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Can You Spare a Peso?

17 August 2006

Chances are that you’re not in the quite ready, but if you’re in the business of building a Mexican dysnasty, you should at least familiarize yourself with some of your fellow “players”. It’s not my job (in this piece) to trash the rich and powerful in Mexico. I simply want to “introduce” some of the movers and shakers who are playing a big role influencing and shaping modern Mexico. Be your own judge.

Chris Hawley of the Arizona Republic wrote an interesting article about Mexico’s dynasties and some of the challenges they are facing as they enter the U.S. markets and as some of their aging founders pass the baton to their young’uns.

“Carlos Slim is rich. Insanely rich. Astronomically rich. If you took his $37.6 billion and laid the dollar bills end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back seven times, that’s how rich he is.” ~ Chris Hawley of the Arizona Republic

Slim (66 yrs old) bought Telmex for a cool $443 million (in 1990). He’s made his fortune in the communications business. He has expanded by buying CompUSA and he owns a substantial piece of Saks Fifth Ave. He could afford to smile a little…. don’t you think? Slim is with Grupo Carso.

Slim’s business controls about 90% of the hard line phones in Mexico (Telmex). He’s heavily invested in insurance, cell phones (American Movil), retail, cigarettes(Cigatam), restaurants (Sanborns), and auto parts stores.

With the help of Rudolph Giuliani, Slim has launched a huge restoration project in the Historic District of Mexcio City. After the clean-up, the eventual plan is to push the vendors, homeless kids, and the poor out of the district in order to raise property values. Since Slim owns a substantial amount of property in the Historic District, it’s seen as a self-serving move rather than simply a nationalistic one.

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala (39 yrs old) sure has good reason to smile. She known as the “Beer Queen” of Latin America. She has investments in Grupo Modelo, maker of Corona and Negra Modelo. A wealth of 2 billion earned her the title of Mexico’s richest woman. Cheers, Maria!

Maria made another power move last year by marrying Antonio Garza Jr. (Bush confidant and U.S. ambassador to Mexico). After a house hunting trip to Austin, Texas last year, the speculation is that the power couple may be making a bid to run for the governorship of Texas. Maria has been quoted as saying, ” “It wouldn’t surprise me if someday I am ‘living in the great state’ campaigning by his side”

Media mogul, Emilio Azcarraga, leads Mexico’s biggest TV network, Televisa. At the young age of 38, Emilio is worth about 1.7 billion dollars. He looks like he’s pleased with himself. With his family ensconced in a media and sports empire, he can probably get the best seats in the house at any futbol stadium in the world. Emilio is part of the Televisa Grupo. Last year, he was making plans to become a U.S. citizen so that he could increase his stake in Univision (U.S. based Spanish TV).

Led by Lorenzo Zambrano (60), Mexico’s Cemex company is the world’s largest cement company. Lorenzo has aggressively bought up cement businesses in the U.S., Mexico, Spain, France, Latin America and much of the world. He’s bucked the trend to diversify by concentrating souly on the business he knows best. Lorenzo’s fortune is put at $2 billion.

Last year the Wall Street Journal tarnished his reputation by accusing his company of gouging the poor people of Mexico, but Lorenzo didn’t let that slow him down. Lorenzo stays low-key and lives on a hillside in Monterrey.

Here’s a link to Lorenzo’s amazing/gutsy career:

These are just a few of the rich and powerful in Mexico who are investing their capital in the Mexico and around the globe. Last year, Mexico’s elite invested over $6.7 billion in the U.S. businesses.

“The numbers show that far from being just a source of illegal migrants, Mexico is increasingly becoming a source of investors. Here we are, complaining about illegal immigration and saying Mexicans should get out of our country, so it’s extremely surprising for Americans to find that there is a huge amount of foreign direct investment coming in (from Mexico).” ~ Dawn McLaren, a research economist at Arizona State University

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