Only For Adventurers

Jul 1, 2002

This would seem a good time for shrewd investors to go rummaging for deals in Argentina's corporate bargain basement, but risk still outweighs the promise of reward for all but the most audacious buyers.

The vultures are circling a little lower over Argentina these days, but for most of them it is still too risky to chance a landing. Although hard-bitten private equity investors, vulture fund managers and the odd strategic investor are poking around, few have taken the plunge and bought up Argentine companies so far this year. Even though it is seven months since the government defaulted on $141 billion in debt and then devalued the peso by 65%, the country is still too dangerous for most investors. The outlook is scarcely any more encouraging. President Eduardo Duhalde's grip on power is slipping and a deal with the International Monetary Fund could be some time in coming. GDP could fall between 12% and 25% this year. Social unrest, unemployment, violent crime and hunger are all getting worse. Unemployed workers habitually set up roadblocks in Buenos Aires and around the country. Militants firebomb...

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