Brazil to boost investment to 25 pct of GDP: President


Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said on Wednesday the government seeks to boost total investment to 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“We have made a huge effort in infrastructure and we want this effort to pay off, (and) it is impossible to continue transporting minerals and grains only via highways,” Rousseff told a meeting of the Economic and Social Development Council (CDES) in Brasilia.

She also said the government plans to announce new tax cuts to stimulate investment.

At the same meeting, Fernando Pimetel, Brazil’s development, industry and trade minister, said the investment in Brazil should grow 30 percent by 2016, or reach 3.8 trillion reals (1.9 trillion U.S. dollars) over the three-year period, driven by infrastructure and industry sectors.

“We are convinced that in 2013 and in the next few years, there will be growth in investment in infrastructure, industry and other sectors as well,” he said.

The current investment rate of South America’s largest economy stands at around 20 percent of the GDP, according to Brazil’s Finance Ministry.

Economists in Brazil say the country is about to hit a bottleneck of economic expansion and needs to bolster investment to accelerate growth.

Pimentel indicated that the government is providing solutions to boosting economic growth, and now it needs businessmen to jump on the bandwagon.

The government earlier announced several measures to increase the competitiveness of the Brazilian industry by improving efficiency of transportation and logistics networks.

Brazil’s GDP growth registered a tepid 0.7 percent from January to September last year, and the full year growth would not exceed 1 percent, analysts say.

Source: Sina English

Tool for biofuel may live in termite guts


The biology behind termite digestion may lead to a better way to break down biomass and make biofuels, researchers say. 

A recent study on how termites break down woody materials, which focused on the symbiotic relationship between the insect and the bacteria living in its gut, found that bacteria apparently have little, if anything, to do with termite digestion.

Michael Scharf, professor in urban entomology at Purdue University, and collaborators at the University of Florida wanted to see how diet affected those bacteria. If the bacteria play a role in digestion, the type of materials the insect eats should affect the composition of the bacterial community living in the termite gut.

More than 4,500 different species of bacteria were cataloged in termite guts. When multiple colonies of termites were independently fed diets of wood or paper, however, those bacteria were unaffected.

“You would think diet would cause huge ecological shifts in bacterial communities, but it didn’t. We didn’t detect any statistical differences,” Scharf says.

What they did see were far more significant changes in gene expression in the termites and the protists that live in the insects’ guts along with the bacteria.

“The bacteria communities seem very stable, but the host and the protozoa gene expression are changing a lot based on diet,” Scharf says.

The scientists looked at 10,000 gene sequences from the termites and protists to determine which genes were expressed based on differing diets. Termites and protists fed woody and lignin-rich diets changed expression of about 500 genes, leading Scharf to believe those genes might be important for breaking down lignin, a rigid material in plant cell walls that isn’t easily broken down when making biofuels.

“We see much more of the playing field now,” Scharf says.

Understanding which genes are involved in digestion should help researchers track down the enzymes that actually break down woody materials in termite digestion. Those enzymes may be tools scientists could use to better break down biomass and extract sugars during biofuel production.

The National Science Foundation, the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Inc., and the US Department of Energy funded the research. The findings were detailed in three papers published in the journals Molecular EcologyInsect Molecular Biology, and Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Source: Purdue University


Nigeria-Brazil trade to hit N2.84tn by 2015


The Federal Government has unveiled plans to double the country’s trade volume with Brazil from the current $9bn (N1.422tn) to $18bn (N2.844tn) by 2015.

The Brazilian President, Ms. Dilma Rousseff, told journalists after a two-hour closed door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Saturday that the volume of trade between both countries stood at $9bn at the end of 2012.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, while speaking on Saturday in Abuja at a Nigeria-Brazil trade forum, said both countries had agreed to strengthen trade and investment ties by leveraging areas where they had competitive and comparative advantage.

He said, “The trade volume between both countries has increased significantly over the years. Brazil is our number three trading partner in terms of crude oil exports after the United States of America and India. In terms of imports from Brazil, most of our rice, sugar and automobiles come from Brazil.

“So, Nigeria has had a good trading relationship with Brazil for a very long time now. The Brazilian Minister of State, Ministry of Development, Industry and its Foreign Trade, Mr. Fernado Pimentel, and I will work together to double the trade volume between Nigeria and Brazil by 2015.”

Aganga said both countries had also agreed to put in place mechanism that would accelerate trade development between them.

He said the Federal Government had opened discussions with Brazil to have a direct flight from Nigeria to Brazil, adding that when approved, the move would help to facilitate trade.

“We will have a direct flight from Nigeria to Brazil. Today, a flight that should take six hours is taking us 24 hours. That is not good for business; it is not good for investment. We have a trade commission in place that will accelerate that process,” the minister said.

Aganga explained that the forum was to further strengthen the trade relationship between both countries by exploring some workable strategies.

Also speaking at the event, Pimentel admitted that there was a need to strengthen trade ties between the two countries.

He expressed hope that the forum would achieve the desired goal of increasing the trade volume by 2015.

The President, Nigeria-Brazil Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Emmanuel Ibru, lamented the lack of direct trade link between the two countries, adding that something needed to be done to address the anomaly.

