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Washington, D.C., January 10, 2007 - Darby Overseas Investments Ltd. ("Darby"), the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments and a leading provider of private equity and mezzanine capital in emerging markets, announced that its Darby - BBVA Latin America Private Equity Fund (DBVA) made a $25.2 million equity investment in BRA Transporteos Aereos ("BRA"). The investment was made through Brazil Air Partners ("BAP"), a new investment vehicle formed by a group of global institutional investors.
BRA is Brazil's fourth largest scheduled flight operator and the first Brazilian airline created exclusively for charter flights. The other investors in BAP include Bank of America, Development Capital, Gavea Investment Fund, Goldman Sachs & Co., HBK Investments, and Millennium Americas. The majority of the voting equity capital and the company's management remain with BRA founders, the brothers Humberto and Walter Folegatti.
The investment is the fifth in DBVA's portfolio and its second in Brazil after ALESAT, the country's sixth largest fuel distributor with nationwide presence. Richard H. Frank, Darby's Chief Executive Officer, commented: "Brazil is a core market for Darby and this second investment by DBVA in Brazil reinforces our long-term commitment to the country. We are pleased to be part of this investor group taking an important equity stake in BRA which is a fast growing company in a key economic sector that itself has very strong growth potential."
Darby's Peter Jones, Managing Director, and Cristina Penteado, Vice President, will represent DBVA on the Board of Directors of both BRA and BAP.
Humberto Folegatti, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BRA, added: "Until now, it has been possible to grow our company as a family business. With the new challenges faced by the industry, we decided to access capital provided by global investors, and invest in the management team. This initiative enhances our capabilities and accelerates our growth."
Launched in partnership with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. [NYSE:BBV], the $175 million DBVA fund has already made investments in high growth sectors within Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic markets. In addition to its investment in BRA and ALESAT, the fund also owns stakes in Border Media Partners LLC, the largest privately owned U.S. Hispanic radio-company, in number of stations, operating along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, Laboratorios Kendrick S.A., one of the leading manufacturers of generic drugs in Mexico, and Grupo Empresarial Metropolitano, S.A. de C.V., Mexico City's leading developer of affordable housing.
Darby Overseas Investments was founded in 1994 by The Honorable Nicholas F. Brady, who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury between 1988 and 1993. In 2003 Darby became a fully owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN], a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary Trust, and Darby investment teams. The San Mateo, California-based company has more than 50 years of investment experience and over US$541 billion in assets under management as of November 30, 2006.