SMBC moves into Colombia

The Japan-headquartered international banking group has launched a representative office in Bogota with the aim of gaining “more business in sectors where SMBC has a competitive edge, such as project finance”.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), the Japan-based international banking group which has a large project finance resource, has opened a new representative office in the Colombian capital, Bogota.

From there, the bank will target business opportunities in the Andes region, comprising Colombia, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. SMBC already has Latin American offices in Brazil and Mexico.

In a statement, the bank said the Andes region was continuing to see “solid growth” and that further economic development would produce opportinities in sectors where it claims to have a competitive edge, such as project finance.

It added that Japanese and South Korean companies were leading the way as Asian companies increasingly participated in projects in the region. It said the Bogota office would offer “sophisticated financial solutions” for projects in the areas of oil and gas, natural resources, energy and power.

Colombia has attracted an increasing amount of interest from infrastructure investors, with public-private partnerships at the heart of government plans to invest more than $24 billion in the country’s infrastructure in 2009 and 2010.

In August, financial close was announced for the third and final stretch of Colombia’s 1,071-kilometre Ruta del Sol highway. The $900 million stretch was awarded to Yuma Concesionaria, a consortium led by Italian construction company Impregilo and financial group Bancolombia.