“There is no longer a direct link as it used to be in the past, this is one of the major areas that the chamber is pursuing. We have been working on that and we think something positive will come up on it,” he added.


UBS Completes Acquisition of Link Investimentos in Brazil


Leading local financial services firm is foundation for UBS Brasil expansion as they look to strengthen wealth management and onshore investment banking services

UBS AG, one of the world’s largest and best capitalized financial services firms with a market capitalization of CHF 54,73 billion and invested assets of CHF 2.2 trillion1, announced today that the firm has completed its agreed acquisition of Link Investimentos, Brazil’s largest independent brokerage firm.

The transaction strengthens UBS Brasil, a financial institution based in São Paulo, and establishes a strong platform for the expansion of UBS in Brazil, enabling the bank to provide a full range of wealth management and onshore investment bankingservices, operating in the equity derivatives, equities, options, exchange-traded fixed income,currencies and commodities in the local and international markets. Combining the operations of one of the largest global financial services firms with the operations of an institution with a strong local presence, UBS aims to become a leader in wealth management and investment banking in the Brazilian market, offering clients a full range of products and services, as well as access to its global capacities and resources.

Link Investimentos has been at the top of the BM&FBovespa ranking of derivatives transactions for the last 11 years, having traded 217 million contracts in 2012, representing a 16% market share. Also in 2012, Link achieved the second position in the BM&FBovespa ranking of shares transactions, with a total volume of BRL 316,893 million, representing an 8.9% market share. UBS Brasil will also incorporate Link’s research department, which has consistently figured in the Central Bank’s “Top 5” ranking.

As a reflection of its renewed commitment to Brazil, UBS recently opened a new office in the heart of São Paulo’s financial district, which will become the new headquarters of UBS Brasil.

Robert McCann, UBS Americas CEO, said: “Expanding in Brazil, one of the largest and most important emerging markets, is a strategic priority for UBS and offers excellent growth opportunities for our firm, clients, employees and shareholders. Bringing UBS and Link Investimentos together further strengthens our regional presence and adds deeper local knowledge and market expertise.”

Lywal Salles, Chairman of UBS Brasil, said: “Link Investimentos has had a history of success in Brazil and its acquisition strengthens our local presence. We share with our new partners a common desire to build a first rate organization, highly regarded, in this market. It has been a pleasure, personal and professional, to interact with Link’s team.”

Daniel Mendonça de Barros, CEO of Link Investimentos, henceforth to be called UBS Brasil Corretora, added: “We are excited to join UBS and build upon the success that Link has had in creating a leading financial services organization in this important and dynamic market. I am quite confident that our clients will benefit greatly from UBS’s global product offering and client-focused advice and services.”

Brazilian clients can learn more about UBS Brasil at

Source: Reuters

Modern fish farming facility moving forward


Acre Fish Farming Facility has succeeded in producing the first 100,000 fingerlings of barred sorubim and it is expected to generate about 400 direct jobs.

On 15 February, the governor of Acre, Tião Viana, visited the premises, owned by Peixes da Amazônia company.

According to Jaime Brum, consultant to the company, Acre — located in the northwest of the country — is the only state in Brazil that has an organized productive chain.

“What is different about Acre is that it has the entire pisciculture production chain organized like no other,” he said.

The complex is building a laboratory for fry production; a modern feed mill, which will ensure high quality food for fish; and a plant, in which all fishery products elaborated in Acre will be processed and industrialize.

Small and medium farmers entered the business through the Fish Farmers’ Cooperative Central in Acre, which is a partner of Peixes da Amazônia.

Producers can buy fingerlings and feed for the fish directly in the complex at a lower price and then sell the same fish to the plant for its industrialization, Agência de Notícias do Acre reported.

The factory is expected to produce about 200 tonnes of food or the sufficient quantity to supply Acre and neighbouring states.

To ensure productivity, the company will use about 120 tonnes of grains daily.

According to the Under Secretary for Forestry, Industry, Trade and Sustainable Services Development (Sedens), Edvaldo Magalhães, the raw material consumed by the factory will stimulate the food chain throughout the state.

“This plant will consume big quantities of millet, soybean meal and meat meal, which are already produced by our processing plants,” Magalhães continued.

Meanwhile, the fry laboratory is expected to produce annually about 20 million specimens and the plant, to process about 20,000 tonnes of fish.

According to the project developers, the complex will generate about 400 direct jobs and a thousand indirect ones.

Source: FIS Brazil

Olive Garden Parent Darden Expands to Latin America


Darden Restaurants (DRI) is expanding its popular Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands to Brazil and other high-growth Latin American countries.

The Orlando, Fla.-based company said Thursday it has entered into an area development deal with International Meal Company, a multi-brand restaurant operator in South and Central America and the Caribbean, to develop and operate 57 restaurants in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republican and Panama.

“We’re excited to bring our three category-leading brands to these countries,” said Kim Lopdrup, senior vice president of business development for Darden. “Brazil’s growing middle class and strong affinity for American brands makes it an attractive growth market for Darden.”

The company said expanding internationally through partners with local market knowledge will help further its growth beyond just the key domestic market.

IMC, which operates the Frango Assado and Viena flagship brands, has more than 350 company-owned restaurants and some 12,000 employees.

Source: Fox Business