In for the Long Haul

Jul 1, 2006

Richard Frank, CEO of Darby Overseas Investments, which has taken positions in more than a half-dozen Latin American banks, explains why the segment remains attractive for private equity.

How long has Darby been investing in Latin America's financial sector?The very first investment that Darby made back in 1994 was in Interbank in Peru. And that was when Carlos Rodríguez Pastor, the father who was the minister of finance, with a number of friends and some institutions like ourselves, bought Interbank out of the then-nationalized banking scheme. Since that period, we have invested quite heavily in that sector in almost all the countries in the region. What are the main drivers for Darby's interest? Is it all the same basic reasons that everyone else sees: That consumer credit can only grow, that purchasing power is on the rise, these economies are expanding and they have young demographics?Those would be a starting point, but two other things come to mind. We see the financial services area in Latin America as still underdeveloped and we see the opportunity...

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