(WSJ) Just when Brazil suffered a blatant humiliation at the World Cup, one private equity investor is adding another kick.
Abraaj Group, which focuses exclusively on emerging markets, says Mexico is the market to be in right now.
“The private equity industry in Latin America has definitely matured and investors recognize that it’s no longer just about Brazil,” said Abraaj Partner Tom Speechley.
The purchasing power of Mexico’s people is often ignored given its reputation as a manufacturing hub for the U.S., despite the fact that private consumption in the country clocks in at $700 billion annually, said Mr. Speechley.
With that in mind, Abraaj has been investing in consumer-related companies and has scored two exits in as many months.
The latest is the sale of a majority stake in transportation equipment leasing company Analistas de Recursos Globales SAPI de CV, to Docuformas SAPI de CV, a Mexican franchisee of Canadian financial leasing company Liquid Capital.
Abraaj last month sold its minority interest in redIT, a cloud-computing company with offices in Mexico and San Diego, to data center-service provider KIO Networks.
Other investors have been warming to the country.
General Atlantic earlier this year struck its first deal in Mexico, investing in Laboratorios Sanfer S.A., an independent pharmaceutical company. The firm has said it plans to open an office there, adding to its presence in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Swiss investor Partners Group in February bought a majority stake in Mexican gas transportation business Fermaca from New York asset manager Ospraie Management.
According to data from the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, fundraising for Mexico reached $1.04 billion in 2013. That translates to 19% of the region’s total, trailing just behind the $2.34 raised for Brazil, but a marked increase from the $300 million recorded in 2012.
Investments there are still overshadowed by robust activity in Brazil. There were $651 million in buyout and venture capital deals in Mexico last year, compared with $6.03 billion for Brazil in the same period, LAVCA said.