Miami-based 777 Partners has backed USD11.3m purchase of Greensill Capital’s unit in Latin America OmniLatAm in its bankruptcy estate. OmniLatAm is the first 777′ private equity investment in a Latin American fintech.
(Bloomberg) Greensill Capital’s former managers in Latin America bought back the bankrupt U.K. company’s unit in the region and plan to expand the operation.
The purchase, which was backed by the investment firm 777 Partners, includes assets in Colombia and Chile, the new company’s chief executive officer, Diego Caicedo, said in a video interview from Bogota. The buyers paid $11.3 million to Greensill’s bankruptcy estate, he said.
The new firm will be called OmniLatam, the name of the Bogota-based fintech Caicedo and his partner Andres Abumohor founded in 2018. Greensill purchased it last June, just eight months before the London-based company filed for administration in the U.K. after a stunning collapse that shook the global financial community. Greensill’s parent company went into liquidation in April.
“We were all surprised by what happened to Greensill, it was scary for everybody, but we are responsible for 200 employees and our priority is to preserve everything we built,” Caicedo said.
The management buyout doesn’t include an offshore loan book to Mexican and Brazilian companies or a newly created Brazil-based entity, which had planned to start operating in June. OmniLatam will start from scratch in Brazil, and is seeking acquisition opportunities, Caicedo said.
“Brazil is going to be a big part of our expansion strategy moving forward, and we are looking for the best local team,” he said, adding that the goal is to be in the country’s local markets by the end of the year.
The firm is negotiating with Samuel Canineu, Greensill’s former Brazil country head, to lead the expansion into Latin America’s biggest economy, according to Caicedo.
Based in Miami, 777 Partners has more than $5 billion in assets under management. OmniLatam is its first private equity investment in a Latin American fintech.
OmniLatam provides digital working-capital products to small and midsize businesses. It collects data such as invoices and tax forms to help make credit decisions based on the prospective borrower’s clients, sales and employees. In 2020, after its acquisition by Greensill, it was able to offer $800 million in loans, compared with $150 million in 2019, Caicedo said.
The company’s portfolio reached $43 million in March, up 27% from a year earlier.
Greensill’s team in Latin America was able to hold on to all its clients during the turmoil, and even continued to grow in Chile and Colombia, Caicedo said. Total lending in March jumped more than 10% from the previous month to a record $22 million. The firm has 188 employees and plans to add 75 to 100 jobs by the end of 2021, according to the CEO.
The Covid pandemic and political unrest in Latin America create opportunities for growth for OmniLatam, because of the lack of capital available to smaller companies, said Abumohor, who is OmniLatam’s chief operating officer.
“Being able to separate small and middle-sized companies with good credit from the ones with bigger risks is a huge advantage in tougher times, and that is what our technology enables us to do,” Abumohor said. “Clients need more help now than ever.”