Scotiabank to pay 300M for 51 stake in Cencosuds Chilean credit card

Scotiabank to pay $300M for 51% stake in Cencosud’s Chilean credit card business by The Canadian Press Posted Jun 20, 2014 4:48 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) says it will acquire a 51 per cent interest in the credit card and consumer loans business of Cencosud SA, the largest retailer in Chile, in a deal valued at $300 million.The transaction includes a 15-year partnership between Scotiabank and Cencosud.The financial services arm of Cencosud will continue to operate as a standalone business, with oversight from a board of directors representing the two partner companies.The transaction will make Scotiabank the third-largest credit card supplier in Chile, one of the countries that it has identified as an area of growth.Scotiabank chief executive Brian Porter told shareholders in April that the bank wants to sharpen its focus in Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Chile.Cencosud is a retail conglomerate operating in five countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia and its financial service arm currently has 2.5 million credit cards with more than US$1.2 billion in Chile.“Scotiabank is excited about this acquisition because it will strengthen our credit card offerings for our customers and attract new customers to the bank,” said Wendy Hannam, Scotiabank’s executive vice-president for Latin America. read more

Small farmers at risk of being excluded from biofuel schemes warns UN

Current biofuel certification schemes are making it difficult for smallholder farmers to participate in export markets, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which advocates for a change in the way these schemes are currently managed. “As structured, these schemes would tend to favour big players and provide incentives for scaling up production to absorb certification costs,” says the report, entitled Biofuels and the Sustainability Challenge, which was produced by FAO. The schemes are a way to certify that biofuels used by companies importing or exporting this type of energy source are produced in a sustainable way without destroying forests and other ecosystems. Certification is also supposed to improve businesses’ efficiency, and increase their transparency as well as their awareness of problems in the supply chain.However, the report finds that current certification schemes might exclude small farmers from achieving certification because they are mainly designed for large-scale agro-businesses. The schemes are also voluntary and for the most part are privately-operated, requiring costs and capacities that many smallholders lack. The schemes can also hinder trade and reduce access to markets for developing countries in particular, the report says. For example, while it is easy for producers in industrialized countries to comply with the demand to provide education opportunities to employed farmers, it could be much more difficult for small-scale producers in developing countries.Similarly, big companies keep financial records needed for audits while smallholders tend to keep information needed for estimations of greenhouse gas emissions in their head. As a result, many smallholders are not able to obtain certifications.“Many developing countries express concern that certification schemes can become indirect trade barriers when not managed properly,” the report said.The report suggests that to increase certification among small businesses, governments and international organizations in consumer and producer countries need to establish mechanisms that create “an enabling environment.”“Such mechanisms could include national legislation, public procurement policies, tax incentives and tax relief and start-up grants. Financial institutions also have an important role to play to support and enable schemes,” the report said.Local inspectors would also help create this environment by examining on-site conditions, thus lowering the costs for small producers.While beneficial for the environment, certification schemes must also ensure that they have a positive impact for the economy by ensuring market access and decent wages for workers, the report concluded. read more