Luxottica to Acquire Brazilian Óticas Carol for € 110 million

Loja Óticas Carol

The Italian company Luxottica, largest company in the world for glasses, will buy Óticas Carol for € 110 million (R$ 368.6 million). The agreement was signed with the partners of the Brazilian company 3i Group, Neuberger Berman and Siguler Guff & Company, and depends on the approval of the Administrative Council of Economic Defense (Cade) to be concluded. Ronaldo Pereira, president of Óticas Carol, said that the request for approval will be sent to Cade in the coming days. The expectation is to complete the purchase this semester.

The acquisition is the first move by the Italian group since the global acquisition two weeks ago of France’s Essilor International for € 46.3 billion. This operation gives rise to the largest global company of glasses and lenses, with market share of 32% in the world and 28.3% in Brazil, according to Euromonitor International.

The purchase of Óticas Carol in Brazil will lead Luxottica to the leadership in the optical market as well. Óticas Carol has 950 stores in operation in the country and closed 2016 with revenues of R$ 813.7 million, a result 21.4% higher than in 2015. Its market share is 2.3%, according to Euromonitor International .

In a statement, the president of Luxottica, Leonardo Del Vecchio, said the company will verticalize its operation in Brazil with the purchase. Overall, Luxottica has 12 optical networks and a total of 7,400 stores in operation on five continents. From January to September 2016, the company’s retail revenue grew 5.7% to € 3.297 billion and accounted for 81% of total revenue. Total revenue in the period rose 0.2% to € 4.085 billion.

In the Brazilian retail market, Luxottica entered in 2011 with the Sunglass Hut network, which reached 100 stores in the country in 2016, being 73 own units and 27 franchises. The goal was to reach 200 units in five years. “Luxottica has a major retail operation in the international market, but faced difficulties in Brazil to grow in this area, due to the complexity of the sector,” Pereira said.

Óticas Carol president added that with the purchase, the retailer gains a more robust structure to carry out its expansion plan. For 2017, Óticas Carol aims to open 175 franchise stores and reach a revenue of R$ 918 million. Pereira said that this goal can be changed in the coming months, depending on the definitions that Luxottica takes on the network.

Asked about the maintenance of two optical retail chains in the country, Luxottica reported that “Óticas Carol has proved to be efficient and effective in the market” and that “it is too early to discuss the future of Sunglass Hut, since the acquisition still needs Be approved by Cade. ”

The Brazilian optical market is very pulverized, with approximately 26 thousand companies in the country, according to the Brazilian Optical Industry Association (Abióptica). In addition to Óticas Carol, Óculos Diniz is among the leaders, with more than 900 stores, followed by Chilli Beans, with just over 700 units. The other networks have less than 100 stores.

For the president of the Abioptica, Bento Alcoforado, the acquisition will have limited effect in the sector. “Even if Óticas Carol opens another 150 stores this year, it will continue with a very small portion of the market,” said Alcoforado. He considers it possible to see new acquisitions in the sector throughout the year, as the Brazilian economy shows signs of improvement. Last year, the sector shrank 17% in revenues, to R$ 16.9 billion.

The deal between Luxottica and Óticas Carol took about a year. As part of the agreement, the contracts of Ronaldo Pereira and the directors of the retailer were renewed for another three years. Luxottica will continue to provide its frames and lenses to other retail chains in addition to Óticas Carol in the country.

Brazilian Government Announces Economic Package with 12 Measures

President Michel Temer announced on Thursday (15) a new economic package with measures to stimulate the economy. Also taking part in the announcement were the house or representative’s president, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), Senate’s President Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles and the Minister of Planning, Dyogo Oliveira.

Temer started the announcement saying that the goal is to stimulate growth and reduce unemployment. Before announcing the measures officially, the president commented on the approval of the PEC 241, which limits spending increases for the next 20 years, approved on Wednesday.

According to Temer, “these reforms aim to increase the growth of the Brazilian economy. We never ignored the difficulties that we would have when we took over the government, but we are succeeding in advancing these topics.”

