by Diego Saralegui
Tuesday, June 17, 1997
The Argentine countryside is not an exception to the business deals involving millions of dollars which have lately been closed in our country. The experts consulted stated that many local businessmen now consider the countryside a new option for trying business opportunities with the money obtained from the sale of their companies.
"The market gathers usual buyers, people who have sold their companies and invest part of their income in lands, and also companies like Cresud, which represent foreign investors. They are investment-oriented businessmen who exert a pressure on the prices", said Cristián Beláustegui.
On the other hand, Marcos Lanusse and Mariano Maurette explained: "The future world issue will be food shortage. Our country is seen abroad as a good food producer, apart from offering a greater confidence due to economic stability. The countryside will be a large-scale alternative financial business". Engineer Cazenave added: "The world is observing our lands with approving eyes. They know that the country is trustworthy, that the soil is good and the land is cheaper than in other places".
Jorge Blanco Villegas, who sold part of Philco in late May, recently invested over 40 million dollars in land. In April Cresud, George Soros's agricultural firm, bought La Sofía, a 4,926 hectares (12,172 acres) field in Río Cuarto (Córdoba) for 7.75 million dollars. Shortly afterwards the same company paid 6,326,645 dollars for a 35 per cent of Agro Uranga S.A shares. This company accumulates about 350,000 hectares (864,869 acres), which makes Soros one of the main land owners in the country. These are only some examples marking a new course in the sales of Argentine land.