William Nobrega is not being pessimistic about business opportunities in Latin America when he suggests U.S. companies with operations there should consider viable exit strategies for leaving those markets.  But the Atlanta-based consultant stresses the importance of contingency planning when investing in emerging markets.

      The growth possibilities of emerging markets can blind planners to making strategic choices, he told GlobalFax in a telephone interview last week.  A particular emerging market may offer great potential for one company and be completely disastrous for another.

      While Latin American countries’ growth prospects still are positive, he added, the ramifications of the Asian financial crisis should not be taken lightly.  For instance, increasing Asian exports can only hurt Latin American current account deficits forcing devaluations and a variety of other negative economic consequences.

      Mr. Nobrega, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces as well as a business consultant to the accounting firm Deloite & Touche and the European Union, formed his consulting company, The Conrad Group Inc., in Atlanta last year to help companies assess growth opportunities, risks and rewards of operating in emerging markets.

      An enthusiast about the opportunities that emerging markets provide for maximizing shareholder value, Mr. Nobrega, however, is very much the realist about dealing in those markets.

      The factors which are fueling the growth in these markets now are by no means permanent or irreversible, he said. It is a common fallacy that these countries are too far down the road to capitalism and that it would be impossible for them to turn back.

      For more information, Mr. Nobrega may be reached by calling (404) 239-1621; fax (404) 869-6747.