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Opus’s Brazil Manager Araujo Sells Stake to Start Own Firm

Bernardo Araujo and Eduardo Trigo, former partners at Opus Gestao de Recursos Ltda., left the $1 billion Rio de Janeiro asset management company to start their own stock fund.

Araujo, who managed the Opus Acoes FIA fund for the past four years, brought with him equity analyst Marcelo Moraes to help run Marlin Investimentos, which they founded last month.

At least 31 asset management companies have opened this year in Brazil pushing the total to 462, according to data from research firm Economatica. There were 431 at the end of last year and 371 in 2007. The Opus Acoes fund surged 211 percent last year, making it the fifth best-performer of 3,881 Brazilian funds tracked by Bloomberg.

“The fund has proven to be a success,” said Araujo, from his new office in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio, less than a mile away from Opus’s offices in Ipanema. “Our strategy sometimes is more difficult to understand but, we make sure to invest in companies that will give us the highest returns.”

Marlin Investimentos will likely continue to invest in the same type of companies as Opus, said Araujo. The Opus stock fund’s biggest holdings as of Sept. 30 were port company LLX Logistica SA and oil developer OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, both controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, and IdeiasNet SA, a holding company that invests in technology and Internet ventures.

“There’s a window of opportunity for investments in Brazil,” said Trigo. “We’ve gathered a well-established team in both the private and public equity market and I think we can leverage with the opportunities that are coming.”

They plan to start the stock fund in about a month and also want to invest in private equity, said Trigo, Marlin’s chief operating officer.

Marco Kelson, who for five years coordinated real estate investments for Rio-based AK Holdings, will run the new company’s private equity and financial advisory arm.

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