LT CFO event in Sao Paulo took place on July 28, against a backdrop of extreme volatility around the world.
More than 50 corporate finance professionals participated in the event, during which the Latin Trade Group presented CFO awards to Almir Barbassa of Petrobras and Luiz Felipe Schiriak of Copersucar.
The domestic economy is "growing beyond its potential and inflation is rising. Meanwhile, there is a perception that the currency is very expensive, so traditional policy tools such as interest rates to contain inflation have a limited impact," said Fabio Akira, executive director and chief economist at J.P. Morgan Brazil.
J.P. Morgan is forecasting a deceleration in Brazil's GDP, from a growth rate of 7.5 percent in 2010 to 4 percent in 2011 and 3.8 percent in 2012.
Despite inflation, domestic consumption will continue to outpace the rest of the economy, he said.
Europe's evolving sovereign debt crisis and the risk--since averted--of a U.S. debt default have clouded the global economic outlook. Brazil is nonetheless likely to benefit from strong, ongoing foreign investments, Akira added.
CFO award honoree Barbassa was lauded in the category of expansion. A few days prior to the event, Petrobras had unveiled a five-year investment plan and Barbassa said the company is investing $200 million every work day.
Petrobras has set a production target of 4 million barrels per day by 2015, which would be equivalent to the current output of ExxonMobil, and of 6.4 million barrels per day by 2020.
In order to achieve those goals, Petrobras has had to mobilize numerous suppliers along an extended supply chain. It has helped set up a special program with sex large retail banks in Brazil for its suppliers. "They can have access to credit and benefit from the visibility of Petrobras receivables" and lower their costs, Barbassa said.
The CFO of Copersucar, Luis Felipe Schiriak, received an award for dynamic growth, as the sugar and ethanol producer has reported huge increases in revenue and profits.
Copersucar is investing in expanding its storage capacity and plans to double its export capacity from the port of Santos to 10 million tons, Schiriak said. The company also owns a 20 percent stake in an ethanol pipeline project whose partners include Petrobras,...