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BlackRock banks on private debt funds in Chile in bid to grow presence

Asset manager BlackRock Inc. is looking to boost its presence in Chile through private debt funds, which include a direct debt vehicle in the country that will loan to U.S. companies in need of financing, Diario Financiero reported, citing Roque Calleja, head of Latin America for BlackRock Alternative Specialists.

The history of institutional investors in Chile and a low-interest rate regime allow for this type of product, Calleja said. "The rate levels in Chile allow you to bring private debt funds that have return targets between 10% and 12%," he added.

Last year, BlackRock created a distressed debt fund in Chile that aims to buy the portfolio of financially troubled companies.

According to Calleja, BlackRock has developed different strategies for each of its Latin American operations. In Mexico, where the base rate is above 8% and investor returns reach more than 15%, the company chooses to offer private equity solutions, the executive said.

BlackRock uses the same formula for Chile in Peru and Colombia, while it provides more personalized products in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, where a big portion of its clients are from private banks.