By Tatiana Bautzer
NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Buyout firms' interest in Brazilian targets is growing stronger as interest rates head to all-time lows, a senior executive at the nation's No. 3 listed bank Banco Bradesco SA said on Thursday.
Brazil's central bank has cut rates by 675 basis points since the benchmark Selic interest rate hit a 9-year peak last year. This could reduce funding costs and ease the risks of leveraged acquisitions, which are commonly pursued by buyout firms.
"The M&A outlook in Brazil is changing rapidly," Leandro Miranda, head of Bradesco BBI's investment banking division, said at the sidelines of a conference with investors in New York.
Stricter due diligence proceedings have slowed merger and acquisition deals, after the widest-ever corruption probe in the country forced big construction conglomerates to put a stream of assets on the block.
As companies ensnared in the corruption probe finish their asset-sale plans and lower interest rates ease debt refinancings, M&A activity tends to shift towards firms that could benefit from the nascent economic recovery, Miranda said.
Revival of capital markets activity in Brazil may also provide an exit to buyout firms' investments and an incentive to deploy more capital in new targets, he added.
Initial public offerings on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, have raised $3.4 billion so far this year, more than the three previous years combined. Companies are racing to go public this year amid concerns a wide-open 2018 election may cool demand for new stock issues, Reuters reported.
Bradesco is the largest bank in acquisition finance in Brazil, with around 70 percent of market share. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)