Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bladex?
Bladex is a supranational bank originally established by the Central Banks of Latin American and Caribbean countries to promote trade finance in the Region. Based in Panama, its shareholders include central banks and state-owned entities in 23 countries in the Region, as well as Latin American and international commercial banks, along with institutional and retail investors.
When was Bladex founded?
The Bank was established pursuant to a May 1975 proposal of the XX Assembly of Governors of central banks in the Region, which recommended the creation of a supranational organization to increase the Region’s foreign trade financing capacity. The Bank was constituted in 1978 as a corporation pursuant to the laws of Panama and commenced operations on January 2, 1979. Panama was selected as the location of the Bank’s headquarters because of the country’s importance as a banking center in the Region, the benefits of a fully U.S. dollar-based economy, the absence of foreign exchange controls, its geographic location, and the quality of its communications facilities. Under Contract No. 103-78 signed between Panama and Bladex, the Bank was granted certain privileges by the government of Panama, including an exemption from payment of income taxes in Panama.
What is Bladex’s ownership structure?
As of September 30, 2013 the Bank's ownership structure is as follows:
- Class A common shares: 16.48% issued in the name of central banks and designated state institutions of 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Class B common shares: 6.56% issued in the name of banks and other financial institutions.
- Class E common shares: 76.96% issued in the name of private investors, whose shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Class F common shares: 0%, only be issued in the name of state entities and agencies of non-Latin American countries, including, among others, central banks and banks in which the State is the majority shareholder, of those countries; or multilateral financial institutions, be it international or regional institutions.
Its unique and stable shareholding structure provides Bladex with solid institutional backing across countries and market participants.
What are Bladex’s competitive advantages?
As a supranational bank, Bladex is a truly regional, cross-border bank operating in 23 countries that leverages a strong trade finance focus with an unrivaled commitment to Latin America. The Bank possesses extensive knowledge of business practices, risk and regulatory environments, accumulated over decades of doing business throughout the entire Region. Its network of correspondent banking institutions and access to capital markets spans the globe. Bladex provides foreign commerce solutions to a select client base of premier Latin-American financial institutions and corporations. With its unique institutional backing, strong capitalization and prudent risk management, Bladex is recognized by counterparties in many jurisdictions as a bank with preferred creditor status.
What is Bladex’s business model?
Bladex's business model focuses on providing products and services along the entire trade finance value chain. Its target client base comprises the corporations that are active in foreign commerce, both on the import-side as well as on the export-side, and the domestic financial institutions that cater to these corporations with broad-based banking services.
Bladex's business activities are conducted in 23 jurisdictions through-out Latin America, and managed by two business segments:
The Commercial Division is responsible for the Bank’s core business of financial intermediation and fee generation activities. The division’s portfolio includes loans and contingencies. The majority of the Bank’s loans are extended in connection with specifically identified foreign trade transactions. Through its revenue diversification strategy, the Bank’s Commercial Division has introduced a broader range of products, services and solutions associated with foreign trade, including co-financing arrangements, underwriting of syndicated credit facilities, structured trade financing, asset-based financing in the form of factoring, vendor financing and leasing, and other fee-based services, such as electronic clearing services.
The Treasury and Capital Markets Division is responsible for the Bank's liquidity management and investment securities activities, including management of the Bank's interest rate, liquidity, price and currency risks.
The Asset Management Unit, which was comprised of the Bank's interests in BAM Brazil, BCG, BLX Brazil Ltd. And Bladex Asset Management was responsible for the Bank's asset management activities, including its investments in the Investment Funds. The Asset Management Unit has been reported as a discontinued operation as of December 31, 2012, following the Bank's decision to divest the operations of this Unit in the fourth quarter of 2012. A definitive agreement to sell the Asset Management Unit was announced on April 2, 2013.
How does Bladex obtain its funding?
The Bank's principal sources of funds are deposits, borrowed funds and floating and fixed rate placements. While these sources are expected to continue providing the majority of the funds required by the Bank in the future, the exact composition of the Bank’s funding sources, as well as the possible use of other sources of funds, will depend upon future economic and market conditions.
How does Bladex manage its liquidity?
For Bladex, effective liquidity management is a top priority. Bladex’s liquid assets are mainly held in the form of interbank placements with reputable banks from OECD countries that have been assigned either A1, P1, or F1 ratings from two of the major internationally recognized rating agencies. Most of those banks with which Bladex places its liquidity are located outside of Latin America.
The Bank’s liquidity policy also allows for investing short-term liquid funds in negotiable money market instruments, including certificates of deposit, commercial paper, banker's acceptances, and other liquid instruments, with maturities of up to three years. These instruments must be of investment grade quality (rating of 'A' or better), and must demonstrate high levels of liquidity in the secondary market.
The Bank continually monitors its liquidity position, and the market factors that could affect that position, during the course of each business day. Bladex applies a set of limits, approved by the Board of Directors, to restrict its overall liquidity risk. Specific limits have been established to control cumulative maturity “gaps” between assets and liabilities, for each maturity classification presented in the Bank’s internal liquidity reports. Maturity concentrations are also controlled through the application a customized version of Basel III's Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) methodology. The Bank determines the minimum amount of liquidity to be maintained at the end of each day in function of a customized version of Basel III's Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) methodology.
As a precautionary measure, since the onset of the global financial crisis in September 2008, the Bank has consistently maintained a cash position well in excess of the minimum required. In the wake of the international liquidity crisis of late 2008, the Bank also fully revised its Contingent Liquidity Policy in light of new international standards and best practice.
What is Bladex´s value proposition to shareholders and investors?
As a well-recognized market leader in the Latin-American foreign commerce space, Bladex provides a unique window into the entire Latin-American Region by virtue of doing business in nearly all its countries. Its risk profile is well balanced, with a focus on trade finance, a low risk asset class, and with the vast majority of its exposures concentrated in investment-grade countries. Bladex conducts its business on the long-held basis of professional expertise and financial solidity, catering to reputable market participants. These elements, together with an attractive valuation, sustained business growth and profitability, and an attractive dividend yield make BLX a compelling investment.
What is Bladex’s dividend policy?
On a quarterly basis, Bladex’s Board of Director declares and pays dividends to its common stockholders. During 2012, the Bank paid a total of $1.10 in common dividends.
Where are Bladex’s shares traded, and what is the ticker symbol?
Bladex shares are directly listed on The New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BLX.
How many shares does Bladex have outstanding?
As of September 30, 2013, there were 38,478,874.59 issued and outstanding common shares.
How do I purchase Bladex stock?
If you are not a registered shareholder, you must purchase shares of Bladex stock through a stock broker or investment advisor. If you wish to hold your shares in registered form, you must notify the broker to arrange the issuance of your shares. Many brokers charge a fee for this service.
How do I contact Bladex’s investor relation department?
Christopher Schech, Executive Vice President - Chief Financial Officer
Ana María Chiquilani de Sosa
Assistant Vice President - Regulatory Reporting & Investor Relations
Luisa de Polo,
Manager - Shareholder Relations