Argentina's Puente Looks to 2017 IPO in Steps for Global Reach

  • Company names Emilio Ilac as new CEO, Tomasevich as Chairman
  • Puente will announce new strategic partnership in next month

Puente, an Argentine investment bank and brokerage, is looking to expand its international reach with plans for an initial public offering in 2017.

The company, which seeks to sell a stake of about 20 percent through the IPO, may consider holding the offering in London or New York, company officials said Wednesday. Puente also announced that Emilio Ilac will become its new chief executive officer as predecessor Federico Tomasevich takes on the role of global chairman. 

"In the next three or four years, Argentina will be the star of emerging markets, which will naturally spill over to Paraguay and Uruguay, so we want to consolidate the focus on these countries," Ilac said in an interview. "We’re seeing appetite for Argentina grow in a very aggressive way in Asia and the Middle East, and we want to be the main conduit for institutional investment to the Southern Cone."

Puente looks to benefit from increased investor interest in Argentina after the election of President Mauricio Macri, a market-friendly candidate who has ended currency controls, removed most export taxes and reached a milestone settlement with holdout creditors leftover from the country’s 2001 default in his first three months in office.

Ilac also said he expects a high number of corporate finance deals this year, including deals in mergers and acquisitions and corporate debt sales once a decade-long dispute with creditors is resolved. Tomasevich told reporters that in the next 30 days the company will announce a strategic venture with an international partner.

Ilac, who moves up from his role as co-head of sales and trading, started at Puente in 2009 as assistant to the operations desk of the institutional clients.

The Buenos Aires-based company has offices in Paraguay, Uruguay, Panama and London. In the past year, Puente did investment banking transactions worth over $2.5 billion and handled $15 billion in trading volume. It oversees $3 billion in its wealth management division, Tomasevich said.

"Investment banking in the region had been mostly led by international banks," Ilac said. "We think there’s huge growth potential in investment banking in the region and look to be a leader in this area."

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