Recent history in Brazil has seen a push towards identifying and weeding out the linkages between corporate and political networks that have intertwined over decades to breed a culture of impunity.
The ongoing investigations under Operation Lava Jato continue to uncover steadily the scale of the kickbacks and fraudulent nature of numerous corporate contracts across sectors, with federal prosecutors seeking to recover approximately USD12 billion from those implicated. These attempts at justice and reform, however, are still very much in their infancy in the long road to truly addressing a political and corporate nexus where systemic corruption has become endemic. This was the backdrop to a trip to the country in August 2019, where meetings with management teams repeatedly reiterated the crucial nature of investing alongside stewards who demonstrate competence, integrity and humility.
As a team, we constantly try to challenge our conceptions about franchises and their stewards and as such, we spent some time during this trip with a few companies that we have not met in some years, revisiting our views about them.