Mexican companies have been increasing their presence abroad, according to a study of 20 Mexico-headquartered multinational enterprises (MNEs) conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Columbia University. The research shows that between 2010 and 2011, the total assets of Mexican MNEs increased by $6bn to a total of $129bn, while employee numbers in the foreign ventures of MNEs were up by 11,375 to a total of 266,715.

The biggest gains in employment and assets were recorded by telecommunications giant America Movil and beverage and bottling company Grupo Femsa. America Movil increased its assets by $1.84bn to total $50.7bn and created 9339 new jobs in the period. Grupo Femsa added a further 1487 employees to its foreign operations and the company’s assets grew by $2.9bn to total $13bn. Both companies grew particularly aggressively in Latin America. In 2011, Femsa began the construction of its $146m bottling plant in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, while America Movil announced region-wide investments.

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The report attributed the strong growth in overseas activity by Mexican MNEs to Latin America's economic climate, and the fact that the region maintained relatively strong economic growth throughout the global economic crisis.

The majority of the increased activity of Mexican MNEs was, however, largely accounted for by the country's four largest companies: America Movil, Femsa, building materials company Cemex and mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico. These four companies account for 64% of asset growth and 62% of new hires by the foreign ventures of Mexican MNEs between 2010 and 2011. 

Other Mexican MNEs that made significant gains in foreign markets in 2010 to 2011 were baking enterprise Grupo Bimbo and telecommunications and extraction conglomerate Grupo Alfa. Grupo Bimbo purchased the North American unit of consumer goods company Sara Lee for $959m and Grupo Alfa acquired three petrochemical plants in South Carolina, US from Eastman Chemical at a total cost of $600m.