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Companies to watch: industry leaders expect dynamic growth in 2005.

EQUANT

Latin American multinationals will increasingly rely on communications as an engine of growth in 2005. An effective network infrastructure is critical to reaching new prospects worldwide, while meeting customers' demands for 24/7 service, according to Francisco Navarro, vice-president Sales & Marketing, Equant Latin America.

"Effective, seamless and secure business communications are a key enabler of strategic advantage for today's large multinational corporations," says Navarro, whose company is a leader in delivering outsourced solutions to multinationals throughout the region. "Well-managed communications systems are also critical for lowering operating costs and meeting essential business continuity and regulatory compliance issues."

Equant's fully managed solutions encompass optimization of network for application support, security, telephony, mobility messaging and infrastructure management, providing a key strategic asset for large corporations. They are adapted to each customer's unique requirements and can easily be extended to a global level.

The key benefits for Latin American customers in banking, manufacturing, services and many other industries, include a reduced total cost of ownership and a greater ability to focus on their core businesses.

Equant has unmatched network coverage among global telecom providers in Latin America and the Caribbean with more than 160 network points of presence (POPs) in 31 countries. Equant maintains a Class A hosting facility in Sao Paulo and a global customer service center in Rio de Janeiro.

Major customers in the region include Burns Philip (Argentina), Cementos Bio-Bio y Correos de Chile, (Chile), Carvajal (Colombia), Merck (Mexico), and CVG (Venezuela). Equant also supports leading Latin financial companies such as Banco Itau, Citibank, Banco de Credito, BANESCO and Banco Canarias.

Equant's 450+ Latin America regional team is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, with sales offices in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. Equant also benefits from the full support of France Telecom, its strategic shareholder. For more information, visit www.equant.com.

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world's largest and most global hotel company, is continuing its expansion strategy in Latin America. In Brazil, IHG is opening the Crowne Plaza Curitiba and the Holiday Inn Express Santa Felicidade in Curitiba, in one of the country's fastest growing cities. Other new IHG properties include the Holiday Inn Salvador Bahia, and the Holiday Inn Select Belem.

"Brazil continues to demonstrate positive results for our mid-market hotel group, making it an ideal location for continued expansion of the Holiday Inn properties," says Alvaro Diago, area president of InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America.

IHG's properties in Brazil include the Holiday Inn Select Jaragua and the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi; both opened in 2004 in Sao Paulo. The Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi is the third largest IHG property in the Americas and the fifth largest Holiday Inn in the world. Recently, IHG opened the Holiday Inn Express Santa Fe in Santa Fe, Argentina, and the Holiday Inn Express Santiago, in Santiago, Chile. IHG also plans to develop the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort in Panama, complementing its resort properties in Mexico and the Caribbean.

One of IHG's landmark properties, The Crowne Plaza Buenos Aires-Panamericano in Buenos Aires was recently honored for its multi-million dollar renovation. In the Caribbean, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Aruba and Holiday Inn Jamaica are undergoing comprehensive renovations.

IHG has been serving Latin America for over 58 years and is represented in nearly every key market in Central and South America, making it one of the leading mid-market hotel companies in Latin America. IHG's portfolio includes InterContinental[R] Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza[R] Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn[R] Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express[R], Staybridge Suites[R], Candlewood Suites[R] and Hotel Indigo. For more information, visit www.ihgplc.com.

SEABOARD MARINE

In 2005, Seaboard Marine, Ltd. is expecting increased demand for its ocean transportation services between the United States and the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America.

Reasons for the company's optimism range include the potential passing of DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic, Central America Free Trade Agreement), the existing Chilean Free Trade Agreement as well as the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. Another factor is the weak dollar, which is creating a strong demand for U.S. products in international markets. Rebuilding efforts from the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean are also fueling north-south trade.

With a fleet of more than 30 vessels, Miami-based Seaboard Marine is well equipped to handle all types of cargo, including oversized project and wearing apparel cargoes for the 807/9802 program. Seaboard Marine is the largest volume tenant at the Port of Miami and operates as a non-union entity in a 75-acre private terminal, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To protect cargo, Seaboard Marine has installed the most advanced, state-of-the-art, motion sensitive security system in the United States, which will be monitored by U.S. Customs 24 hours a day. Seaboard also owns a port in Houston (Jacintoport) and has operations in New Orleans. For more information, visit www.seaboardmarine.com.

HAMBURG SUD

A leader in north-south container shipping, inter-modal logistics services and the transport of temperature-sensitive cargoes, Hamburg Sud is enhancing its services to Latin America.

In 2005, the company will upgrade its Europe-East Coast South America service fleet with six new containerships (5,552 TEUs, 1,365 reefer plugs, 23.3 knots).

The firm's Brazilian-flag subsidiary, Alianca, has strengthened its Andes cabotage service linking Brazilian ports with Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and Chile. The service provides shippers with a cost-effective alternative to long-haul trucking, and reliable and enhanced links to Hamburg Sud's mainline services connecting Latin America with major markets worldwide.

