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Source: Bloomberg
By: Carolina Millan

Argentina’s equity markets are gaining momentum, with $3.5 billion ready to go public as some of the country’s largest companies look to raise capital for the first time.

Cement-maker Loma Negra Cia Industrial Argentina SA and agribusiness group Molino Canuelas Sacifia are among a half-dozen companies working to sell shares overseas in the next six months. That would be the most equity-market debuts -- and the greatest value -- since at least 2007, when four firms raised a total of $1.6 billion during the entire calendar year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The planned stock offerings are following in the footsteps of Argentine corporate bond sales, which have amounted to $5.7 billion in the international market this year. The equity pipeline solidified after President Mauricio Macri’s pro-market party made a strong showing in August’s mid-term primaries, making room for him to push through needed labor and tax changes. The results encouraged both companies and longer-term investors to bet on the country, said Sebastian Loketek, Bank of America’s head of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, in an interview. The final vote is scheduled for Oct. 22.