F&C lifts Latin American stake

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FOREIGN & Colonial, the fund manager, has doubled its stake in its successful Latin American associate as part of a move to form a larger and broader emerging markets business.

The management of Latin American Securities - including Audley Twiston Davies, who founded the company for F&C in 1987 - will share dollars 11.5m ( pounds 7.8m) with Banco de Investimentos Garantia, the Brazilian bank, which is F&C's joint-venture partner. The deal values LAS at about dollars 31m.

F&C will own 75 per cent of Foreign & Colonial Emerging Markets, the company that will embrace both LAS and the group's South-east Asian funds, giving it nearly pounds 1bn under management. Garantia retains a 15 per cent stake and management 10 per cent.

Mr Twiston Davies, who will be managing director of the new firm, said he wanted to set up in North Africa and Eastern Europe to enable F&C to offer a global emerging markets capability. 'There are lots of people who have odd funds in little bits of it. There are very few people who can do emerging markets comprehensively.'

Mr Twiston Davies said Morocco, with about 200 quoted companies but little market liquidity, was undertaking privatisation and other changes that have transformed emerging economies elsewhere. But James Ogilvy, group chairman, said F&C regarded India a better prospect for the immediate future.

'With a little bit of luck we can get to dollars 5bn in the next five years,' Mr Twiston Davies said. F&C has just over pounds 9bn under management, nearly three times as much as at the end of 1990.

LAS claims its expertise in Latin American stock markets is unrivalled in Europe and the US. Funds under management have grown rapidly over the past three years to reach dollars 700m.

Mr Twiston Davies was coy about how much he had made from the deal, but joked: 'Management have not made enough to distract us from the hard road ahead.'

Mr Ogilvy said F&C would continue to allow Mr Twiston Davies a considerable degree of autonomy: 'That's why (LAS) has been so successful.'