‘Made In Brazil’ Under Pressure, Study Shows

August 20, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 8/19/2014

Brazil is more than samba and soccer. But the airplanes it makes and the soybeans it grows are coming under increasing cost pressures, making a number of manufacturers there lose ground to competitors in the U.S.

A new study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), made public on Tuesday, said that Brazil was one of a handful of 25 major exporters that was losing its competitive edge to other countries in the Americas.  In this case, the U.S. and Mexico are often beating Brazil to the punch.

“Improving the productivity of each worker is becoming an increasingly important factor in manufacturing competitiveness across the globe,” said Michael Zinser, a BCG partner. “This is especially true as the once-considerable wage gaps between developed and developing economies continue to shrink.”

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Brazil to Help Out Pressured Electric Companies

August 12, 2014

Paulo Trevisani and Priscilla Oliveira – The Wall Street Journal, 8/7/2014

Brazil’s government is again offering help to struggling power distributors caught between rising wholesale costs and controlled retail prices.

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday that it is making available 6.6 billion Brazilian reais ($2.9 billion) in credit lines to the sector. The funds will come from private and government-controlled banks.

The fresh money is meant to cover a gap in the power companies’ accounts, as a prolonged drought significantly reduced generation capacity in Brazil’s mainly hydroelectric generated power grid.

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Google ranked best tech workplace in Brazil

August 12, 2014

Angelica Mari – ZDNet, 8/11/2014

Google is the best technology employer in Brazil — and the majority of the other top 10 employers are also foreign, according to a list by The Great Place to Work Institute of the best companies to work for in the country.

The ranking considered 220 organizations which employ around 287,000 people in Brazil. Google and the runner-up, Brazilian document management firm Acesso Digital, have maintained their positions in relation to last year’s list.

The change in the top three is the appearance of Microsoft, now ranked as the third best tech employer in Brazil, replacing local engineering and software company Radix.

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Brazil readies big push on solar energy but companies are wary

August 12, 2014

Bernard Orr – Reuters, 8/11/2014

Grappling with its worst energy crisis in more than a decade, Brazil is making its first big move to develop a local solar power industry that could help reduce its dependence on a battered hydro power system.

In October, Brazil will hold an auction to negotiate energy to be produced exclusively by solar farms, the first ever of the kind in the South American country.

Power companies have registered some 400 projects for the auction, but many remain wary of the outlook for solar power in Brazil and say they need more clarity on investment conditions and financing before signing any deals.

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Brazilian Airline Azul Avoids Brazil’s Busiest Route

August 11, 2014

Christiana Sciaudone and Jessica Brice – Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/7/2014

Ask David Neeleman, majority owner of Brazilian airline Azul and founder of JetBlue Airways (JBLU), and he’ll say Brazil’s busiest route is just that: too busy. With more than 280 daily flights, the 45-minute trip between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is already the world’s most-served route. But while aviation disrupters such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways grew by going wing-to-wing against incumbents between major cities, Neeleman says his Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras will likely use slots it wins at São Paulo’s domestic airport to strengthen its hold on small cities other airlines don’t fly to.

The popular São Paulo-to-Rio de Janeiro run is dominated by rivals Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes and Tam, which is controlled by Santiago-based Latam Airlines Group (LAN:CI). Azul has been locked out of offering weekday flights to and from São Paulo’s Congonhas airport until now. The government will soon award new takeoff and landing times, and Neeleman estimates Azul will get 14 to 16 slots a day, making it the biggest winner. Still, he says that’s too few to make a big difference flying to Rio. “Do you want to go into a gunfight with a peashooter?” he asks. “If you only have 12 or 14 departures, 16 departures, whatever, it just doesn’t give you enough.”

Currently, Azul has only one slot per week at Congonhas, on Saturday afternoon, which it uses to fly to Rio. It would need many more on the route to threaten Tam’s and Gol’s dominance, says Raymond James Financial analyst Savanthi Syth. “There’s going to be a little more overlap here in the domestic market,” she says. The two leading carriers now have more than 200 Congonhas slots a day each. Avianca Brazil has 12 on weekdays.

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Despite Brazil’s AIDS Efforts, HIV Infections Rise

August 11, 2014

Fox News Latino, 8/9/2014

The devastating news didn’t make sense to Brazilian Pierre Freitaz. How was it possible that, at age 17, he was infected with HIV if his only boyfriend seemed fit and healthy?

Freitaz confesses he knew little about the virus when he was diagnosed in 2004. He didn’t understand the difference between the infection and the disease it caused: AIDS. He was confused by the lack of obvious symptoms.

“It’s like I was living in a different part of the world, and I felt immune.”

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China sells trains to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

August 6, 2014

Macau Hub, 8/6/2014

The third shipment of trains acquired in China by the government of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state arrived in the city’s port on Sunday and after testing should begin operating next week, Agência Brasil reports.

The trains were obtained from the state-owned China CNR Corporation Limited and comprise four trains with four carriages each. Each train can carry 1,200 passengers.

The new trains are equipped with air conditioning, an automatic derail detection system and LCD screens in carriages, as well as internal and external TV cameras enabling the driver to see platforms and carriage interiors.

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Brazil’s Oi posts loss; debt soars with Portugal Telecom

August 6, 2014

Brad Haynes and Guillermo Parra-Bernal – Reuters, 8/6/2014

Grupo Oi SA, Brazil’s biggest fixed-line telecommunications operator, posted a second-quarter net loss on Wednesday, as revenue stagnated and payroll and debt-servicing costs rose amid a troubled merger with its largest shareholder.

The company posted a quarterly loss of 221 million reais ($97 million), its first results since combining assets with Portugal Telecom SGPS SA in April. The result was larger than the combined shortfall of 124 million reais the companies would have posted together a year ago, according to a securities filing.

Revenue in Brazil slipped 2 percent from a year earlier to 6.94 billion reais. Revenue from Portugal fell 3.4 percent in euros, but a currency swing boosted results in Brazilian reais by nearly 10 percent. As a result total revenue was little changed at 9.02 billion reais.

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IN DEPTH: Brazil’s power struggle

August 6, 2014

Alexandre Spatuzza – Recharge News, 8/6/2014

It may come as a surprise to those only loosely following Brazil’s fast-growing wind industry, but there is a deep-seated crisis in the country’s power sector that could affect the outcome of the presidential election in October — and, in turn, the election result could have a big impact on the energy industry, including wind and solar.

President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking re-election, faces a range of issues that analysts believe will dog her campaign — slow economic growth, rising inflation, high government spending, and liquidity and supply problems in the power industry. The latter will be the first item on the agenda of whoever wins the presidential race, say analysts.

Under Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — both of the centre-left Workers’ Party — the energy industry has gone through a series of upheavals that have reduced the income of generation, distribution and transmission companies, leaving them without the liquidity they need to make investments.

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Amazon tribe fights Brazil dam project

August 5, 2014

Sue Branford and Nick Terdre – BBC News, 8/4/2014

“If these dams are built, everything will end,” says Lamberto Painha, one of the chiefs of the Munduruku tribe in Brazil’s Amazon region.

“That village over there will be flooded,” he points. “Monkeys, birds, Indians – we’ll all lose our homes.”

Over the last few months some 13,000 Munduruku have been protesting against government plans to build a series of hydroelectric dams that will flood part of their land on the upper reaches of the Tapajos river.

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