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Arcor's Bittersweet Success

Sep 1, 2002

With its home country crumpling around it, the Argentine confectionery company Arcor is remarkably solvent, thanks to Luis Pagani, its farsighted president and LatinFinance's CEO of the Year.

The catastrophic mix of economic depression, sovereign default and currency devaluation in Argentina over the last year has leveled the country's banking system and bankrupted thousands of companies. Argentina used to be Latin America's wealthiest, most stylish and sophisticated and it is shocking - even for locals - to see women and young children with pleading eyes, whispering "cambio, cambio" in the streets. Homeless men dig through garbage and push shopping carts around empty nighttime streets in the swanky Puerto Madero district. There are a few companies that have survived January's 70% devaluation but fewer still are prospering amid the misery. Arcor, a Buenos Aires food and candy company, is current on its interest payments (it has only bank loans) and at midyear, was still making a profit. Arcor is even financing clients to prevent them from going out of business. The company is looking after its employees as...

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