Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA Bladex (NYSE:BLX) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 14, 2020 • 11:00 am ET

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Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior SA Bladex (NYSE:BLX) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Bladex Fourth Quarter 2019 Conference Call on this 14th day of February 2020. This call is being recorded and is for investors and analysts only. If you are a member of the media, you are invited to listen-only. Bladex has prepared a PowerPoint presentation to accompany their discussion is available through their webcast and on the Bank's corporate website at www.bladex.com.

Joining us today are Mr. Gabriel Tolchinsky, Chief Executive Officer; and Ms. Ana Graciela de Mendez, Chief Financial Officer. Their comments will be based on the earnings release, which was issued earlier today and is available on the corporate website.

The following statement is made pursuant to the safe harbor for forward-looking statements described in the Private Security Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In these communications, we may make certain statements that are forward-looking, such as statements regarding Bladex's future results, plans and anticipated trends in the markets affecting its results and financial condition. These forward-looking statements are Bladex's expectations on the day of the initial broadcast of this conference call and Bladex does not undertake to update these expectations based on subsequent events or knowledge. Various risks, uncertainties and assumptions are detailed in the base press release and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should any of our underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may differ significantly from results expressed or implied in these communications.

And with that, I am pleased to turn the call over to Mr. Tolchinsky for his presentation.

Executive
N. Gabriel Tolchinsky

Thanks, Travis. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. Before Ana Graciela delves into key aspects of our earnings results for the fourth quarter and for full-year 2019, I'd like to discuss some important developments that took place this year and their impact on our perception of risk and financial results. I will address the global macroeconomic context, economic and business environment in Latin America and other specific developments affecting our portfolio. After Ana Graciela's review, I will also address my successor as CEO, reasons for my departure, details of the transition and what US shareholders should expect from Jorge Salas' administration of Bladex.

During our last five quarter conference calls, we mentioned that the credit quality of our portfolio, cost structure, and allowances for expected credit losses set the pace for our earnings generation capacity. Our fourth quarter and all of 2019 results are another step in that direction. In 2019, the global economy experienced its weakest year of growth since the financial crisis, weighed down by tensions that have significantly slowed international trade. According to the IMF, global growth was only 2.9%, significantly below potential which we estimated at 3.8%. The main drivers for the lackluster performance of the world economy were the trade war between the US and China, negative trade flows that disrupted supply chain and idiosyncratic risks in countries such as Italy and Turkey, that along with Brexit affected European growth and in