Chef Acurio brings Peru's food boom to the poor

In a tucked away neighborhood in a dirt poor part north of Lima, Peru's capital, a school started by an elite chef is training students from humble backgrounds in the skilled art of Peruvian cuisine.

Like its economy, Peru's culinary community is exploding, and chef Gaston Acurio says people from all walks of life should have a chance to take part.

"On the one hand, we have a booming food culture ... and on the other hand, we have youth without opportunity. The school is meant to bring the two hands together," said Acurio, who runs the school and dozens of successful restaurants all over the world.

Though trained in Spain and France, Acurio is best known inside Peru for combining classic European techniques with typical ingredients in the Andean country, and for telling Peruvians their cuisine is world-class. Plates in his restaurants reflect the country's desert coast, frigid mountains and sweltering jungle, while appealing to people with different size wallets.

Students at the cooking school in Pachacutec are encouraged to experiment while being taught to make the classics.

"For us, it is the best school in Peru. The cooks that will graduate from here already have contracts with the best restaurants. They are fighting over students," Acurio told Reuters at a food festival in Lima this week.

His top-end flagship restaurant is Astrid y Gaston, now with branches in Lima, Santiago, Caracas, Bogota, Quito and Madrid. Acurio has two middle-range chains, Tanta, an urban classic, and La Mar, a ceviche restaurant with kitchens in Lima, Mexico City, Santiago and soon, in San Francisco. And he has a fast-food chain called Pasquale Hermanos, which serves criollo dishes like fried pork skin on bread.

Students at the school pay roughly 60 soles ($20.20) a month to attend classes taught by some of the country's most prominent chefs. Private companies also make contributions and students, like Cesar Raul Toribio, help clean to cut costs.

Toribio lives near the school and pays for his classes by hopping on public buses to play music and ask for donations.

He spoke as his teacher poured over the texture of his causa - a typical Peruvian dish made from mashed potatoes, aji pepper, lime, vegetables and fish.

"My idea is to work five years at a good restaurant where I can learn and gain enough experience to be able to open my own place," Toribio said.

Publication: Andina - English Newswire
Provider: Andina
Date: September 30, 2008


San Isidro to gain more office space

The Triple-A office-space market in San Isidro, Peru, is attracting ever greater investment. Yesterday, the family Martinez (shareholders in Pesquera Hayduk) and the brothers Kulenkampff, owners of the site measuring 7,000 square metres that is to be used, announced investment of US$70mil in the project Plaza Republica.

The Martinezes and the Kulenkampffs will put up two tower-blocks of 19 storeys apiece plus underground parking for 1,500 cars, explains Rafael Florez-Estrada, director-general of Binswanger, the property development group the two families have brought on board for consultancy purposes.

The building on the site already, home mainly to town-council space, will be demolished. Nextel has already signed up for office-space in tower one, already 45% reserved and set to open in March 2010 (at which point tower two will go under construction).

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: September 29, 2008


Brazil Petrobras May Participate in Peru Pipeline Expansion - Petroperu

A possible alliance between Peru's state-owned company Petroperu and Brazil's federal oil giant Petrobras could participate in infrastructure projects in Peru such as the expansion of the oil pipeline Oleoducto Norperuano, Petroperu's president, Cesar Gutierrez, projected on September 18, 02008.

The alliance has been proposed by the Peruvian President Alan Garcia at the opening of Peru-Brazilian forum ExpoPeru 2008 in Sao Paulo, southeastern Brazil, on September 18.

The companies are interested to ally on the expansion of Oleoducto Norperuano, which will allow to produce heavy crude oil close to Andoas, in the Peruvian northern region of Loreto, Gutierrez explained.

The alliance between the two companies could also participate in an expansion of Peru's Bayovar port terminal to increase its oil storage capacity.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 19, 2008


T-Copia shows graphic strength

The graphic-arts industry is enjoying a successful period in Peru, set to post sectorial sales of almost US$750mil in 2008, a rise over year 2007's US$600mil. Jose Francisco Hidalgo, marketing director at T-Copia, states that big companies from home and abroad are attracted to the sector now but that for now there is space for everyone. In 2007, his firm posted a turnover of US$4mil; for 2008, from its independent operations, it should post US$6mil plus another US$2mil from franchises such as Office 1. T-Copia wants a chain of 50 shops across Peru as of 2010 when at present it operates 18, 16 of which are in Lima. It also wants to internationalise more; currently, it operates solely in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

RIL, China firm team wins Peru gas lot

Puno is located in the south eastern region of the country. Lima, Sep. 18 (ANDINA).- Reliance Industries has for the first time teamed up with China's CNPC to win a gas block in Peru in an effort by the Mukesh Ambani-run company to expand its presence in Latin America.

Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, along with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Argentina's Pluspetrol last week won rights to explore for gas in Block 155, in the southern highland department of Puno, next to the border with Bolivia, industry sources said.

Meanwhile, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd teamed with up Enigma Oil and Gas Exploration (Pty) Ltd to win onshore blocks 147, 159 and 153 in Peru's 2008 bidding round that auctioned 17 new oil and gas blocks.

Reliance-CNPC-Pluspetrol offered royalty of 24.58 per cent to Peruvian government while Jinda-Enigma offered 30.02 to 32.03 per cent royalty, sources said.

Peru had originally offered 22 oil and gas lots, but received bids for only 17.

Reliance has, since April this year, steadily increased its presence in the Latin American nation. On June 29, it acquired 10 per cent stake in Lot 39 in northern Peru from Burligton Resources Inc.

In May, it had teamed up with Woodside Petroleum to acquire 50 per cent in Block 108 in Peru from Pluspetrol Energy SA. Of the 50 per cent stake acquired, Reliance got 30 per cent, while Woodside Petroleum got 20 per cent. Pluspetrol Energy will retain the remaining 50 per cent stake.

The company also acquired 90 per cent stake in Block 141 in Peru from Pan Andean Resources Plc in April this year.

Publication: Andina - English Newswire
Provider: Andina
Date: September 18, 2008


Colombian ISA To Invest $550 Mln in Transmission in Peru

Colombian electricity group Interconexion Electrica SA (ISA) projects to invest nearly $550 mln (380 mln euro) in new electricity transmission infrastructure in Peru over the next four years, the managing director of ISA's local subsidiary Red de Energia del Peru (REP), Carlos Ariel Naranjo said on September 8, 2008.

REP has recently presented to the Peruvian Energy and Mines Ministry a plan for electricity transmission projects, due to be developed over the next 10 years. The plan includes the construction of a 500 kV line between Chimbote and Trujillo, and another line of 220 kV between Trujillo and Cajamarca, all in the northern part of the country.

The new lines are necessary amid the expansion of the local mining sector, Naranjo explained.

REP will focus on northern Peru, as the electricity demand in the southern part of the country will be guaranteed by several ongoing projects.

On September 8, ISA signed a 30-year concession contract for the construction and operation of the 94 km Chilca-La Planicie-Zapallal line. ISA won the concession on June 17.

Besides REP, ISA is present in Peru's power transmission sector through TransMantaro and ISA Peru.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: September 9, 2008

Egenor to bring Carhuaquero expansion online in October, Flores in 2010

Peruvian generator Duke Energy Egenor aims to begin expanded operations of its Carhuaquero hydroelectric plant in October, according to company adjunct general manager Mark Hoffmann.

Plant capacity will increase by 5.7MW to 112MW, state news agency Andina quoted Hoffmann as saying.

Carhuaquero began operations in 1991 and is in Cajamarca region.

The executive also announced that operations of the 170-197MW Las Flores thermo project are planned to begin in 2010.

The project's equipment has been purchased, Hoffmann said. The plant will be built in Chilca south of capital Lima.

The energy and mines ministry's energy environmental affairs department (DGAAE) has approved Flores' EIS and a US$95mn leasing contract has been signed with Banco de Crédito to finance construction.

The generator already operates the 263MW Cañon del Pato hydro plant and six thermo plants that total 144MW.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 8, 2008


19 bidders presented offers for 17 hydrocarbons blocks tender

Some 19 bidders, including enterprises and consortiums, presented Monday their technical and economic offers for 17 hydrocarbons blocks in the framework of the international bidding process organized by Perupetro, to be held on Wednesday.

The general manager of Perupetro, Ronald Egúsquiza, reported that 58 companies have sent their intention letters to take part in the next tender. Only 44 bidders have pre-qualified to continue the process, and only 19 sent their intention letters today.

In addition, 17 of 22 blocks incorporated to the bidding process have received offers, which means that investors are interested in 85 percent of these blocks.

He said that most of the interested companies were from India, such as Jindall Steel, Reliance Industries and Global Steel Holdings.

He stated that block 149, located at the Marañón basisn and close to the area of heavy crude oil, was the most demanded. Five enterprises were interested in it.

