- $1 bln from beverage giant, `hundreds of millions' by others
- `We're just getting started' - Argentine President Macri
Argentina’s new president has promised change will come to South America’s second-biggest economy, and investors from Coca-Cola Co. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc are taking his word for it.
One day into President Mauricio Macri’s visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, he secured a $1 billion investment pledge from the beverage giant, and said that Shell, Total SA, Dow Chemical Co. have each pledged to invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the country. The investments come after Macri lifted capital controls that for several years limited the repatriation of dividends for the companies -- all of which currently operate in Argentina.
Macri has vowed to unwind the policies of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s that drove away interest in the country. In his first month in office, Macri has already devalued the peso, lifted most capital controls, revamped the statistics agency, and kicked-off talks with disgruntled creditors from the nation’s 2001 default in a bid to rebuild confidence and investment in Argentina.
When asked as he was leaving dinner if he has an estimate for how much foreign-direct investment may flow into Argentina this year, Macri said, “No. We’re just getting started.”
Muhtar Kent, the chief executive officer of Coca-Cola, met with Macri in Davos, where they discussed investments for developing operational and distribution infrastructure, as well as environmental initiatives and promotion of exercise, according to e-mailed statement from the Argentine government.
When asked in a Bloomberg TV interview if he was investing because of Macri’s ascent to the presidency, Kent said “Partly. We still were going to invest, but nothing like that.”