LASRENET: Info on Latin American Companies

Article excerpt

As the natiwns of Latin America emerged in the 1990s from decades long economic hibernation caused by disastrous statist economic policies, the eyes and wallets of international investors are focusing on the region. Unfortunately, current stock quotations for local companies are difficult to obtain outside the region.

To meet this need, LASRENET (Latin American Securities Research Network) was created in 1992. The Windows based system procides current and historical prices on all listed Latin American companies and country funds. Subscribers to LASRENET include Bear Stearns, Citibank, Latin Vest, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and Sullivan, and Cromwell according to LASRENET. At present, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela are available. By the end of 1994, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay should be online.

As Latin America experiences an economic boom in the 1990s so is Southeast Asia. To meet international investors' needs for current and historical stock quotes from these stock markets, LASRENET has expanded its focus. Currently, it provides stock quotations for Israel, India, and Pakistan. Plans are for China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Turkey to be available.

LASRENET also plans to provide coverage of the nations of Eastern Europe. The newly created nation of Czech will be online by the end of 1994. Its ultimate goal is to " . . . have all the major emerging/reemerging markets on one system with cross border analysis as well as adjusted historical pricing information for those countries with high inflation," said Vijay Velu, president of LASRENET.

In addition to the country databases, LASRENET offers the IBES Emerging Markets, the Finmark Privatization Research Service, and Market Guide Databases as additional services.

Each individual country files offers the user eight menu choices. These are 1) Historical Prices on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis going as far back as 1991. 2) Company Financials which provide balance sheet and income statement information on each country's leading public companies. 3) Country Monitors which provide analytical articles on macroeconomic topics such as inflation, privatization, dumping, etc. 4) Equity Research which provides reports by research analysts on local companies whose stock is publicly trade. 5) Fixed Income Research which provides reports by research analysts on local companies with outstanding debt issues. 6) Stock Closing Reports provide the percentage change from day to day according to price, change in U.S. value of price, colume, or in alphabetical order. 7) Bond Closing Report. 8) Financial News provides news stories of a financial nature.

Each menu provides the user with an abundance of information about a country and its corporations. Most of the menu choices are fairly current except for Equity Research. For example, the equity research, at its most current, for Mexico is at least two months old. Most other country research, at its most current, is at least four to six months old. However, for many of these companies, such as the Venezuelan iron ore producer, VENPRECAR, or the Brazilian bank, Bradesco, this research, although old, is the only analyst research available in the English language. The country overview reports also provide current and future P/E (Price to Earnings ratio) and EPS (Earnings per Share) estimates for a large number of stocks. Thus, these research reports are of value for U.S. and British portfolio managers, investment bankers, and stock analysts who are looking at the Emerging Markets.

LASRENET is in a continuous process of adding new brokerages to its research base. Currently, it has Probursa International for Mexico, Banco Omega and Banco Frances & Brasiliero for Brazil, Stephen Rose and Partners for Argentina, and Merinvest for Venezuela. "For the other nations, LASRENET is in the final stages of contract negotiations with potential contributors to Equity Research," stated Gita Velu. …