Brazil Plans to Build Aircraft Carrier

Brazil Plans to Build Aircraft Carrier

Bloomberg reports that Brazil plans to build an aircraft carrier with a foreign partner as part of an effort to enhance its military readiness, Defense Minister Celso Amorim told reporters today.

“The idea is for it to be built in Brazil, probably based on an existing project,” Amorim told a group of foreign correspondents. Latin America’s largest country will require a new aircraft carrier within 15 years and will modernize its existing one in the meantime, Amorim said.

Brazil has stepped up spending on military equipment in recent years as it seeks to beef up its defense mostly of natural resources, from deep-sea oil to fresh water. “We are indeed a peaceful country, but no way will we be a defenseless country,” President Dilma Rousseff said last year.

In December the government chose Saab AB (SAABB) over Chicago-based Boeing Co (BA)and Paris-based Dassault Aviation SA (AM) to supply 36 jet fighters worth $4.5 billion. Until these are ready, Sweden may provide older model Gripens to the Brazilian Air Force, Amorim said.

Corporate Travel still Hot in Brazil

Corporate Travel still Hot in Brazil

An article from supply management shows that Brazil is still a hot destination for corporate travel.

“Despite the relative volatility in Brazil, we have been encouraged by real GDP growth and a significant rise in Brazilian export volumes,” says Wellington Costa, president of GBTA Brazil. “As the global economy regains double-digit growth, we remain confident that Brazilian business travel spend will return to double digit growth this year. This is nothing but good news,” he adds.

The GBTA’s research also suggests that Brazil’s business travel market will surpass that of South Korea, France and Italy over the next few years.

Despite the social unrest and economic difficulties, businesses in the travel sector have not seen a drop in corporate travel spend. Client spending continues to be strong, and is increasing, according to Mario Hidalgo, alliance manager, LATAM at corporate travel provider Egencia. “Clients consistently spend above forecasted levels and previous years,” he says. “There are also no signs of significant measures for them to reduce their spend in the coming months.”

South America’s largest country is one of the most popular corporate travel destinations, with capital city Brasilia identified as the second most important destination for business’ growth, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies. It bases 
its findings on business travellers’ views and analysis of travel management companies’ “round-trip” sales to growth economies.

Different figures, this time from Abracorp – Brazil’s Corporate Travel Agencies Association – show that the business travel sector grew by 13 per cent in the first six months of 2013. The association expects revenue of R$13 billion (£3.3 billion) this year, and companies within the sector are predicted revenues of approximately R$25 billion (£6.3 billion).

Travel providers are willing to invest in the country too. BCD Travel has forged a joint venture with Brazilian provider Avipam which will employ 300 people. Its aim is to create a strong presence in a market where its clients need to be, says Barbara Blue, BCD Travel president for Latin America.

Well connected

It is not just the large-scale events taking place in Brazil that have led to this positivity. “Brazil has been in the global spotlight for some years, with a very healthy growth in corporate travel,” says Hidalgo. “Global companies are expanding already in the Brazilian market, so I don’t believe the sporting events will change the current trend much. There might be some impact on specific business areas directly related to the events.”

One reason is its increased connectivity with the rest of the world. “Brazil to Asia, for instance, is a new corridor that will impact directly on the corporate travel business,” says Hogg Robinson’s Moane. “We also see many Brazilian companies expanding their businesses worldwide, from many different sectors – construction, food, oil and gas and technology among others.”

Hidalgo agrees: “Brazilian companies are becoming global; making acquisitions not only in Latin America, but all over the world.” On the other side of the coin, multinational companies are also consistently expanding their investments in Brazil. Read the whole store here.

Swiss Bank UBS to Restart Operations in Brazil

Swiss Bank UBS to Restart Operations in Brazil

(Reuters) – UBS AG will restart investment banking operations in
Brazil as early as next week, sources said, almost five years after Switzerland’s biggest bank sold its highly profitable securities unit there following the global financial crisis.

Two sources, who are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said on Friday that UBS and Brazil’s central bank agreed on setting March 12 as the date to activate the investment-banking license.

Sought for comment, UBS said it would continue to focus on wealth management, client solutions and its sales and trading business, including equity research, in Brazil.

UBS is also trying to expand its financial advisory business in Brazil despite Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti’s push to focus on wealth management globally and limit the use of lending to fetch deals. Read the whole story here.


