Mexico’s Slim to invest $8.3-bln in Latin America

  @Gooch700 on February 01 2011 10:59 AM
Carlos Slim
Lifetime Honorary Chairman of Telefonos de Mexico Carlos Slim Helu participates in the Wall St. Journal CEO Council on "Rebuilding Global Prosperity" in Washington November 16, 2009. Reuters Photo

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, who is considered by some to be the world’s richest person, said he will invest $8.3-billion in nineteen countries, primarily in Latin America.

Mexico, including its telecommunications, mining and road-building sectors, will receive a large portion of that money, about $3.6-billion.

Slim may be doing this in order to restore some investor confidence in Mexico, which has been wracked by drug-related violence.

Whoever doesn't invest, be it out of fear or caution, will be left behind, he said at a press conference.

What can be more worrying is economic uncertainty, to see that developed countries have huge deficits, high rates of unemployment, undercapitalized financial systems, and that they are merely adopting palliative measures that don't resolve the problems.

He also said he seeks to reinforce high speed Internet in Mexico so that two of every three people have access to the network.

Specifically, Slim will invest 10 billion pesos in America Movil (NYSE: AMX), Latin America's number one cell phone provider, and 10 billion pesos in Telefonos de Mexico (NYSE: TMX), the country's top fixed-line phone company.

He will also invest another 10 billion pesos in his mining company Frisco and 13 billion pesos more in his infrastructure firm Ideal.

Slim said he thinks Mexico’s economy will continue to grow in 2011 and 2012 after expanding by more than 5 percent last year.

Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina will also receive significant investments.

In Brazil, we're behind, which means we need to accelerate investments to compete with the [former] state monopolies, we have to make our own network to be able to compete with them, said Slim, who owns Embratel in Brazil.

Slim, a son of Lebanese immigrants has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine to total about $53.5-billion, topping Bill Gates as the richest man on the planet. He is said to control more than 200 companies across Latin America.

Slim has invested more than 60 billion dollars in Latin America in the past decade.

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