Despite being positive for the economy, these 12 measures are seen as a desperate way to try and deviate the attention from the corruption investigations that are currently hitting Temer’s government right in the core. In any case, the measures are positive. To them:

Tax Debt Negotiation

Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles was responsible for giving more details on each of the measures. The first provides for tax debt negotiation for companies with debts due through November 30. Meirelles said that “any tax debt” is eligible, including social security. For debts that are being questioned in the Court, it is necessary to prove the desistance of the lawsuits.

“The program allows tax negotiations for companies that are preparing to grow again, as macroeconomic adjustment is under way,” said Meirelles.

Guaranteed Property Letter

Another measure, according to Meirelles, is the regulation of the “Letra Imobiliária Garantida”, an instrument of funding for real estate credit. The objective is to broaden the supply of long-term credit for civil construction.

Meirelles said that this type of bond, being both secure and long-term, is an “important alternative source for real estate lending and increases the supply of long-term lending to the industry.” This measure will have to go through public consultation and then be regulated by the National Monetary Council (CMN).

Improvement in the “positive register”

Meirelles also announced the improvement of the positive credit rating, which allows the creditor to analyze the person’s history. Membership becomes automatic, and exclusion has to be requested. The goal is to reduce credit risk and make room for lower interest rates for good payers.

Credit measures

Meirelles says another measure is to allow price differentiation according to the mode of payment. Such a change allows retailers to charge different prices depending on the payment mode used, ie different prices if the customer pays cash or credit card, which is currently prohibited by law. He recalled that it is common for stores to give discounts for purchases made in cash, but not the same on credit cards.

Reduction of card interest

Another measure presented by Meirelles is the reduction of interest rates on the credit card charged to the consumer and the term of payment to the merchant. The minister says the regulation should be submitted within 10 days.

Bank spread

According to the finance minister, the government is also proposing the creation of the electronic duplicate with the objective of reducing the so-called “spread” of the banks (difference between the rate of funding, close to the basic rate of the economy, at 13.75%/ year today, and the rate charged to bank customers).

“We want to create a central registry of duplicates, credit card receivables and allow the granting of credit with a lower guarantee, which increases the security for creditors and the supply of credit for small and medium-sized enterprises, with lower interest rates. “, he said.

Reduction of bureaucracy

On the issue of de-bureaucratization, Meirelles says that they will simplify the payment of labor, social security and tax obligations through a system called eSocial. The objective is to reduce the time spent by companies to fill declarations, forms and books and the redundancy of information provided to the tax authorities. The deadline for implementation in all companies would be July 2018.

Refund of taxes

Another proposal is to simplify the procedures for restitution and compensation of the taxes administered by Receita (Brazilian IRS), including the compensation between the social security contribution and other taxes.

Business Start-up

Meirelles says another measure will reduce the time to open ventures. A national network for simplifying the registration and legalization of companies and businesses will be implemented.

Competitiveness

The government also announced measures to speed up purchases and sales in foreign trade. According to Minister Meirelles, a single web-accessible portal will be created to forward all documents and data required for business transactions with other countries.

“The idea is to cut import and export procedures by 40 percent”, he said. The implementation period for exports is until March 2017 and for purchases from abroad until the end of next year.

BNDES

Following this, the Minister of Planning, Dyogo Henrique de Oliveira, spoke about other measures. The first deals with the increase from R$ 90 million to R$ 300 million the limit to access the BNDES credit for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Companies with up to R$ 300 million in revenues can also renegotiate debts of operations of up to R$ 20 million with the BNDES. Therefore, companies can seek cheaper interest rates, based on the Long-Term Interest Rate (currently at 7.5% per year).

According to him, the total volume of refinancing is estimated at R$ 100 billion, which will “increase the liquidity of companies”.  “Today, companies are suffering from a great deal of liquidity,” said the Planning Minister.

For large companies, with revenues above R$ 300 million per year, operations included in the Investment Support Program (PSI) may be refinanced. “These refinanced amounts will be with BNDES’ own resources, but with funds with TJLP (Long-Term Interest Rate) funding, with a lower cost”, he said.

FGTS

Another measure announced is the distribution of half of the profits in the FGTS to the workers. “That is to say, when there are profits, part of them will continue to be deposited and the other half will be made available to the worker to pay debts or make a different use”, he said.

