Latin America: Debut for ADELA

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Businessmen the world over agree about the urgent needs of Latin America's economy, but the foreign investor's recent tendency has been to reduce rather than increase his commitment there. To speed the southward flow of capital and induce more wealthy Europeans and Japanese to help out, a blue-ribbon group of 100 free-world businessmen met in Paris to launch a development corporation for Latin America that is both private and multinational.

The new Atlantic Community Development Group for Latin America, dubbed ADELA, intends to invest primarily in medium-sized consumer-goods industries. It will also buy shares in other businesses that have high potential, some risk, and a tough time securing capital from local sources. ADELA plans to raise $40 million from 80 or more companies in the rich Northern Hemisphere; with this it hopes to attract another $160 million from such sources as the World Bank and the Latin American moneymen, who are normally wary of investing in their own homelands. So far, a dozen firms have pledged up to $500,000 each, including Italy's Fiat, Belgium's Petrofina, Switzerland's Swiss Bank Corp., a Japanese consortium, and the U.S.'s IBM and Standard Oil (N.J.).

ADELA still conspicuously lacks capital support from affluent German, French and Canadian companies, and still has to prove that it can turn a private profit in chaotic Latin America. But the man who originated the idea for the organization and won it early support, New York Republican Senator Jacob Javits, feels confident enough to let the businessmen take over while he steps down to an advisory role.