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Global News Latin America & Caribbean Jamaica urged to enhance transparency Tackling governance issues swiftly and forcefully is necessary to enhance transparency and accountability in Jamaica, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The executive board of the IMF, in its fifth review of Jamaica’s performance, concluded the country fares relatively poorly on corruption-correlated measures and public corporate governance. The IMF wants new regulations to ensure a transparent and competency-based process for

board appointments to public bodies’ boards. In May, the World Bank announced a new $140million financing package to help promote ‘growth, jobs and resilience for Jamaica’. The Bank said that for Jamaica to ‘continue to grow and prosper, it needs to develop the skills for the workforce of tomorrow, especially in the areas of technology and digitalisation’.

Neoenergia unveils IPO plan Brazilian electric utility Neoenergia has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Novo Mercado — a special listing segment of the Sao Paulo’s stock exchange — after gaining both shareholder and board approval. Iberdrola, which holds a 52.45 per cent stake in Neoenergia, said the listing would take place in the first half of this year. In 2017, Neoenergia backed out of an IPO at the last moment citing market conditions as pricing fell short of the expectations of its Brazilian shareholders. According to Reuters, shareholders expect a higher valuation now, as Neoenergia’s results have improved since a merger with smaller rival Elektro in June 2017.

Banks push for green lending in LATAM Interest for green deals has started to pick up in Latin America, according to bankers and investors in the region, who warn that data and technology costs remain a barrier to understanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment. According to a Reuters report, banks active in Latin America have earmarked potential green loans for corporate borrowers, which seek to advance ESG criteria. Only two companies have raised green loans in Latin America so far. Spanish utility Iberdrola raised $400million for its Mexican subsidiary

and Peruvian conglomerate Ferreycorp signed a $70million loan with BBVA. Jorge González-Jacob, global head of corporate loans at BBVA, told Reuters: “Green loans are not a pure debt instrument, there is an opportunity to combine investment with advisory services. There is a value-added expertise and banks know this is something they have to do to deepen their client base.” “Sustainable revolving credit facilities are in demand throughout the syndicated lending space,” González-Jacob added. “It started with (green) bonds but through 2019 and 2020 we will see more green lending.”

Odebrecht rebrands to OEC

Brazil’s Vale in board shakeup Brazilian mining giant Vale has appointed a new chairman and a new CEO as the iron ore producer works to recover from the deadly collapse of one of its mining dams in January, which killed more than 300 people. Eduardo Bartolomeo is the company’s new chief executive. He took over as interim head of Vale in March when his predecessor Fabio Schvartsman resigned. José Maurício Pereira Coelho is Vale’s new chairman, replacing Gueitiro Matsuo Genso.

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Vale has also announced the creation of the ‘Special Executive Board for Recovery and Development’, which has the mission to ensure focus is on structuring actions that involve repairing the damages caused by the breach of Dam I in Brumadinho (Minas Gerais). The new executive board will be responsible for all social, humanitarian, environmental and structural recovery actions to be carried out in Brumadinho and in the 16 municipalities along Paraopeba river up to Retiro Baixo dam.

Brazilian civil engineering and construction firm Odebrecht SA is rebranding, in an effort to distance itself from a series of political corruption scandals. Odebrecht will now be known by the initials OEC, although its logo still will feature the words ‘Odebrecht Engineering & Construction’. The change reflects what the company calls its ‘Transformational Journey’, with ‘important advances in its governance, such as the implementation of a new compliance system; incorporation of independent advisors; the update and adoption of new policies and guideline; and a new succession process’. In 2016, the Brazilian-based group signed what has been described as the world’s largest leniency deal with US and Swiss authorities, in which it confessed to corruption and paid $2.6billion in fines. Odebrecht executives confessed to paying bribes in exchange for contracts not only in Brazil, but in various parts of the world. www.ethicalboardroom.com

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Ethical Boardroom Spring 2019