Friday, March 6, 2015

Multilatinas in Mexico and South America

When we think about multinational corportations, our thoughts center on European, US, Canadian, or Japanese business enterprises conducting business and investing across borders. A number of Latin America-based companies are also prominent among the businesses that have a presence beyond their home country.  These Latin American mulinationals are often known as multilatinas.  In this week's issue of NotiSur, Andrés Gaudín examines the rapid growth of multilatinas,  based in South America's two largest economies. These include  Brazilian companies Vale, Petrobras, Weg, and Embraer and Argentine companies Tenaris/Ternium, Impsa, and Bagó.  Embraer (ERJ) has become the world's leader in regional jets (fewer than 120 seats). Today, virtually every major U.S. network carrier now includes Embraer jets in its fleet.  In addition to Argentina and Brazil, multilatinas are based in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and other countries.  Here is a list of some of the leading multilatinas, courtesy of América Economía.

Cemex plant, Cheshire, England (Wikimedia Commons)
CEMEX (Mexico) – Drawing in around US$15 billion annually, CEMEX is ranked as number one on América Economía’s 100 Latin American Multinationals of 2014. CEMEX is a giant in the building and construction materials industry its home country of Mexico and in three other continents. During Presdent Hugo Chávez's administration, Until his death last year, the company was led by Lorenzo Zambrano, whose grandfather founded his cement business in the early 20th century, profiting from the reconstruction of Monterrey after the Mexican Revolution.

LATAM AIRLINES (Chile) – LATAM Airlines Group is airline holding company with subsidiaries throughout South America. The air carrier was formed in 2010 following the merger of Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM. Annual revenues are over US$13 billion, more than triple that of the next largest airline holding consortium in Latin America, Colombia’s Avianca-TACA group.

AVIANCA-TACA (Colombia) – Avianca-TACA AirHoldings was also formed in 2010, following the merger of Colombia’s Avianca and El Salvador’s TACA.Avianca-TACA is a subsidiary of Synergy Group, a conglomerate founded and owned by Avianca’s founder, Germán Efromovich, a Bolivian-born son of Polish Jewish immigrants who holds citizenships in Brazil, Colombia, and Poland.

TELMEX (Mexico) – Mexico’s telecommunications giant has had tight control over the Mexican telecommunications market for years, but its monopoly is coming to an end. Company chairman Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican of Lebanese descent, and his family has frequently made the Forbes Magazine list of the world's wealthiest individuals.

GRUPO BIMBO (Mexico) – Mexico’s largest baking company also has a broad presence in global markets.  The company, which owns Thomas' English Muffins and Entenmann's cakes, is evolving into a dominant player in the US bakery market with its planned acquisition of Sara Lee's North American bakery business for US$959 million.

BRIGHTSTAR (Bolivia) – Bolivia’s only multinational to make an appearance on América Economía's power rankings, this telecomm growing giant was founded by the current CEO of Sprint, Marcelo Claure, in 1997. With headquarters in South Florida, the La Paz native grew Brightstar into a multibillion dollar multinational by focusing on developing markets in Bolivia, Paraguay and the Caribbean during the late 1990s. The company then struck a deal with Motorola Latin America in 2000, which opened up markets in the rest of the region.

Citgo Station, Tankstelle, Germany (Wikimedia Commons)
PDVSA (Venezuela) – Petroleos de Venezuela is Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company. PDVSA’s activities include resource extraction, exploration, refining and international exportation. Founded in 1976 following the nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry, PDVSA purchased 50% of USA’s Citgo in 1986, and the remainder in 1990.

SUDAMERICA DE VAPORES (Chile) – Compañia Sudamerica de Vapores (CSAV),  founded in 1872, is the largest shipping company in Latin America and one of the oldest multinationals in the region. CSAV, which has the world’s 20th largest shipping fleet, expanded rapidly after the 1914 opening of the Panama Canal, making large gains on the coastal routes from western South American to Panama. After a century of unprecendented growth, CSAV entered into a merger agreement with German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd, another shipping firm that earned its stripes during the global trade during World War I.

Wikimedia Commons
AJEGROUP (Peru) – Ranked number 10 on América Economía's power rankings, this company is of two Peruvian multinationals to appear on the list, Ajegroup is dedicated to the production and distribution of alcoholic and soft drink beverages. The company's Agua Cielo brand of bottled water is sold widely throughout Latin America and its Big Cola soft drink is a popular product in India.

GRUMA (Mexico) – The world’s largest producer of corn and flour tortillas is headquartered in San Pedro Garza García, just outside of Monterrey. Gruma owns a variety of brand names that sell well in US, China, England, Central America, and Venezuela. The Mexican multilatina has drawn wide attention in global stock markets, as Gruma's shares gain value in accordance with the worldwide increase in tortilla consumption.

-Jake Sandler

Also in LADB on March 4-6 
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