Author: Gordon Platt
Seeking to raise its profile with international investors, BRMalls, Brazil’s largest shopping mall operator, upgraded its restricted American depositary receipt program to a Level I facility sponsored by J.P. Morgan. Rio de Janeiro-based BRMalls offers an opportunity for investors to tap into Brazil’s consumption boom. Sales at the company’s 34 malls rose 23% last year to more than $4 billion. BRMalls has an ownership interest of about 43% in its mall portfolio. It is currently developing five new malls and plans 11 expansions. In addition to buying malls and building new ones, the company provides management and consulting services for shopping, commercial and business centers. It also offers leasing and merchandising services for stores and common spaces in shopping centers. Under its new Level I program, BRMalls’ ADRs are traded in the US over-the-counter market, with each ADR equivalent to two common shares listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange. Previously, BRMalls had a restricted ADR program, which meant that only qualified institutional buyers managing at least $100 million could buy and sell its shares. Restricted ADRs do not require review by the US Securities and Exchange Commission or reconciliation with generally accepted accounting principles. They can be traded only on Nasdaq’s portal, an electronic trading system for privately traded securities. In addition to upgrading its ADR program, BRMalls created a new investor relations website, making it easier for the public to find relevant up-to-date information on the company.