(Darby) August 30, 2010 – Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd. (“Darby”), the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, announced that its second financial services fund, Darby-ProBanco Fund II, L.P. (the “Fund”), acquired a substantial minority equity stake in Controladora Vertice, S.A. de C.V. (“Controladora Vertice” or the “Company”). The investment increases Controladora Vertice’s capital base by approximately 50% and will be used to boost the balance sheet of its subsidiary Hipotecaria Vertice, S.A. de C.V., SOFOM, ENR (“Hipotecaria Vertice”) in anticipation of growth opportunities in the Mexican housing finance market.
This Darby investment will support Vertice’s efforts to expand access to housing finance for economically active participants in Mexico not affiliated with the government sponsored entities (Infonavit and Fovissste), who constitute a major source of growth in the Mexican economy.
The Company, through its principal subsidiary, Hipotecaria Vertice, is a leading mid-sized Sociedad Financiera de Objeto Multiple (Sofom). It provides construction finance to residential real estate developers, as well as mortgages to home-buyers in the low and middle income sectors. The Company has successfully taken advantage of the growth of various capital markets funding options in Mexico, in order to securitize and finance its residential mortgage assets.
Mexico’s housing finance sector, including the lower-income segment, is characterized by strong fundamentals. However, the country still has a housing deficit of approximately 750,000 new homes per year. Experts estimate a need to finance 20 million homes by 2020. Most of this deficit is concentrated among economically active workers not affiliated with government sponsored mortgage entities, who are expected to account for a large percentage of the demand for housing in the coming years. The current cumulative housing deficit is estimated at over 8 million homes, of which more than 5 million homes are required for non-affiliated workers.
Alejandro Schwedhelm, Darby’s managing director responsible for Darby-ProBanco Fund II, said: “The Company is well positioned to take advantage of the recovery of the Mexican housing sector. We are attracted to the Company’s excellent management, strong market position, and financial products offering. We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with Controladora Vertice, and look forward to working together on the further development of the Company in this new phase of its successful history.”
Samuel Suchowiecky, chairman and CEO of Controladora Vertice, said: “The equity investment by Darby will allow the Company to continue its prudent growth and adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances in the housing finance sector. The Company is prepared for the recovery of the housing sector in Mexico, and we anticipate that it will expand business as one of the stronger specialized financial entities in Mexico. The Vertice Group has the necessary management, systems and financial strength to take advantage of opportunities and to successfully adapt to the changing regulatory environment. We look forward to capitalizing the Company’s position as prospects for growth materialize.”
Controladora Vertice is the third investment for Darby-ProBanco Fund II, adding to Darby’s long history of investments in the financial sector. The Fund’s existing portfolio companies include Banco Multiple Leon in the Dominican Republic and Unity Group Holdings Corp., an insurance brokerage firm servicing the Central America region. Other past investments include: Grupo Financiero Banorte, one of the major commercial banks in Mexico, Interbank in Peru, Merchant Bankers Asociados (MBA – Lazard) in Argentina, Groupo Financiero Improsa in Costa Rica, Corporacion Interfin in Costa Rica and Union de Bancos Cuscatlan, a leading bank in Central America.
Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd. was founded in 1994 by The Honorable Nicholas F. Brady, who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury between 1988 and 1993. Richard Frank joined the firm as CEO in 1997 after his career at the IFC, World Bank. In 2003, Darby became a fully owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc., a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. For more information please visit darbyoverseas.com.
Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary Trust, Darby and Bissett investment teams. The San Mateo, CA-based company has more than 60 years of investment experience and over US$602 billion under management as of July 31, 2010. For more information, please visit franklintempleton.com.