MercadoLibre to invest record US$1.8bil in Brazil


BUENOS AIRES: Latin American e-commerce powerhouse MercadoLibre Inc is more than doubling its Brazilian investment this year, planning to deploy in 2021 the same amount it spent in the past four years combined.

The firm plans to pour a record 10 billion reais (US$1.8bil) into Brazil in 2021, up from 4 billion reais last year, to be spent mostly on expanding its logistics network, said commerce president Stelleo Tolda in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Investments in other Latin American markets should also grow, he added, without providing a full figure for the region.

The Buenos Aires-based company has already announced new distribution centres in Brazil and a dedicated aircraft operated by existing cargo carries.

Ongoing efforts to shorten delivery time continued to bear fruits as the number of new users keeps rising, Tolda said.

“Feedback from clients on our logistics network has been quite positive and that is a key point of our investment strategy, ” he said.

The company’s net revenue totalled US$1.3bil in the fourth quarter, slightly above Bloomberg consensus estimates of US$1.2bil. Gross merchandise volume and total payment volume also beat consensus estimates. MercadoLibre also posted an loss per share of US$1.02.

The strong numbers follow a year in which the coronavirus pandemic pushed Latin Americans to buy more online and increasingly turn to digital payment options. In some countries, public policy also aided the boost, as in the case of Brazil, where a government stipend to those who were hardest hit helped maintain strong volumes, he said. — Bloomberg

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