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  1. #1
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    [EN] Argentine travel agency Despegar.com raises $332m in US IPO

    Benedict Mander
    2017-09-20

    Interest in Argentine equities is taking off.

    Despegar.com, Latin America’s leading online travel agency, raised $332m when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, selling 12.8m shares at $26, at the top of its $23-26 range.

    Only the third IPO since President Mauricio Macri took office in 2015, more are expected to follow after the sensation that Argentina caused when the sovereign returned to international debt markets last year.

    Despegar.com, which sells airline tickets, travel packages and hotels in 20 countries around the region, is now valued at almost $2bn, dwarfing IPOs by the Argentine bank Grupo Supervielle and confectioner Havanna Holding over a year ago.

    The move firmly marks the company’s place among the select group of Latin American “unicorns”, or tech start-ups that are worth more than $1bn.

    The Expedia of Latin America, which depends on the world’s number two online travel agent for hotel-booking services outside the region, is expected to benefit as Latin America’s economies recover and consumption picks up.

    Expedia, which bought a 16.4 per cent stake in Despegar in 2015 for $270m, was among the selling shareholders, as well as two private equity firms, General Atlantic and Tiger Global Management.

    https://www.ft.com/content/421db8de-...0-297800d21bce

  2. #2
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    Will Argentina IPO Market Roar After Despegar.com Soars?

    The IPO of Argentina travel website Despegar.com Wednesday priced at the top of the suggested price range

    Dimitra DeFotis
    Sept. 20, 2017

    Argentina-based travel-booking website Despegar.com (DESP) raised an estimated $332 million in what could be the first in a slew of IPOs after the country's burst back into the international bond market over the past year.

    Despegar.com offered 12.8 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange that priced at $26, the high end of the offering range, Bloomberg reports. Shares were up 18% Wednesday afternoon to $30.29. The Global X MSCI Argentina exchange-traded fund (ARGT) was down 0.8%. The fund holds 27 stocks, but online retailer Mercado Libre (MELI) accounts for a quarter of assets. There are more than 20 Argentine companies in the IPO pipeline, according to Mauro Staltari, an investment analyst at Highland Capital Management, the bond-focused hedge fund operator based in Dallas, who spoke with Barron's last week. Today's IPO marks the third since President Mauricio Macri took office in late 2015.

    Companies need long-term dollars to invest in future growth after more than a decade under a socialist regime that defaulted on debt. Macri's government resolved lawsuits with holdout investors in defaulted debt, fueling a flurry of bond issues. Argentina has raised more than $50 billion in the bond market since April 2016, including $20 billion in corporate and quasi-sovereign government credit, according to Nomura data.

    Insiders intended to sell a third of Despegar.com shares, Renaissance Capital reported, adding that Morgan Stanley and Citi were lead managers of the offering. From Bloomberg:

    " ... Hedge fund Tiger Global Management, whose biggest long bets include online retail stocks such as Priceline Group (PCLN) and Amazon.com (AMZN), is the top shareholder of Despegar and had a majority ownership in the company prior to the offering. The two other largest holders are online partner Expedia (EXPE). and private equity firm General Atlantic Partners."

    Staltari is a big Argentina bull. For his stock and bond picks, see this week's subscription emerging markets column, "Argentina Makes Progress on Economic Reforms," which addresses the investing potential for Argentina's bond and stock markets.

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/will...ars-1505932642

  3. #3
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    Tiger Global’s Despegar Marks First Argentine IPO of 2017

    Carolina Millan
    September 20, 2017

    Online travel company Despegar.com Corp. met its goal of raising $332 million in the first overseas initial public offering for an Argentine company in more than 16 months.

    The Buenos Aires-based online booking company sold 12.77 million shares at $26, pricing at the top if its range and marking only the third IPO since President Mauricio Macri took office in 2015. The company, which operates under the Despegar brand in most of Latin America and Decolar in Brazil, sells airline tickets, travel packages, hotels and other related products. Shares rose as much as 17 percent to $30.4 per share after opening on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol "DESP."

    Hedge fund Tiger Global Management, whose biggest long bets include online retail stocks such as Priceline Group Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., is the top shareholder of Despegar and had a majority ownership in the company prior to the offering. The two other largest holders are online partner Expedia Inc. and private equity firm General Atlantic Partners. The company’s IPO price gives it a market value of almost $1.8 billion, based on the 67.2 million shares to be outstanding after the offering.

    "One of the reasons we had such great results was that pure tech funds and funds looking for emerging market risk looked at the company, and we saw demand from both," said Damian Scokin, chief executive officer of Despegar, in a phone interview. The sale, which was over 13 times oversubscribed, received demand by long-term equity institutional funds as well as hedge funds, he added.

    Interest in Argentina’s equity market is gaining momentum. Since Macri took office, Grupo Supervielle SA snapped a two-year initial public offering drought in New York and Buenos Aires in May 2016 while confectioner Havanna Holding SA listed locally a month later.

    Other companies are turning to equity markets to raise funds, with Argentina’s three major banks having completed follow-on share sales in New York so far this year. In addition to Despegar, cement company Loma Negra Cia Industrial Argentina SA and agribusiness company Molino Canuelas SACIFIA have filed their intent to sell shares in an IPO with the SEC.

