In its eighth Latin deal of the year and its second for the same company, Chase Manhattan Corp. said it has advised Italy's Parmalat SpA on the purchase of Frutera Industrial CA, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan industrial group Corimon Sacalif.

No purchase price was disclosed for the transaction.

Chase's merger and acquisition business in Latin America is important because it is part of the global franchise that made the bank so attractive to its merger partner, Chemical Banking Corp.

The two banks are scheduled to complete their merger in the first quarter, creating a $300 billion-asset behemoth, with offices in 51 countries and in 39 of the 50 states.

Chase entered the Latin M&A market in 1992, taking on the likes of J.P. Morgan & Co. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. The bank has been steadily expanding the scope of its activities by helping large multinational companies acquire units for sale in Latin America and by helping Latin companies expand into new markets.

Latin American industries have accelerated cross-border consolidations over the last few years as a result of deregulation and the creation of regional free-trade zones.

At least part of the reason for the spurt in merger activity in the region has been the economic crisis that started in Mexico last December, which rattled a number of other countries there.

Laura Drachman, vice president in New York for Latin mergers and acquisitions, said difficulties Latin companies later faced raising capital pushed them into selling off units to multinationals or into strategic alliances that helped improve their production and marketing.

"The Mexican crisis hasn't resulted in a slowdown in M&A, but it has affected companies' ability to finance acquisitions," Ms. Drachman said. "Mergers and acquisitions are a good alternative for companies that need capital but aren't able to access capital markets because of current conditions."

When Chase and Chemical combine early next year, the two banks will merge their Latin M&A operations.

Chemical also has been active in the area, advising the government of Argentina in its sale of residual holdings in the Argentine electric sector. Chemical also recently advised Stone Container on its purchase of Venepal, the largest pulp and paper manufacturer in Venezuela.

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