July 29, 2021

Carlos Slim’s empire against the Mexican state

For over twenty-five years he has dictated the terms of Mexico’s telecommunications industry and built an empire; he is one of the richest men in the world, recalls the New York Times : Carlos Slim and his family are multibillionaires. Its businesses touch almost every aspect of modern life: telecommunications, banking, construction, retail, and media, among others. But in Mexico, the game is changing. Determined to end his rule, the leaders of Mexico’s three main political parties have put aside their own animosities in recent years in order to bite Mr. Slim’s domain. The plan they concocted to increase competition in the telecommunications sector, turned into law two years ago, is starting to pay off. Profits for Mr. Slim’s flagship company America Movil are down sharply. But its monopoly was so dominant that it cost Mexicans an additional $ 13 billion a year between 2005 and 2009, according to the OECD. When the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) took over the presidency in 2012, it aimed to reassert its power in a country where the state – not big business – has always been king. And Mr Slim offered him a way to score political points: Mexicans were already openly critical of his expensive and often unreliable services. Mr. Slim faces effective competition for the first time. However, these changes did little to affect the billionaire’s market share. It retains nearly 70% of the cell phone market and around 65% of landlines. But this year, Mexican regulators will determine whether the new measures are enough to limit Mr Slim’s dominance. Cautious and shrewd, the billionaire nevertheless prepared for a less bright future and began to diversify his empire in Mexico and the Americas …