    Consumption Bet

    Despegar’s sale comes amid an economic recovery in the company’s key markets. Brazil and Argentina, which account for 41 percent and 25 percent of company revenues according to the prospectus, are picking up. Brazil’s economic activity in July expanded more than analysts expected, indicating the timid recovery that began in the second quarter continued into the third quarter. Argentina’s economy has also seen an incipient recovery, with the most recent figures showing it grew 3.3 percent in May from a year earlier.

    "This year has been an inflection point in terms of consumption, and all categories are improving -- travel is no exception," Scokin said. "We’re using these funds to focus on financing the growth of our business, hiring more people on our IT team, and to increase amount of hotels, tourist packages and vacation rentals we offer in Latin America."

    The company is not analyzing acquisition opportunities at the moment.

    Despegar will be prioritizing growth in Mexico and Colombia, both in the number of packages it offers and in sales, Scokin said. The company, which focuses on promoting its brand and increasing its products to increase sales, is currently growing fastest in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, he said.

    Latin America online travel bookings are projected to grow 12.5 percent to approximately $47.6 billion by 2020, according to data by Euromonitor International cited in the company’s filing. The company’s sales, or gross bookings, are also forecast to rise by 12 percent in 2017, according to Buenos Aires-based consulting firm Delphos Investment.

    "Investors are seeing the potential in a company that’s exposed to Latin American consumption trends that are going through a cyclical recovery period," said Delphos analyst Manuel Terre by phone. "We expect the company’s gross bookings to grow at attractive rates."

    — With assistance by Alex Barinka

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ne-ipo-of-2017

  4. #4
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    Argentina Bonds: “Vulnerable” to Selling?

    Argentina has flooded the market with bonds after a long hiatus. What's next for returns from a strategist watching the government budget.

    Dimitra DeFotis
    Sept. 13, 2017

    Argentina returned to global capital markets with gusto after the newly-elected market friendly government resolved investor payments on defaulted debt last year, but now the market may be saturated with bonds.

    With an eye on regional elections on Oct. 22, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Sebastian Rondeau, a Latin America fixed income and currency strategist, writes:

    "Argentina's macro outlook has improved materially in the last two months after a pro-reform primary election result and growing optimism about a recovery in Brazil. However, we believe government financial needs will remain elevated in the next two years as a result of the gradual fiscal consolidation strategy. This makes Argentina vulnerable to a reversal in capital flows.

    We estimate gross financial needs of the central government at almost $46 billion in 2018 (about $25 billion of new debt and $21 billion of rollovers). Under certain assumptions this could lead to bond issuance of $12 billion global and $21 billion local. We think the government will not face major problems to cover these financial needs amid a favorable global liquidity backdrop and after the improved outlook for reforms.... The government has covered about 90% of the 2017 revised financial program after the $1.7 billion issuance of the Bopom bond by the end of August. Finance Minister Luis Caputo said at the time that the government could issue an additional $2.65 billion in non-USD global bonds and $1.7 billion-$2 billion in USD local law bonds this year after the elections (22 October). He said they do not plan to pre-finance debt for 2018.

    This leaves between $4.35-4.65 billion additional bond issuance this year, slightly above the $3.7 billion according to plans announced in June, according to our estimates. This assumes no additional peso bond issuance this year. We see some risks of further issuance above this revised program, of up to $2 billion, as the fiscal deficit is seasonally high in 4Q, and as it could make sense to pre-finance high 2018 needs given tight emerging market spreads ...

    ... Despite the controversy of the 100-year bond [issuance], the government has issued substantial amount of short term debt (Letes, repo loans), possibly to reduce average interest payments, taking advantage of initially light maturities in 2018 (no longer true), and to offer a natural alternative to $7 billion of funds declared locally during the tax amnesty. The government will have less scope to issue short term paper as short-term debt stocks are mounting ... "

    The Global X MSCI Argentina exchange-traded fund (ARGT) is up 35% year to date, while the iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF) has returned 30% and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) return is 26%. This year, the iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMB) has returned 9.4%, while the VanEck Vectors Emerging Markets High Yield Bond ETF (HYEM) has returned 7%. All returns quoted reflect total returns, including dividends as applicable, based on FactSet data.

    The topic of bonds comes as Argentina makes headlines for other reasons. Argentine police and leftist protesters clashed earlier this month over the arrest of activist Santiago Maldonado at an Aug. 1 protest supporting Mapuche indigenous people displaced from a Patagonia property by Benetton, the clothing company, the New York Times reported. Maldonado was taken into custody, though his whereabouts were in question. Subsequent violent protests have resulted; the incident conjures up forced disappearance tactics, and deaths, during the country’s dictatorship.

    This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visting Argentina to renew estranged ties with the government, said "Iran’s terrorist networks have an active operation throughout Latin America," the PanAm Post reports. The Jerusalem Post has more on the Shi'a Islamist militant group Hezbollah and its activity emanating from Paraguay into Argentina and Brazil, and U.S. State Department scrutiny of the situation.

    http://www.barrons.com/articles/arge...ing-1505316113

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