Brazil and Mexico are the key countries in the international expansion programs of Spanish family-owned businesses that want to establish themselves in Latin America, the priority destination for 22 percent of those companies, ahead of Europe and Asia.

The majority of the family-owned small- and mid-sized firms entered Latin America starting in 2002 in the wake of the big Spanish multinationals that had set up operations in the region in the 1990s, thanks to acquisitions or participation by local companies, both public and private.

Brazil and Mexico are the main target countries for these companies, given that these nations offer high growth potential and have a booming middle class.

"Brazil is no longer just a promise ... it's a reality that has an extraordinary (situation) from all points of view," Grupo Borges CEO Josep Pont said, after emphasizing the "diversity and asymmetry" that exists in Latin America.

Grupo Borges, a hundred-year-old company, has had a presence in Latin America for 30 years.

The firm's corporate marketing director, Carlos Velazquez, said that products must adapt to each market and in the case of the family-owned business it can best do this by working closely with its historic partners.

Grupo Roca, a firm created in 1917, entered Latin America for the first time through Argentina and in 1999 it expanded into Brazil thanks to the purchase of the multinational Laufen.

The processes of internationalization of family-owned businesses has intensified in recent years, and - according to the Family Business Barometer for 2013 - 74 percent of the family-owned firms increased their activity abroad.

The 7th report of the IE Business School on Spanish investment in Latin America emphasizes that the majority of the main companies present in the region forecast that their revenue from Latin America will be greater than that derived from Spain over the coming three years. EFE