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Bradesco expects companies to raise up to $4.5 bln by year-end

(Adds CEO comments, background)

By Tatiana Bautzer

NEW YORK, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Banco Bradesco SA expects Brazilian companies to raise up to 15 billion reais ($4.5 billion) in new share offerings by year-end as Latin America's largest economy continues to recover.

Firms already have raised around 39 billion reais so far in 2017, executive director Renato Ejnisman said, as signs of newfound economic strength, global demand for emerging-market assets and government austerity efforts have lifted the nation's benchmark stock index to all-time highs.

Companies are now increasingly using proceeds of their share offerings to fund investments and expand capacity, instead of repaying debt, Ejnisman said, a sign that the economic recovery may be stepping up a notch.

Bradesco is hosting its seventh annual CEO Forum in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday, which brings together senior executives from 90 Latin American companies with around 300 investors.

Ejnisman said some companies are rushing ahead with their listings in order to avoid market volatility that is likely to spike ahead of the Brazil's presidential elections in October 2018.

Bankers and fund managers had told Reuters that could make the third week of December the busiest for IPOs in four years as several companies push ahead with their listings before the year-end holidays.

Investor interest in Brazilian assets could remain strong through next year if there is a clear sign that Brazil's next president will commit to fiscal discipline and market-friendly policies, Bradesco executives said.

Chief Executive Officer Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi said investors are clearly more optimistic towards Brazil in spite of electoral uncertainty.

"I think Brazilian society will choose a candidate committed to an agenda of fiscal discipline," Trabuco told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

Trabuco, who is also Bradesco's chairman, will chose his successor as CEO before a shareholders assembly in March 2018. His pick from a group of seven vice-presidents will be tasked with increasing the bank's efficiency in a bid to maintain profitability amid falling interest rates.

($1 = 3.3034 reais) (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)