Alberto C. Motta Cardoze together with his two sons Stanley and Alberto Jr, in the 90’s, and after a great political and financial instability in Panama, take up the challenge of founding Inversiones Bahía.

Alberto C. Motta Cardoze, brought with him more than 50 years of business experience. His first steps started in 1936, with the sale of perfumes and liquors to the tourist in the cruise ships that transited the Panama Canal.

Learn more about the legacy of:
Alberto C. Motta Cardoze | Alberto “Pancho” Motta Jr.

Growing together with the development of Panama and the region

  • 1936

    With the establishment of the Motta store in Colon, Alberto C. Motta Cardoze moves in to the city and resides there for 52 years. foto-0463-copy
  • 1940

    Motta & Motta sells products to cruise ships transiting the Panama Canal.
  • 1945

    Terminales Panama S.A. becomes the first transisthmian cargo transport company .
  • 1948

    Colon Free Zone is established. zlc
  • 1949

    Motta & Motta inaugurates in Panama the first duty-free shop in the Western hemisphere.
  • 1952

    Colon Free Zone issued its first license to operate. The first company was Motta Internacional, started with three employees.
  • 1955

    Motta Internacional distributes brands of perfumes and cosmetics. First contract is established with Dior.
  • 1965

    Motta Internacional ventures in the electronics distribution business.
  • 1968

    Alberto C. Motta Cardoze  joins COPA Airlines as Director. copa That same year, Alberto C. Motta Cardoze with his brother Roberto become members of ASSA´s Board of Directors.
  • 1972

    Banco Continental initiates operations. banco-continental
  • 1975

    Motta Internacional adds Cartier as part of its Brand Portfolio.
  • 1980

    ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A. begins operations with general insurance, surety, life and health.

    The first brach of Banco Continental de Panamá is inaugurated in the Colon Free Zone. This ws the first branch of a Panamanian private bank to be established in the area.

    Copa Airlines withdraws from the domestic market and focus on its international reach. It incorporates a Boeing 737 -100.
  • 1986

    Alberto C. Motta Cardoze acquires majority shares of Copa Airlines, with two aircrafts and two hundred employees. .
  • 1990

    A group of eleven Panamanian investors founded Grupo Televisora Nacional S.A. (TVN Media)
  • 1991

    General Business Machines (GBM) of IBM is established by a group of Central American entrepreneurs.
  • 1992

    Copa Airlines began operations in the first hub for flights within Latin America based in Panama City, creating the "Hub of the Americas" at Tocumen International Airport.
  • 1994

    Compañía Panameña de Seguros S.A., Compañía Interamericana de Seguros S.A., and Compañía General de Seguros S.A. merge into ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A.
  • 1995

    It is established in Panama, Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), a US and Panamanian private equity firm, affiliated to Carrix, Inc., main division of SSA Marine, the largest US marine terminal operator, docks and railways.

    Costa del Este development initiates.
  • 1996

    American Honda Motor Co. US designates Bahia Motors as the authorized dealer in Panama of the vehicle brand Honda, starts operations with 44 employees.
  • 1997

    Alberto Motta Foundation (Emily Motta Foundation) is established.

    Inversiones Bahia acquires majority shares of Industrias Panama Boston S.A.

    United Distillers, known today as Global Brands, appoints Motta Internacional as its exclusive distributor in Panama and the Colon Free Zone.
  • 1998

    Copa Airlines signs a strategic alliance with Continental Airlines.

    Inversiones Bahia acquires Productos Alimenticios Pascual S.A., Pascual Hermanos S.A., Panificadora Moderna S.A. & Celloprint S.A.
  • 1999

    Copa Airlines launches new image.

    Inversiones Bahia sells a percentage of the shares of Industrias Panama Boston S.A. to Numar Group from Costa Rica.

    ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A. acquires Real Panameña de Seguros, S.A.

    Motta Internacional signs a contract with Nintendo to handle distribution within limited regions of Latin America .
  • 2000

    Telecarrier, company that provides corporate telecommunications services in Panama, begins operations.

    Inversiones Bahia sells Celloprint, S.A.
  • 2001

    Carisam, liquor distribution company in the US, joins Motta Internacional.
  • 2002

    Banco Continental de Panama S.A. acquires Banco Internacional de Panama S.A. (BIPAN). That same year, Grupo Financiero Continental S.A. acquires Banco Alemán Platina S.A.
  • 2004

    Banco Continental acquires Wall Street Securities S.A.

    Inversiones Bahia sells Productos Alimenticios Pascual S.A. to Casa Laker from Colombia.

    Motta Internacional reaches an agreement with Nintendo, becoming the exclusive distributor for all of Latin America.
  • 2005

    Copa Holdings, S.A. (NYSE: CPA) Copa Airlines enters trading on the Stock Exchange of New York, becoming the third Latin American airline to list on this important market.


    Motta Internacional opens its first Montblanc boutique in Panama City.      
  • 2006

    Banco Continental de Panamá S.A. acquires Banco Atlántico S.A.

    Inversiones Bahia participates in the acquisition of a percentage of Amnet Telecommunications Holding, Ltd. to invest in cable television, residential broadband internet, telephony and corporate data in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras.

    Motta Internacional spins off its Nintendo division to form Juegos de Video Latinoamerica (JVLat) in order to expand its operations, efficiency, and customer service.
  • 2007

    Banco Continental and Banco General merge operations forming a single entity.