Publication: Andina - English Newswire
Provider: Andina
Date: September 9, 2008


California investors eye Peru's dairy & biodiesel sectors

A group of businesspeople of the Greater San José Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GSJHCC) in California, USA, is planning to invest 33 million dollars in Peru's dairy, manufacturing and biodiesel sectors, its executive director Carlos Figueroa announced today.

Figueroa explained that the San José Hispanic Chamber of Commerce invests in profitable projects in a joint effort with other companies.

He said the GSJHCC is interested in building a dairy plant, through a joint venture, which will require an investment of between 12 and 15 million dollars.

"In this occasion, we have met with stockbreeders from Trujillo (La Libertad), and then we will visit Arequipa because in one of these cities we plan to build the plant", he told Andina news agency.

The Greater San José Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GSJHCC) is a democratic, open, transparent, membership-driven, entrepreneurial organization committed to serving the needs of the varied business community in the San Jose Area.

Publication: Andina - English Newswire
Provider: Andina
Date: September 5, 2008


Cementos Lima flexes unused muscles in front of Cemex

The cement sector in Peru is dominated by six players, Cementos Lima, Pacasmayo, Andino, Yura, Sur and Selva. The most important of the six is Cementos Lima (with its Sol and Atlas brands): the group boasted 38.2% of the year-2007 market nationally, according to the local Asociacion de Productores de Cemento, selling 2.57 million m tons, almost twice as much as Pacasmayo, the second leading firm.

Cementos Lima, aged 92, has its brands distributed by La Viga, a firm which notes that the majority of sales are for home-building, the vast majority sold in 42.5-kilo bags. Lima had recourse to an advertising agency for the first time just last year, asking Mayo to transform generic products into brands. In 2007, Cementos Yura, the fourth player in the industry with a 15.9% market share, invested just US$469 in advertising (on one magazine advert). Lima spent almost 1,000 times more as it prepared for battle with Latinamerican Trading, the name behind which Cemex of Mexico has entered the market.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: September 5, 2008


Clinica Internacional expanding again

Clinica Internacional, owned by Grupo Brescia, acquired Clinica San Lucas in 2006 and is now keen on further expansion to become the health-centre group with the largest capacity and the best infrastructure in all Peru, says its commercial director Pedro Chavez-Cabello. Clinica Internacional is to open what it calls a new medical centre in 2010 at a Grupo Brescia mall in Lima. It is also growing San Lucas at a cost of US$7mil this year, adding a building and a new floor for the existing building. Chavez-Cabello is hoping for a turnover of US$48mil, a rise of 18% over 2007, from its four existing medicentros in San Isidro, Surco, San Borja and Huaraz.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: August 21, 2008


Six consortiums interested in Paita port concession, to be awarded October 22

Peru's state agency for the promotion of private investment ProInversión announced that six private consortiums are interested in the Paita port concession, in Piura region, state news agency Andina reported.

The concession will be awarded on October 22 and it is the only port concession that will be awarded this year, according to ProInversión executive director David Lemor.

Pisco port (Ica region) and the fluvial port of Yurimaguas (Loreto) will be awarded in the first half of 2009.

"In the Yurimaguas port, there is a strong will on behalf of the authorities and the local population to hand it over in concession," Lemor was quoted as saying by Andina.

Yurimaguas is different to other concessions as the terminal needs to be built in a different location.

Lemor said the delay in awarding Pisco port was not ProInversión's responsibility and that the transport and communications ministry announced the delay due to certain problems in the process.

Pisco port was affected by an earthquake in August 2007 and has an insurance claim for damage. The amount to be paid has not yet been established, Lemor said.

He added that it has still not been decided whether the insurance claim will be part of the concession process, as it could be used to improve the financial attractiveness of the project.

"It would not make much sense to receive an insurance compensation and make repairs that might be modified later by the concessionaire," Lemor said.

Previously, deputy transport minister Carlos Puga said that the concession of the fluvial ports Pucallpa (in Ucayali) and Iquitos (Loreto) would be awarded in the first quarter of 2009.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 2, 2008


Mibanco shareholders agree to raise up to US$15mn via IPO

Shareholders of Peruvian microfinance lender Mibanco agreed to raise up to 45mn soles (US$15.5mn) via an IPO, the bank told securities regulator Conasev in filing.

Funds will be raised through a public offer of shares and American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).

The shares will be class B, which have no voting rights, the filing said.

Mibanco reported 2.194bn soles in assets and equity of 209mn soles as of June 30, 2008, according to financial sector regulator SBS.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 1, 2008