Still on the FGTS, he announced the gradual reduction of the additional fine of 10% – which is paid by employers at the time of dismissal of employees, on top of the 40% that goes to employees. According to him, the idea is to reduce that 10% at the rate of one percentage point a year to relieve the entrepreneurs.

Nubank captures US$ 80 million in round led by DST Global

Startup credit card issuer Nubank finalized on Wednesday a US$ 80 million fund-raising, equivalent to approximately R$ 276 million. The investment round was led by the DST Global fund, in its first investment in South America, and also had the participation of Redpoint Ventures and Ribbit Capital funds.

Nubank is a fintech company and the first “online-only” credit card issuer in Brazil. 

This is Nubank’s fifth investment round since it was launched in September 2014. Until then, investor contributions to the company amounted to $ 99 million, mostly international funds specializing in technology companies, as well as a line of Goldman Sachs’ R$ 300 million loan. In the fourth round of contributions, in January this year, NuBank received $52 million in investment led by the Founders Fund, one of Facebook’s first investors.

Nubank does not disclose the number of credit cards issued or the financial volume of its base transactions. According to the company, since its foundation, about seven million orders have been made for a Nubank card. In the middle of this year, he said that orders were close to R$ 3.5 million.

According to a statement sent by Nubank, the funds raised will be used to accelerate growth and investments in technology infrastructure.

JBS Announces That Its Subsidiary JBS Foods Plans to Conduct a Registered IPO In the U.S.

JBS S.A. (“JBS” or the “Company”), in a further step towards advancing its planned reorganization, announces that its Board of Directors today unanimously approved the filing of a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) of its subsidiary JBS Foods International B.V. (which shall be converted into JBS Foods International N.V.) (“JBSFI”) in connection with its plan to conduct an initial public offering (“IPO”) on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) for its Class A common shares.JBSFI has its official seat and registered office address in The Netherlands and shall house all of the international businesses of JBS plus Seara. JBS S.A. will continue to manage and control the Brazilian beef business and related activities including leather processing.

Wesley Mendonça Batista will be the Chairman, a non-executive director, of JBS Foods International. The Board of Directors of JBSFI will be composed of nine members, the majority of whom will be independent. Gilberto Tomazoni, who has held senior executive positions at JBS for the past four years, will be the CEO, while Russ Colaco will be CFO. The Company believes that this revised structure and proposed IPO reflects its global production platform, product portfolio and broad international customer base.

The Company expects to complete the IPO during the first half of 2017. The timing, number of Class A common shares and price of the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

This notice does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities, and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of that jurisdiction.

With regard to this material fact, the management of JBS S.A. will conduct a conference call with analysts and investors tomorrow, December 06, 2016 at 10:00am (BRT) in Portuguese and 12:00pm (BRT) in English

Car rental company Movida can raise up to US$ 300 million with IPO

Car rental company Movida is expected to carry out an initial IPO that could reach between R$ 800 million and R$ 1 billion, according to preliminary estimates from people close to the deal.The funds raised with the transaction, which is still pending approval by the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), will be pocketed by both JSL logistics company, Movida’s parent company and the company itself.

This is the second IPO request from a vehicle rental company in Brazil this week. Two days ago, Unidas also expressed the interest of opening to the stock market.

In its third quarter financial statements, Movida reported net income of R$ 13.5 million and revenue of R$ 498.7 million. The company also had negative net working capital of R$ 607.5 million – short-term resources lower than the short-term liabilities. According to Movida, this is due to the investment plan made by the company in the opening of new units and in the expansion and renewal of the fleet.

Itaú to buy Citibank Brazil for US$ 220 million 

Itaú has agreed to pay R$ 710 million (approximately US$ 220 million) for the retail operations of Citibank in Brazil. The transaction was announced this morning. Citi primarily serves high-income customers and has 315,000 account holders in the country.
In the acquisition, Itaú acquired loan portfolio, credit cards, deposits, asset management, insurance brokerage and the 71 branches that Citi has today in the main regions of the country. That is R$ 35 billion in deposits and assets under management, 1.1 million credit cards issued and a credit portfolio of R$ 6 billion reais. After the acquisition, Itaú Unibanco will have R$ 1.404 trillion in assets.

