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Chile’s Cruz Blanca raises $236 million in IPO

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Chilean health-care company Cruz Blanca Salud (CRUZBLANCA.SN) debuted on the Santiago Stock Exchange, listing 222.1 million shares at 500 pesos ($1.05) a piece to raise $233.8 million for its growth plans. Cruz Blanca Salud is the fourth initial public offering this year, after only one IPO in 2010. Chilean companies are looking to harness a healthy investor appetite and robust economic growth as the Andean nation continues recovering from the 2009 recession and the February 2010 earthquake. “We’re very satisfied with the outcome of the IPO. We believe this reflects the huge amount of confidence investors have in the company,” Salvador Said, Cruz Blanca Salud’s president told reporters on the sidelines of the local bourse. Cruz Blanca Salud’s IPO was nearly six times oversubscribed despite less-than-optimal “conditions in foreign and local markets,” Said said. In recent weeks, Greece’s sovereign-debt woes and fears about weak economic growth in the U.S. have kept global equity markets on edge, while Chilean retailer Empresas La Polar SA’s (LAPOLAR.SN) ongoing financial and legal troubles took the wind out of local market. The blue-chip Ipsa index reeled, with the retail sector leading the way lower, after La Polar disclosed questionable business practices in its in-store credit card division and said it needed to set aside nearly $900 million to cover bad loans to its customers.

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