IPOs were unusually plentiful in Latin America last year. Nearly a dozen companies went public in São Paulo, Santiago and Mexico City - the region's three main financial centers. But Brazil, which saw seven initial public offerings that raised $1.68 billion, produced the region's two best. Natura Cosméticos launched a $248 million IPO in May 2004, and low-cost airline Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes followed a month later with a $281 million equity transaction. The two share LatinFinance's Best Equity Deal of the Year award.
Few of the outstanding equity deals for 2004 fell into the traditional "banks and rocks" sectors - financial institutions and commodity industries like steel and mining - that dominate Latin American stock markets. Instead, Natura and Gol have set the stage for future IPOs that offer investors a chance to diversify their portfolios. Gol is the first Brazilian IPO...
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