September 25, 2018

Wall Street Journal Pro quotes Philip von Mehren in article about how Argentina's current economic crisis threatens recovery of the local private-equity industry

2 min

On September 25, 2018, Philip von Mehren was quoted in Wall Street Journal Pro in an article about how Argentina's latest economic crisis threatens to reverse what seemed to be the first signs of recovery in the country's private-equity industry.

According to the article, private-equity firms became bullish about Argentina after President Mauricio Macri took office in late 2015 and his new government unraveled the previous administration's policies, including currency controls and export restrictions, which had kept private-equity capital largely out of the country for years.

Mr. von Mehren said, "The shift to Macri was fundamental in terms of changing the perception of Argentina as a destination for foreign capital and, obviously, part of foreign capital is private-equity capital."

Mr. von Mehren said that private-equity firms continue to see opportunities in Argentina. Some of them try to mitigate the country's risks by investing in companies that can expand to other Latin American markets or already operate regionally.

Businesses focused on exports also are less vulnerable to local currency fluctuations. Mr. von Mehren pointed to the recent acquisition of a majority stake in Argentine biotechnology company Biosidus by Washington, D.C.-based Acon Investments and Buenos Aires-based Humus Capital Partners. The manufacturer and distributor of biosimilar pharmaceuticals exports to more than 25 countries across four continents, according to a news release issued at that time.

"That's an interesting transaction, and one that suggests that everybody hasn't given up," Mr. von Mehren said.