This is how to tackle financial complexities in Argentina and Brazil

VIDEO | At the Treasury 360° Nordic 2024, the spotlight turned to two contrasting yet challenging economies: Argentina and Brazil. Both countries present complexities for treasurers, but with distinctly different implications.

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Martin Malone, responsible for International Treasury at Edwards Life Sciences, highlights his 25 years in corporate treasury. He emphasises, “Argentina is a difficult market to enter because of the political instability and high inflation,” which make cash management a significant challenge. Malone explains that that is one of the reasons they are not active in Argentina.

Hien Dai Saupham, treasurer at Darling Ingredients International, discussed their exit from Argentina, stating it was due to “concerns over cash repatriation.” She shares their recent $2 billion investment in Brazil, underscoring its potential despite its complex financial environment. Hien also notes, “Communication is critical, especially given language barriers, but as long as the trust is there you are able to do it.”

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Michel Verhoeven, assistant treasurer at Zoetis, explains their continued presence in Argentina due to its strategic importance in livestock production. He contrasts Argentina’s volatile regulatory landscape with Brazil’s more stable and digitised financial system. He emphasises the challenges of managing day-to-day operations, finding reliable banking partners, and adapting to frequent regulatory changes.

The panel agreed on the importance of leveraging local expertise and technology to navigate these markets. They highlight digital innovations like Brazil’s PIX real-time payment system, which Malone praises for enhancing efficiency despite the country’s intricate tax structure.

Hien Dijkstra-Pham is treasurer at Darling Ingredients International

Michel Verholen is assistant treasurer at Zoetis

Martin Meloun is senior director treasury EMEA, JAPAC and LATAM at Edwards Lifesciences

The session was led by track moderator Rupert Keenlyside, Founder of CompleXCountries

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