0 Mln in Four-Star Hotel

Peruvian hotel chain Hoteles Jose Antonio will invest $8.0 mln (5.7 mln euro) in the construction of a four-star hotel, located in Miraflores district, Lima province, Peruvian daily Andina said on September 18, 2007.

This will be the third hotel the company will have in Miraflores. The initiative corresponds with the company's policy not to renovate old buildings but to start from the beginning.

The construction works will start in November or December, 2008, after the company opens its hotel in the Puno department, southern Peru. It is estimated to be finished in 2010, company's sales director, Cecilia Barrera, said.

The Puno hotel is located on the shore of the Titicaca lake. Its construction also required an $8.0 mln investment. The hotel is expected to be officially opened on March 12, 2008.

At present Hoteles Jose Antonio runs two hotels in Lima, and a 126-room hotel in Cusco, northeast from the Puno department. The three are all four-star hotels.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 19, 2007


Peruvian Yura Plans $85 Mln Investment for 2007-2009

Peruvian cement company Yura will invest $85 mln (61 mln euro) in increasing its clinker output by more than twice over the period 2007 to 2009, Yura said on September 11, 2007.

Yura will increase the annual capacity of its clinker production line to 1.2 million tonnes, up from the current 590,000 tonnes. Thus the company will consolidate its position in the national industry.

Over the period 2005 to 2006 invested $28 mln (20 mln euro) in equipment acquisition and improvement of its environmental control systems. It increased its cement grinding capacity with the installation of a vertical roller mill of German capital goods maker Loesche GmbH. It renewed its quality management system certificate ISO 9001:2000 and the environmental certificate ISO 14001:2004.

Yura is part of Peruvian industrial conglomerate Grupo Gloria SA (www.grupogloria.com.pe). Yura produces and sells cement, ready mixed concrete and aggregates, and lime. It supplies products principally to the construction and mining industries.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 12, 2007


Peru opens international tender to build new gas pipeline

The Peruvian government has opened an international tender for the construction of a gas pipeline in the Ica region. The result will be known in January of next year, when the proposals of the interested companies will be opened.

Steel Business Briefing learns from the government that the successful company will be responsible for the design, construction and operation of the pipeline, which will transport gas from Pisco city to Marcona, a distance of some 240 km.

The local longs steelmaker Aceros Arequipa and the iron ore producer Shougang Hierro Peru have already stated their interest in obtaining a supply of gas. Arequipa plans to use it for a new DRI plant, which is planned to be constructed from the next year, Shougang wants to change from oil to natural gas the fuel used at its beneficiation process, as previously reported.

SBB learns that the energy companies Transportadora de Gas del Perú, Suez Energy and Promigas are interested in participating in the tender. The pipeline is due to be commissioned in 2009 and will require an investment of US$70m.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: September 10, 2007


Peruvian Wood Sector Posts 117 Pct Y/Y Surge in Exports Jan-July 2007

The Peruvian wood sector posted a 117 pct year-on-year surge in exports in the period January to July 2007 to $98.06 mln (71.7 mln euro), Lima Chamber of Commerce (CCL) said on September 4, 2007.

The principal foreign market of Peruvian wood sector was the USA, with $37.34 mln (27 mln euro), up 84 pct. Mexico ranked second major destination of Peruvian wood exports with $29.86 mln (21.8 mln euro), surging 127 pct from the first seven months of 2006.

Sawn or chipped wood was the best-exported product with a 59.3 pct share in the total exports of the wood sector in the first seven months of 2007. Sawn or chipped wood exports jumped 92.56 pct to $58.14 mln (42.5 mln euro).

Other furniture and parts concentrated an 8.82 pct share in exports. Peruvian wood sector saw a 14 pct rise in the exports of other furniture and parts to $8.65 mln (6.3 mln euro).

(Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures/comparisons are for Jan-July 2007/Jan-July 2006.)

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 6, 2007

U.S. Hunt Oil To Explore Peruvian Block 102

U.S. energy group Hunt Oil bought the 43.75 pct stake in the contract for exploration and exploitation of the Peruvian Block 102 in the Maranon Basin in Loreto region, northern Peru, of U.S. oil and gas exploration and development company Shona Energy, Hunt Oil CEO, Carlos del Solar, said on September 4, 2007.

Hunt Oil will explore Block 102 in partnership with U.S. contractors Ramshorn International and Andean Oil and Gas. The entrance of Hunt Oil in the partnership entails a modification of the exploration contract signed with the Government of Peru and requires the approval of Peru's state oil sector promotion agency Perupetro.

Ramshorn International, Shona Energy International and Andean Oil and Gas were awarded a 30-year oil concession and a 40-year gas concession for Block 102 in December 2005. Under the modified contract, Hunt Oil and Ramshorn will have a 43.75 pct stake each in the concession, and Andean Oil and Gas will have the remaining 12.5 pct.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 6, 2007