The acquisition still needs to receive the approval of the Central Bank and CADE (Administrative Council for Economic Defense)

Citibank joins HSBC in retreating from Brazil. HSBC announced at the end of 2015 that it sold its Brazilian operations to Bradesco. In a deal already approved by anti-trust authorities,  Bradesco acquired HSBC and brought their assets closer to Itaú, largest private-controlled bank in Brazil, by that metric. HSBC was a lot bigger than Citi in Brazil, but today’s acquisition shows Itaú is not willing to let this largest label go.

Itaú has a 5-star rating from Easy Brazil Investing and continues to be a great way to play the Brazilian economic recovery.

Magnesita merger with Austrian RHI creates global giant in the industry

In an operation that creates a global leading company in the refractories market, mainly used in the steel industry, Brazil’s Magnesita, the third largest manufacturer in the world in this sector, merged their businesses to the Austrian giant RHI, based in Vienna. With the merger of assets, it is formed RHI Magnesita, which will have an annual revenue of approximately € 2.7 billion (R $ 9.8 billion).

The new company, which will have dispersed control, in line with the current profile of RHI, will have its shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. The corporate headquarters will be established in the Netherlands and the Austrian company stocks will be de-listed from the Vienna stock exchange.

Brazilian Economy shrinks 0.51% in May, according to the Central Bank

The Brazilian economy has not confirmed the brief improvement in April. The Economic Activity Index Central Bank (IBC-Br) fell 0.51% in May, after growing 0.07% in April (revised), which was the first increase in 15 months. In the year, the decline was a significant 5.79%.

In the 12 months ending in May, the IBC-Br indicates a decrease of 5.43% in the series without adjustment and 5.51% in the adjusted data. Due to the constant indicator review, the IBC-Br measured for 12 months is more stable than the monthly measurement. Compared with May 2015, there was a low of 4.91% in the series without adjustment and 5.32% with adjustment.

The results came worse than expected by the market players. The average of forecasts made by 21 financial institutions suggested a decrease of 0.24% in the month. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 0.9% and increase of 0.1% for the monthly variation.

In the June Inflation Report, the central bank projected a drop of 3.3% in the GDP for 2016, against the previous forecast of a 3.5% decline. Analysts consulted for making the Focus Bulletin also point to a decrease of 3.3% for the Brazilian economy this year.

EWZ: Ibovespa has its best semester since 2009 and US$ drops 18.6% versus the Brazilian Real

Brazilian’s most traded stock ETF in the US, EWZ soared 46.5% in the same 6 months:

EWZ-6-Months

In the beginning of the year, the perspective for the Brazilian market was not good with the country in recession and inflation sky rocketing. However, in the middle of February, the inflection started fueled by a global recover in commodities prices and an improvement in the expectations for the economic policies, which became known as the impeachment rally.

Besides, the downside event of the semester, the Brexit, was followed by an unexpected help which were the speculations that central banks all over the world will stimulate their economies to face market volatility. On Friday, the president of England’s central bank, Mark Carney, said that the growth in the UK will slow down in the next months and additional interest rate cuts and other measures of monetary ease will be necessary.

Sure, Brazil is not out of the woods yet and the new government still has lots to do to recover the economy. However, the better economic climate has started to translate into improvements in the confidence:

Consumer and Industry Confidence in Brazil

Besides the more favorable political environment, what is also helping in this confidence growth is the fact that some economic indicators are improving, albeit still very bad: IBC-Br, Industry and Services.

Brazilian Retail Sales up 0.5% MoM in April

Brazilian retail sales volume in April increased 0.5% MoM but fell 6.7% YoY, both worse than market expectations, according to IBGE (Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics). Although in the monthly comparison, most of the sectors have recorded an increase, it was not enough to reverse the downwards trajectory, still visible in the annual comparison of past months. 

Therefore, we continue with a negative bias to the sector’s performance in 2016, we do not know when sales will have the strength to reverse the negative trend, given:

  • The uncertain political scenario, which makes difficult the turnaround on the confidence and economic growth. 
  • Rising unemployment Rate
  • Low and expensive offer of credit

On the other hand, we have signs that the worst may be behind, since the decrease in retail sales in January was 10.3% YoY

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