Local Data Storage in Brazil

Local Data Storage in Brazil

While Brazilian politicians try to agree on the country’s first set of regulations around data and internet governance, local storage requirements are most likely to be solved first.

ZDnet reports that Brazil’s “internet constitution,” the Marco Cival da Internet, was due to be voted last October by the House of Representatives. However, disagreement between politicians and ISPs – particularly around the point of providers being required to treat all data that goes through their network in the same way – meant that the bill is yet to become law.

Despite all the to-ing and fro-ing between public representatives and companies around net neutrality, requirements that data collected about Brazilian internet users is to be stored locally are pretty much agreed on within the government. This was initially presented as a mechanism to protect citizen data – but the government is now becoming much more aware of the value of information.

During the Mobile World Congress last month, Brazilian communications minister Paulo Bernardo reinforced the point that local storage plans will go ahead and criticized the likes of Google and Facebook.

“Google told us that it could not hand data over to the Federal Police in Brazil because the information was stored in the United States, so the company has to comply with the laws of that country. Then they told us that they store the data in a random-access system – it is not possible to believe in everything they say,” Bernardo told trade publication Convergência Digital.

“What is certain is that data is turning into money and we can’t afford to be out of this business. Data will be the motor of the economy in the next few years. Datacenters of companies like Google and Facebook also have to be in Brazil,” he added.

The requirement to force companies to store data locally has been criticized by businesspeople and activists alike, such as World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who said this is an “emotional reaction” to the NSA spying episode and will not have any practical impact in reducing espionage risk.

Brasscom, the Brazilian IT trade body, warned that the local data storage provisions will mean an increase in costs incurred by local IT companies and prompt these firms to move their operations elsewhere.

And small business owners who rely heavily on cloud services to operate their businesses are also not happy about the government’s intentions. That is the case of Bidu, a insurance price comparison start-up, who stores all its data on systems operated by Amazon Web Services and Google.

“[If the government requires local storage], Brazil will take a massive backward step. It would be such a big setback for Brazil that small companies would be a lot less competitive,” says Bidu’s founder, Eldes Mattiuzzo.

U.S. Urges Brazil to assist with Peace in Venezuela

U.S. Urges Brazil to assist with Peace in Venezuela

The United States’ long-standing travel and trade embargo against Cuba has left it with an image as a bully across Latin America, in the view of Cuban native Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former policy advisor for the Castro regime who now lives in Denver. Antonio Martinez II, a New York attorney who deals with international sanctions compliance, said the U.S. image was tarnished further by the Pentagon’s role in a 2002 coup attempt against late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“The fact is that the U.S. influence is not that great in Venezuela,” said Peter Hakim, president emeritus of Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank on Western Hemisphere affairs. “The two countries most suited to shape Venezuela’s actions are Brazil and Cuba.”

Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, has asked that the Venezuelan government and its opposition party begin a dialogue with one another. But Brazil has taken no direct action. Hakim said that’s just what the U.S. should urge.

Venezuela trusts Brazil, Hakim said, and it is in Brazil’s national interest to encourage stability in its neighbor.  Escalating protests and violence could lead to a mass migration of Venezuelans into Brazil, causing instability there and potentially damaging the economy.

Because Brazil has a strong relationship with Cuba, Hakim added, it might persuade Cuban leader Raul Castro to take on the role of peace maker.

Read the story here.

Cuba to Raise Pay of Doctors in Brazil

Cuba to Raise Pay of Doctors in Brazil

The Wall Street Journal reports Cuba’s government has agreed to give its doctors working in Brazil a modest pay increase, which may help ease some criticism over a controversial Brazilian government program to expand health care.

Over the last year, Brazil has recruited thousands of foreign doctors for its Mais Medicos program designed to send doctors into rural areas or poorer parts of major cities where there is little or no medical service. A vast majority of the doctors come from Cuba, under an agreement coordinated by the Pan-American Health Organization, or PAHO.

Brazil says it pays all the foreign doctors in the program a salary of 10,400 reais ($4,430) a month. In the case of the Cubans, the money is paid through PAHO to the Cuban government, which then passes on a much smaller amount to the doctors.

Under the new deal Cuban doctors will be paid $1,245 a month, up from $1,000 previously, according to the Brazilian health ministry. Moreover, the Cuban doctors will receive all of that amount in Brazil. Before, the Cuban government deposited $600 into an account in Cuba, according to the health ministry.