    Inversiones Bahia sells Panificadora Moderna S.A. to Grupo Bimbo (Mexico Exchange BIMBO MM).
  • 2008

    Inversiones Bahía initiates acquisition of Hispaniola Telecom Holdings, Ltd., owner of Tricom, to invest in cable television business, residential broadband internet, telephony and corporate data in the Dominican Republic. Inversiones Bahía participates in the sale of Amnet Telecommunications Holdings, Ltd. to Millicom International Cellular, S.A.

    Copa Airlines renews its fleet with Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 and Embraer 190.

    Grupo ASSA ventures in the Salvadoran market and starts operations of La Hipotecaria, S.A. and The Hipotecaria Vida, Seguros de Persona, S.A.
  • 2009

    Telecarrier and Cable Onda (Medcom Holdings Group), merged into one company, to provide pay-TV services, broadband internet, telephony and corporate data services in Panamá.

    Motta Internacional reaches an agreement with Apple to open its first Apple Premium Reseller store (iShop) in Colombia.
  • 2010

    Alberto Motta Foundation inaugurates ¡Supérate! Center in San Miguelito, Panama City, to provide high school students in areas of social risk, high quality education. 5i1a0770-copy
  • 2010

    Inversiones Bahia finalises the acquisition of a majority stake in Hispaniola Telecom Holdings, Ltd., owner of Tricom.

    Motta Internacional expands iShop to Costa Rica. The total number of iShop stores increases to 5 in Colombia and 5 in Costa Rica.

    Copa Airlines and Boeing announce the acquisition of 32 Next Generation 737-800 aircraft, including 10 options to purchase, worth approximately US $ 2.6 billion, the largest order for new aircraft in the history of Copa Airlines.

    Assa Compañía de Seguros S.A. acquires Metropolitana de Seguros S.A. in Nicaragua.
  • 2012

    Grupo ASSA ventures in the insurance market in Colombia with the acquisition of a percentage of Cardinal Insurance Company S.A.

    Motta Internacional  iShop stores expand to 17 in Colombia and 11 in Costa Rica.

    Inversiones Bahia sells a portion of the shares of BTG Pactual and affiliates in the Stock Exchange of Sao Paulo (BM / F BOVESPA)
  • 2013

    Tricom S.A., telecommunications operator in the Dominican Republic is sold to Altice (Amsterdam: ATCA.AS), telecommunications company in France, the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Israel, Dominican Republic and certain French overseas territories.

    Motta Internacional adds 2 Apple Premium Reseller stores in Panama City. Motta Internacional goes into a new lighting division at the Colon Free Zone for distribution into all Latin America.

    Copa Airlines receives awards for "Best Airline in Central America and the Caribbean" and the award for "Airline with the Best Cabin Staff and Airports in Central America and the Caribbean" granted by SkyTrax. Ends year with a fleet of 90 aircrafts.
  • 2014

    Motta Internacional opens Carolina Herrera boutique in El Salvador and Honduras. Opens Tory Burch boutique in Multiplaza Pacific Mall, Panama.

    Bahia Motors opens Acura offices in Costa del Este. Opens offices of motorcycles in Plaza los Ángeles, Panama City.

    Copa Airlines ends the year with 98 aircrafts and is awarded "Leading Airline for Mexico and Central America" by the World Travel Awards.
  • 2015

    The Travelers Companies, Inc. in association with J. Malucelli, completed the buyout of a majority stake in Cardinal Compañía de Seguros, a Colombian start-up surety provider, owned and founded by ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A.

    Inversiones Bahia sells Teletower Dominicana SAS to Phoenix Towers International from USA.
  • 2016

    Inversiones Bahia participates in the development of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) based power project in the region. Sells all its shares in Industrias Panama Boston S.A. to Numar Group from Costa Rica.

    ASSA Compañía de Seguros S.A., acquires AIG's operations in Central America, becoming the leading insurer in the region.

    Copa Holdings launches low-cost airline Wingo. Traveling to 16 destinations in 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 2017

    ASSA acquires Generali operations in Panama.
  • 2018

    Inversiones Bahia acquires AT & T's Golf Channel Latin America along with Simple Networks.
  • 2018

    Alberto Motta Foundation opens its second Center ¡Superate! in La Chorrera, Panama Oeste to provide a high quality education to young people.
  • 2018

    Inauguration of the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Central America, AES Colón.
  • 2018

    Millicom International Cellular S.A. acquires 80% shareholding of Cable Onda S.A.
  • 2019

    Discovery Channel acquires Latin American Golf, which operates Golf Channel Latin America, a 24-hour pay TV channel from Simple Networks and Fornaluz Productions, an affiliate of Inversiones Bahia.
  • 2019

    AES Colon starts commercial operation of a 180,000-cbm LNG storage tank.
  • 2019

    Alberto Motta Foundation inaugurates the Mola Museum (MUMO) in the Casco Antiguo of Panama City.


Since Alberto C. Motta Cardoze, started 80 years ago selling supplies to the cruise ships transiting the Panama Canal to present day, the history of the Motta family with the development of Panama is observed through the thousands of jobs generated and its contribution to the progress of Panama and the region.

Currently, at Inversiones Bahía we continue to diversify our operations towards other sectors, in which once again, our entrepreneur and pioneer spirit is demonstrated.

We continue to adapt into modern times, which requires innovation and constant strengthening, and above all continue contributing to development of Panama and the region.

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