Investment in modern trucking services in Venezuela and trucking and warehouse facilities in the Amazonian port of Manaus reflect the company's commitment to providing customers with modern reliable equipment and dependable professional services.

Ongoing investments include a sizable and growing inventory of state-of-the-art Volumax[TM] refrigerated containers to serve expanded Latin American trade in flowers, fruit, fresh and frozen produce and seafood. The modern boxes offer shippers the largest usable interior capacity of any similar equipment on the market today.

Hamburg Sud services link all of Latin America with Europe and the Mediterranean, both coasts of North America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia, India and Pakistan, and South Africa. For more information, visit www.hamburgsued.com.

INTERMARINE LLC

With the recent by an affiliate company of Joe D. Hughes terminal in Houston, Intermarine LLC is well positioned for growth in Latin America in the upcoming year.

The deep-water ocean terminal, renamed Industrial Terminals, specializes in the handling of heavy lifts, oversized and related project materials. The facility is one of the largest terminal operations of its kind in the United States. It consists of about 120 acres containing deep-water berths for up to four ocean vessels and more than 2,000 feet of barge dock.

"This acquisition is both a strategic move to guarantee a permanent home for our services, and an investment in the port of Houston that we feel complements our asset portfolio," says Roger Kavanagh, president. Overall, services managed by Intermarine make about 175 vessel calls a year in Houston and handle about one million revenue tons of project, breakbulk and related cargoes.

Intermarine is a worldwide provider of ocean transport as well as inland heavy haul transportation services for breakbulk, specialized project and heavy lift cargoes. Its global sailings include regularly scheduled services between the United States and the Americas, Asia, and other worldwide destinations including Africa. For more information, visit www.intermarineusa.com.

SONY BROADCAST & PROFESSIONAL LATIN AMERICA

Sony is expanding its line of professional video options in the Americas with the introduction of a complete high-definition video production system. "This is our main focus in 2005 as Sony continues to serve the region's broadcast and professional markets," says Juan Carlos Mejia, sales and marketing director, Sony Broadcast & Professional Latin America (Sony BPLA).

Sony's new HVR-Z1U camcorder and HVR-M10U VTR-planned to be available in February--form the core of an entry-level high-definition (HD) acquisition and playback solution, designed to provide video professionals with a flexible and affordable migration to the rapidly expanding world of HD.

"High definition capabilities are becoming a necessity rather than an option at every level of the production chain," says Bob Ott, vice president of professional audio and video products in Sony Electronics' Broadcast and Production Systems Division. "The key to our HDV system is versatility and backwards compatibility. Users can upgrade from standard definition equipment to HD all at once or when it makes the most sense for their operations."

A division of Sony Latin America Inc., Sony BPLA provides advanced technology products, systems, training and support to every nation in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, visit www.sony.com.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS LATIN AMERICA

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Latin America will continue expanding its offerings in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005. "Our focus is on resort destinations with good direct airlift and access from the United States," says Ricardo Suarez, director of development. "Our fast-growing global brands are well-suited for these types of destinations."

In August, Starwood opened Paraguay's first international hotel, the Sheraton Asuncion, which caters to the regional corporate market as well as international business travelers. In Mexico, Starwood opened Hacienda Campeche and Nikki Beach in the Westin Puerto Vallarta, and completed a major renovation of the meeting and convention facilities in the Sheraton Marisabel in Mexico City.

Under the direction of Osvaldo Librizzi, CEO and president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Latin America operates 44 properties in 10 Latin American countries. With internationally

renowned brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, visit www.starwood.com.

KUEHNE + NAGEL

With air and sea cargo shipments on the rise, outsourced logistics solutions allow Latin American shippers to consolidate their buying power, according to Bob Mihok, regional president Kuehne + Nagel South America Management S.A., Buenos Aires. "The benefits include cost savings and simpler shipment tracking," he says.

Kuehne + Nagel has invested in advanced information technology systems that offer customers full transparency throughout their supply chains. All 56 Kuehne + Nagel offices in Latin America are connected to the company's worldwide operating system, as well as to KN Login, its real-time tracking and tracing system. KN Login also provides shippers with complete vendor follow-up tools, including scanned commercial documents available online after a cargo vessel sailing.

In Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, Kuehne + Nagel operates its own warehousing and distribution facilities totaling more than 1.5 million square feet. Kuehne + Nagel's warehouse management system allows customers to check their stock via the Internet 24/7 from anywhere in the world. In the rest of Latin America, Kuehne + Nagel has partnered with local best-in-class warehouse and distribution providers, such as Yobel in Peru and Venezuela, and Open Market in Colombia. For more information, visit www.kn-portal.com.
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Comment:Companies to watch: industry leaders expect dynamic growth in 2005.
Publication:Latin Trade
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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