Structuring for Exit: New Approaches for Private Capital in Latin America

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Katz, Sabrina;
Algarin, Miguel;
Hernandez, Emanuel
Mar 2021
Structured financing solutions encompass a range of investment approaches that provide liquidity to investors without the need for a traditional equity exit event, such as a strategic sale, sale to another financial investor, or public market listing. Structuring mechanisms across the debt-to-equity spectrum determine the exit terms of the deal, therefore providing considerable downside protection to investors.

Structured financing solutions are an incipient but increasingly important set of tools for investors active in Latin America to address the financing gap for companies that lack access to bank financing and are not attractive targets for traditional PE and VC players.

Many investors employing these strategies are in an experimental phase, reporting new lessons learned with each deal completed. Impact investors have been among the top drivers of these structuring innovations, as they have grappled with the additional limitations associated with the straight equity model for environmental or social enterprises. However, the use of structured financing is by no means restricted to the impact investing space. Fund managers have invested USD4b in private credit deals in Latin America since 2018, more than the previous ten years combined. PE and VC investors have also increasingly employed quasi-equity and debt instruments. ACON Investments, for example, has employed mezzanine structures in several deals from its latest funds. Brazil-focused venture capital firm SP Ventures has recently begun investing from its debut venture debt fund. Growing experimentation by fund managers demonstrates the opportunity for investors across ticket sizes, strategies, and the impact-to-commercial spectrum. The structures discussed and the case studies highlighted in this report contain some of the major lessons applicable to a wide group of private capital investors in Latin America targeting certain and timely exits with consistent returns.