Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim said on Monday he plans to boost his investment in Mexico this year by about 20 percent to US$3.6 billion, with telecoms, mining and infrastructure taking center stage.
Slim, the world’s richest person according to Forbes, will invest 10 billion pesos (US$826.16 million) in America Movil, Latin America’s leading cellphone provider, and 10 billion pesos in Telefonos de Mexico, the country’s top fixed-line phone company.
Another 10 billion pesos will be invested in Slim’s mining company Frisco, and 13 billion pesos more in his infrastructure firm Ideal, the billionaire said. He did not elaborate on Frisco’s metal production.
Slim received some 90 reporters and guests at one of his offices in the capital and offered them hors d’oeuvres, paella and chocolate cake served in the trademark blue china from his Sanborns restaurant chain.
He said he was open to new acquisitions of mines or land.
“We are looking at other places in America, from here south,” Slim said.
Frisco produced 199,791 ounces of gold and 5.5 million ounces of silver at its Mexican operations in last year and has said it will expand output this year.
Frisco will continue searching for more exploration land as it starts operations in five of its existing mines across Mexico this year and next year, Slim told reporters gathered at a heavily guarded office in one of the wealthiest areas in the capital.
During a four-hour conference in his office, home to a vast collection of works from Van Gogh and Renoir to Mexican painter Diego Rivera, he joked and munched on mini-treats while talking about his businesses, art, politics, economy and sports.
Slim, considered the biggest collector of Auguste Rodin -outside France and who is almost ready to inaugurate a new art museum in Mexico City, downplayed any interest in deep water exploration through his Swecomex unit, which provides engineering and construction services for oil companies.
“We are not considering it. Deep waters are a separate chapter,” he said.
Despite his dominance of Mexico’s telecom industry, Slim has not been cleared to offer video services in his home country as the government is reluctant to let him expand into another market out of concerns about reducing competition.
Slim, who was joined by his three sons and other key aides during the conference, offers triple play services in other Latin American countries, bundling cable, Internet and phone services in cheap packages.
Telmex offers billing services for direct-to-home satellite company DISH Mexico, which has grown very aggressively since its launch in Mexico two years ago.
Asked whether he would consider buying a stake in DISH, Slim said “we are not focused on that, we are waiting [for the authorization] to offer triple play.”
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