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Contact us if you are considering doing business in Central America.
After the United States, Mexico is the second-largest investor in nearly all Central American countries. Doing business in Central America has been a profitable proposition for leading Mexican individuals and business organizations.
Carlos Slim Helú
Sectors: telecommunications, industry, finance, retail, infrastructure, energy, and mining.
Carlos Slim Helú has a net worth of approximately US $51.4 billion and has been doing business in Central America since 2006. In that year, he initiated the acquisition of telecommunications companies such as Sercom in Honduras, TelGua in Guatemala, Enitel in Nicaragua, and Compañía de Telecomunicaciones de El Salvador (Claro). In October of 2018 Claro announced that it would invest US $1 billion in its research and development activities over a period of three years.
Ricardo Salinas Pliego
Sectors: retail, banking, entertainment, and telecommunications
The owner of Grupo Elektra has an estimated net worth of US $11.1 billion. In 1997, the company’s appliances firm began to do business in Central America by opening commercial branches in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Today Grupo Elektra operates retail stores in Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama and its financial division through Banco Azteca with branches in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama.
TV Azteca, for its part, has been in business in Central America since 2008 with Azteca Guate. This is when Grupo Salinas acquired 70% of the Guatemalan network Latitude Television. The remaining 30% of the company is owned by the Botrán family.
In Honduras, the country’s National Telecommunications Commission held an open competition in 2013 for the sale of television frequencies. TV Azteca was licensed in the tender to operate a national open digital television channel for 61 million lempiras, which is equal to approximately US $2.5 million.
Servitje Montull Family
The value of Servitje Montull family holdings is estimated to be valued at US $3.5 billion. In 1989, Bimbo Central America was established. One year later the group’s first production facility in Guatemala.
Today Grupo Bimbo has an additional presence in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panamá, and Costa Rica. In 2010, the company modernized its plant in Guatemala through an investment of an estimated US $3 million.
In 2017, the company’s volume of business in Central America represented the third-largest for Grupo Bimbo’s products. Only North America, including Mexico, consumed more of Bimbo’s products with regional sales of US $1.5 billion. The Group’s total global sales that year were US 14.1 billion. Some of the brands that are marketed in Central America include Pix, Ricolino, Marinela, Bimbo, Breddy, Europe, Ideal, Lido, La Mejor, Milpa Real, and Monarch.
Eva Gonda and family
This family that is doing business in Central America has a net worth of close to US $6.7 billion. It’s company FEMSA started operations in the region in 2003 when it acquired US Pan American Beverages (PANAMCO), the largest bottler in Latin America at the time. Through this action, FEMSA consolidated its presence in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama. The company also has established operations in other Latin American countries including Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Its presence in Central America is through its Coca Cola Femsa, Femsa Logística, and Imbera Refrigeración business units, the company has made a number of business acquisitions in the region over the years. For example, in 2018, Femsa acquired Guatemala’s Comercializadora y Distribuidora Los Volcanes for a price approaching US $125 million. During the same year, it purchased Atlantic Food and Beverages for US $53.4 billion.
Prior to this, in 2011, FEMSA acquired the Panamanian firm Grupo Industrias Lácteas for approximately US $2 million. In addition to its business holdings, the company has developed several community development projects in Central America. One such effort is the Center for Water Resources for Central America and the Caribbean. This organization was founded in 2008 with the mission of improving the sustainable use of water resources in the region.
Juan A. González Moreno
It was in 1972 that Gruma began doing business in Central America when the company established a tortilla plant in Costa Rica. The name of the operation was Derived Food Corn or DEMASA. It sold its product under the brand name of TortiRicas.
In 1988 under the name DEMAHSA, the company built other production facilities in Honduras in the municipalities of Comayagua and Choloma. In 1992, González Moreno established Tortimasa in Nicaragua, and, two years later, the DEMAGUSA plant was constructed in Guatemala.
In 1996, a plant was that incorporated high-tech machinery for the manufacture of tortillas was constructed in Heredia, Costa Rica, as was another such facility several years later in San José, Pavas.
As a result of these investments, as of December 2017, the company had an installed production capacity of 307,000 tons in the region. The company’s investments for 2015, 2016, and 2017 in Central America totaled US $28 million dollars, while the figure invested in 2018 was US $11 million. These resources were mainly used to boost production and to make technology improvements. Gruma’s consolidated sales in Central America are valued at approximately US $234 million annually.
Lorenzo Zambrano began to do business in Central America in 1994 when he acquired Cementos Bayano in Panama. In 1998, his Cementos de Centro América began importing Tolteca cement into Guatemala and three years later, in 2001, Cemex entered that country by buying 50% of the company’s shares. In 2002 the company acquired the remaining 50% of the business’ shares.
In 2001, Cemex formed Cementos del Pacífico, which now is Costa Rica’s largest cement company. In addition to its Costa Rican operations, Cementos del Pacífico also operates facilities in Nicaragua.
After opening operations in Costa Rica, the company further expanded its business in Central America with the purchase of Guatemala’s Global Cement in 2005. Cemex also has a high-profile presence in El Salvador.
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