There are currently 6,650 doctors working under the Mais Medicos program, and the Brazilian government aims to reach 13,000 by April, which it says would help some 45 million people—nearly one quarter of Brazil’s population. Read the whole story here.

Brazil Upgrades Air Traffic Technology

Brazil Upgrades Air Traffic Technology

In the run up to the FIFA World Cup this year, and the Olympics in 2016, SITA is working with the Comissão de Implantação do Sistema de Controle do Espaço Aéreo (CISCEA) in its drive to upgrade Brazil’s air traffic management technology. CISCEA is the body responsible for developing and implementing new technologies for DECEA, the Brazilian Air Navigation Service Provider.

SITA, the world’s leading provider of air traffic management communications and IT solutions, already provides Departure Clearance (DCL) and Digital-Automatic Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS) datalink services at both Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo’s GRU Airport. These solutions will now be extended to 23 airports across Brazil.

Major Brigadier Carlos Vuyk de Aquino, President of CISCEA, said: “Brazil has the busiest airspace in South America and we are very proud to be hosting two of the world’s biggest sporting events. We want everyone flying to, from and within Brazil to have smooth and uneventful journeys. It is therefore essential that our air traffic managers have access to the very best technology available.

“This investment is not only for these big events, but is part of SIRIUS, DECEA’s major modernization program. A cornerstone of this program is the delivery of datalink services at Brazil’s main airports to transform air traffic communications. We have been working with SITA over the past ten years and we are confident that the SITA team will deliver exactly what we need.” Read the whole story from source SITA.

Telecom Italia to Stay in Brazil

Telecom Italia to Stay in Brazil

Telecompaper- Telecom Italia is determined to keep hold of and expand its Brazilian mobile unit, Tim Brasil, according to CEO Marco Patuano. In an interview with the Financial Times, Patuano said that he had met two-thirds of the Brazilian government during a recent visit and had informed them that Telecom Italia was “here to stay”. Not only that, he said that the company would be investing and making the network better rather than allowing rivals to buy or break up the business.

Patuano was responding to rumours swirling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week that America Movil was eyeing up Tim Brasil, especially after its CEO Daniel Hajj said that the group would be “open to opportunities” to share in the consolidation of the Brazilian market. However, Patuano confirmed that there were no talks with any rivals or pressure from the Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel to close a deal. “Everything could have a price, but we feel comfortable in Brazil. Today, we have no discussions with anybody,” he said.

Brazil Hopes to Sell Cargo Jet to Sweden

Brazil Hopes to Sell Cargo Jet to Sweden

(Reuters) – Brazil is hoping to sell its upcoming KC-390 military cargo plane to Sweden as part of a $4.5 billion deal to buy 36 Gripen fighter jets made by Swedish company Saab AB.

The Brazilian Air Force said on Thursday that offsets in the Saab offer included the intention of the Swedish government to buy KC-390s, adding to signs of interest in the new cargo jet beyond Brazil’s traditional Latin American market.

The KC-390 under development by Brazilian planemaker Embraer is meant to be a cheaper, more efficient challenger for Lockheed Martin’s C130J Super Hercules.

Embraer’s new jet is set for its first flight by the end of the year and has received early commitments for orders from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile. In Europe, Portugal and the Czech Republic are also involved in the KC-390 project as industrial partners and eventual clients.

So far, 60 of the new cargo jets have been requested. Embraer sees a market for more than 700 planes in the segment worth more than $50 billion over the next 10 years. Read the whole story here.


Brazil’s Economy Better than Expected

Brazil’s Economy Better than Expected

The Wall Street Journal – Brazil’s economy accelerated in the fourth quarter of the year but growth remains fickle as key parts of the economy continue to sputter.

The growth suggests Latin America’s largest economy was in better shape than had been expected, after preliminary data from the Central Bank of Brazil had indicated that the economy may have flirted with a recession in the second half of the year.

Although the economy continues to underperform, signs of expansion may ease some of the gloominess that have made bankers and economists increasingly negative about the prospects for 2014.

“I think this result will halt the downward revisions to forecasts for the Brazilian economy this year by economists,” said Flavio Serrano, an economist at BES Investimento in São Paulo. Investments increased during the quarter, whereas many economists had expected a decline, while industry had been expected to contract further, he said.

In annualized terms, the economy grew 2.75% in the fourth quarter, according to Mr. Serrano.  Read the whole story here.