Magazine article Business Credit

Open Accounts

Magazine article Business Credit

Open Accounts

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Equifax Acquires Majority Interest in Brazilian Company

Recently, Equifax announced that it purchased 80 percent ownership in Seguranca ao Credito e Informacoes (SCI), the leading commercial financial information company and supplier of consumer information in Brazil.

The $200 million acquisition puts Equifax at the cutting edge of Latin American business. SCI is located in Sao Paulo and has approximately 1000 employees and 47 branch locations. The firm also provides financial information to more than 21,000 clients, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and financial institutions.

By acquiring a majority interest in SCI, Equifax hopes to expand in Latin America and globally. Incidentally, Brazil has the fifth largest population in the world.

SCI's commercial and consumer databases contain positive trade line information in addition to delinquency information. Commercial information in the database offers a complete picture of more than two million businesses in Brazil. With Brazil's population of 160 million, Equifax anticipates dramatic market growth in the demand for consumer information. The expanded credit information system will accelerate growth of the credit economy through development of credit marketing and credit scoring operation for clients.

John Gottheiner, founder of SCI, said, "Co-founder Lotario Krause and I have built SCI into Brazil's leading information company. Our association with Equifax will generate a quantum leap in technology and service for the company and support the Brazilian economy in the process."

International Standby Practices

International Standby Practices (ISP98), acclaimed by all aspects of industry and finance, will soon dominate the $700 billion standby letter of credit market. ISP98 becomes effective January 1, 999.

ISP98 is simple, rulemaking that ensures standby letters of credit withstand intense scrutiny. It reflects standard practice and provides terms and norms that will increase worldwide acceptance of the standby letter of credit. ISP98 are precise rules written exclusively for standbys and the average standby amount is $3.5 million.

According to the Institute of International Banking Law and Practice, Inc., educational tours are being launched to prepare bankers, merchants, corporate treasurers and credit managers for ISP98.

ISP98 was recently endorsed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Banking Commission on Technique and Practice. "On the whole, the rules are an important contribution to the field and have been welcomed by the business community," said Gary Collyer of the ICC Banking Commission. This action followed endorsement of ISP98 by the International Financial Services Association (formerly the U.S. Council on International Banking.)

Supporters of ISP98 believe it will increase the reliability and integrity of the standby letter of credit and increase customer confidence. They are also hopeful that it will save time and expense in negotiating and drafting standby terms.

NERA Survey Indicates Hiring Trend According to a survey conducted by the National Employers Resource Alliance, Inc. (NERA), 77 percent of companies surveyed expect to hire personnel in 1998.

The Baltimore-based human resources association surveyed service industry businesses and manufacturers.

"The overwhelmingly positive response regarding the need to hire more personnel is consistent with most business nationwide," said Jane Anderson Coffey, president of NERA. "At the half-way point in 1998, companies were still trying to fill positions, especially in service industries.

Nearly all respondents-91 percentstated they have no plans to reduce staff in 1998 while only nine percent indicated that they planned reductions.

Salary increases average between three and five percent, according to 45 percent of the companies surveyed, although 27 percent of respondents will give increases of one to three percent. …

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