(WSJ) Investors may be souring on private equity in Brazil, but the country and surrounding region continue to attract private equity dollars. Private equity and venture capital investment in Latin America expanded by all measures in the first half of 2013, with the region picking up more fundraising dollars, investments, and exits than in the same period in the previous year, according to data from the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association released last week.
Overall, investors in Latin American private equity and venture capital funds raised a total of $3.8 billion, in 36 partially or fully closed funds. That figure is up from $1.89 billion in 10 final or partial closings during the same period a year earlier.
At this rate, Latin American funds may be able to exceed the $5.6 billion that was raised during 2012, but it seems unlikely they will match the $10.3 billion that poured into coffers during 2011. On the deal side, firms committed $2.9 billion, up 5% from the previous year, to 108 deals across the region, according to LAVCA.
The investments in private equity belie a broader flight from public equities in emerging markets as the Fed moves to decelerate its quantitative easing program. And while investor sentiment in both private equity and among public investors is shifting away from Brazil and toward Mexico, Brazil continues to be the dominant country in the region.
“It’s been really entertaining for us to watch the Brazil vs. Mexico story play out in the media. When the growth in Latin America stared accelerating in 2007, Mexico was the last country everyone was looking at,” said Cate Ambrose, president and executive director of LAVCA. That growth has now extended to Mexico thanks to a number of reforms and a resurgent American economy.
While many industry observers have noted that investors in private equity funds are increasingly skeptical of Brazil, it will take time before that wariness manifests itself in fundraising and deal numbers, they said.
“The underlying reality in the private equity industry is that these are not capital flows that get turned around overnight,” said one industry observer.