Peru: Morning News Headlines – Thursday, July 5

Peru: Exportation of asparagus has risen 70.6%

(LIP-ir) — Peru’s exportation of asparagus reached the sum of $59.4 mn between January and May of 2007, which shows a 70.6 percent rise in exportation when compared to the same months last year. Among all agricultural products, asparagus has shown the largest growth in exportation in contrast with last year. The main destinations of Peru’s asparagus are France, Spain and the United States. Fresh avocado exportation has also risen, amounting to $19.3 mn between January and May, a rise of 15.7 percent when compared to last year.

Peru: Machu Picchu’s mayor to travel to Lisbon for New 7 Wonders results

The Mayor of Machu Picchu, Edgar Miranda will travel to Lisbon, Portugal to take part in the New 7 Wonders of the World Ceremony, which will name the "New 7 Wonders" this Saturday. The Mayoress of Cusco, Peru, Marina Sequeiros was also invited by Lisbon authorities to take part in Saturday’s ceremony.

Peru’s Pesquera Diamante Launches $165m Financing

Peruvian fishing company Pesquera Diamante has launched a $165m 5-year loan at Libor plus 350bp, via Citi. The deal is being shopped to MLAs. The proceeds are being used to fund acquisitions, much in the same way another fishing company, Copeinca, used the proceeds of a recent $195m Libor plus 350bp loan, to scoop up smaller competitors. Executives close to Diamante, however, say the use of proceeds is very clearly delineated in this deal, unlike their competitor’s financing, which changed course midstream thanks to a series of new purchases, preventing a full syndication of the loan despite earlier plans to do so. (LatinFinance)

Watchdog authorizes Cordillera to convert into bank – Peru

Peru’s financial sector watchdog SBS has authorized Peruvian finance company Financiera Cordillera to convert itself into a bank to be called Banco Ripley, Cordillera told securities regulator Conasev in a filing. Financiera Cordillera is controlled by Chilean retailer Ripley, which runs a banking operation in Chile , also called Banco Ripley. Cordillera ranks second by loans controlling 43% of net loans held by the country’s four finance companies at end-May, based on SBS data.
Banco Ripley will compete with Peru’s 11 private sector banks, with combined assets of 86.0bn soles (US$27.4bn) at end-May. In June, SBS granted a banking license to Spain ‘s Santander (NYSE: STD), which expects to launch operations in the fourth quarter. (BusinessNewsAmericas)

Consumers to choose direct dialing long distance option until Oct 31 – Peru

The Peruvian government has given the public from July 2 until Oct 31 to freely choose a long distance operator to make domestic and international long distance calls through direct dialing, local news service Agencia Andina reported. Though telecoms legislation has always allowed customers to freely choose their operator and set up direct dialing using the 0 prefix for domestic long distance and 00 for international calls, most long distance operators have offered their services through a four-digit dialing code or calling cards. Incumbent Telefónica del Perú (TdP) has been the main operator offering direct dialing through the 0 and 00 prefixes. For that reason, most of the general public believed that direct dialing was only possible through TdP. The four-month period will include an educational program informing consumers about their right to set up direct dialing contracts with any of the 15 existing long distance companies operating in the country. Once the period ends, anyone who has not set up a direct calling contract will only be able to make long distance calls using four-digit prefixes provided by the operator or calling cards. According to local telephony regulator Osiptel, the measure will enable the entry of new operators into the market. Clients that set up direct dialing contracts before October 31 will be allowed to change operator every two-months if they want. According to Liliana Ruiz, a former director of Osiptel and current president of telecoms consultancy Alterna Perú, this measure is aimed at promoting competition in the long distance telephony segment. "I think it is very important the regulator has taken charge of the selection process so the user receives the appropriate information," Ruiz told BNamericas. Ruiz said that among operators offering four-digit prefix and calling card dialing include Impsat Perú, Sitel, Movistar, Gamacom, TdP, Infoductos y Telecomunicaciones del Perú, Nextel, Americatel, Convergia, Telmex (NYSE: TMX), IDT, LD Telecom, Perusat and LA&C Sistemas. (By Juan Pedro Tomás, BusinessNewsAmerica)

Mibanco controlling shareholder sells 6.5% stake to IFC – Peru

ACP Inversiones y Desarrollo, the controlling shareholder of Peruvian microfinance bank Mibanco, has sold 6.5% of the bank to IFC, Mibanco told securities regulator Conasev in a filing. ACP sold 6.4mn common shares, according to the filing. In a previous filing, ACP said it was planning to sell each share at 3.08 soles, valuing the transaction at 19.7mn soles (US$6.30mn). ACP currently owns 60.07% of Mibanco while the rest is in the hands of 18 shareholders, according to another filing. Mibanco, Peru’s third smallest bank, controlled 27% of total microenterprise loans granted by the country’s commercial banks at end-March. (BusinessNewsAmericas)