Bloomberg News

Compartamos May Seek More Acquisitions in 2012, CEO Says

October 25, 2011

(Adds CEO comment on insurance offer in eighth paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Compartamos SAB Chief Executive Officer Fernando Alvarez Toca said the Mexican microfinance company won’t rule out buying more businesses in 2012.

While the company is focused on integrating Financiera Creditos Arequipa SA, the Peruvian microlender it purchased this year, Compartamos is open to additional acquisitions in countries including Colombia and Brazil, Alvarez Toca said in a telephone interview from Mexico City.

There’s an opportunity “to explore new alternatives, either through acquisitions in different countries or through organic growth,” Alvarez Toca said. “We’re not ruling out either of the two.”

He declined to name possible acquisition targets.

Compartamos, based in Mexico City, paid $63 million for a controlling 83 percent stake in Crear, as the Peruvian bank is known, in its first acquisition after creating a holding company to facilitate expansion. The lender says its business of providing financing to low-income rural populations will attract customers in other Latin American countries where access to banks remains limited.

Within Mexico, Alvarez Toca said the company may expand its product offerings next year to include insurance coverage against natural disasters.

Hurricane Coverage

“In some parts of Mexico, people are hit year after year by rains, by hurricanes,” he said. “We know there’s demand for this type of products. A family that has been hit in the past by an event like this knows what it’s like to start from zero.”

Earlier this month, Hurricane Jova struck the Mexican Pacific coast near Manzanillo, bringing heavy rain that caused landslides and wiped out homes. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Rina is nearing Category 3 strength over the Caribbean on a track toward resorts on the country’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Separately, Alvarez Toca said his company may follow billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB in offering mobile banking to its clients as soon as the end of next year.

America Movil is teaming with Citigroup Inc.’s Banamex unit to offer a mobile payment service in Mexico, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj said Oct. 7 during an event in Mexico City.

“Transactions by cellular phone are in Compartamos’s future,” Alvarez Toca said. “Mobile phones mean incredible opportunities for bringing convenient products to our clients.”

--Editors: Glenn Kalinoski, Shiyin Chen

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan J. Levin in Mexico City at jlevin20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net


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