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“Our country is transforming its economic structures, taking advantage of all its capacities and fulfilling its true potential” Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the United States of Mexico

2018 Despite bumps along the way, Mexico took further steps in 2017 on its path toward greater prosperity. The country’s central bank lifted its growth forecast for the year to between 2.0 percent and 2.5 percent. It had previously expected a 1.5-2.5 percent expansion. The optimism flies in the face of the uncertainty that plagued the country at the start of the year. At that point, rising US protectionism, a weakening peso and higher fuel prices had put a cloud firmly over the country’s economy. But you know what they say about clouds. The silver lining is the awakening effect these early difficulties have had on both the public and private sectors. When the US threatened to derail NAFTA, the first reaction south of the border was a ringing of hands accompanied by a rise in nationalism. But calmer minds determined that this could be just what the country needs. It is high time, many believe, for Mexico to reconsider its alliances and broaden its reach. With numerous commercial agreements already in hand, the conclusion of many industry insiders, both in the public and private sectors, is that now is the time to diversify and modernize. In the opinion of diverse political leaders and businesspeople, the dependence on a single commercial partner is simply no longer sustainable. The goal to diversify goes hand in hand with the need to modernize. Industries such as automotive and aerospace are racing to implement advancements that are reducing costs and improving performance, but other sectors are lagging due to lack of investment and competition. Still, the implementation of new technologies in sectors such as agribusiness, health, energy and oil and gas, could be game changers. While opportunities abound, the country also has its fair share of challenges to sort out. In particular, investors are wary of what the 2018 presidential elections will bring.

It is against this backdrop that the inaugural edition of Mexico Business Review 2018 is presented, offering a broad vision of the economy, with success stories, new projects and areas of opportunity. Through 14 chapters, the economy and its major players are brought to light, showcasing Mexico’s offer amid a murky global environment.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Š Mexico Business Publications S.A. de C.V., 2017. This annual publication contains material protected under International, United States and Mexican Laws and international Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from Mexico Business Publication S.A. de C.V. Mexico Business Review is a registered trademark.

The publisher has made all reasonable efforts to provide accurate information, and the information contained in this publication is derived from sources believed to be true and accurate. However, the information in this publication should not be considered to be complete or definitive, and may contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. The publisher accepts no responsibility regarding the accuracy of information and use of such information is at your own risk. The publisher will not be liable to any party for any direct, indirect, special or other consequential damages arising out of any use of information in this publication. The publisher provides no representations or warranties, express or implied, including any implied warranties of fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability or otherwise in relation to any information provided by the publisher in this publication.

ISBN: 978-0-9993108-5-4
































BMV, Mexico City



Mexico’s participation in and importance on the world’s economy has steadily gained steam over the past decade. While there are several factors to consider when analyzing the country’s climb in world economic rankings, its entrepreneurial tradition cannot be factored out. The many advantages Mexico offers combined with a vibrant and dynamic environment have helped to attract some of the world’s most influential companies and businessmen. Global companies, such as Google, Facebook and Citibanamex, have made Mexico a cornerstone of their global operations, dedicating important resources to develop internal markets and further operations. Mexico not only hosts international companies, but has also witnessed the development of domestic businesses from a local to a global scale.

The past few years have also witnessed a radical transformation of the Mexican entrepreneurial and economic ecosystem. Reforms have permitted the country to breed a new environment wherein innovation is favored. Going forward, the challenge remains to attract more investment and foster the growth of Mexican companies to a global level. More importantly, the priorities for Mexico’s leaders from the private and public sectors include transferring and permeating the success of the business elite to a growing middle class.




ANALYSIS: Plateful of Uncertainty, Optimism


GUEST ARTICLE: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Ildefonso Guajardo, Minister of Economy


EXPERT OPINION: José Antonio González Anaya, PEMEX


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Ernesto Torres, Citibanamex


VIEW FROM THE TOP: María Teresa Arnal, Google Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jorge Ruiz, Facebook Mexico and Central America


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Pablo Azcárraga, Grupo Posadas


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Oscar González, Americas Mining Corporation


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Octavio Alvídrez, Fresnillo


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Antonio Suárez, Grupomar


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gerardo Gutiérrez, ZEE


PLATEFUL OF UNCERTAINTY, OPTIMISM Mexico’s business leaders have had a plateful of uncertainty to digest in 2017, with more of the same expected in 2018 when the country holds presidential elections. Yet, despite the dissonance, opportunities abound and optimism reigns within the business community implemented by the US Federal Reserve had led to a gradual

administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto opened the

increase in dollar strength against its Mexican counterpart

door to new investment possibilities, allowing the revamping

but the pre-election protectionist rhetoric and subsequent

of strategic sectors that had been neglected, such as energy

election of real-estate billionaire Donald Trump to the White

and oil and gas. This continued in 2017 but external politicking,

House threw a wrench in the system. Starting in 2016, the

including the renegotiation of NAFTA, ensured an unsteady

peso slid from MX$17.35 to MX$20.71, peaking in Jan. 2017

ride throughout the year.

after Trump’s inauguration at MX$21.9.

According to the World Bank, Mexico ranks 15th among the

But whereas in the past crisis would follow the peso’s slide,

world’s economies, with a US$1.04 trillion GDP at end of 2016.

this time around has been much different. Despite some

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates Mexico's

nervousness about the direction of US policy and its impact

2017 GDP will rise 2.1 percent, pumping up its April forecast

on Mexico and the peso, Carlos Rojo, CEO of Grupo Financiero

by 0.4 percent. Mexico’s expected growth is well above the

Interacciones, says the latest exchange rate ride has become

average for Latin America, which is forecast to advance at a 1.2

an opportunity. “All the movements we have seen in the

percent clip. Among the reasons for upward expectations, the

exchange rate have translated into competitiveness,” he says.

IMF notes that despite the uncertainty generated by NAFTA’s renegotiation and a downward revision for US economic


activity, Mexico’s economic performance for 1Q17 was better

While a weaker peso has favored exports, Banxico has warned

than expected.

that it has also impacted inflation. 2015 ended with recordlow inflation of 2.13 percent but in 2017 alone it has shot up

In the 1990s, exchange rates between the peso and the

to 6.66 percent. Higher fuel prices have had a significant

US dollar were the main thermometer of the economy.

impact, but the increase in prices associated with an expensive

Sudden devaluations meant that an economic crisis was

dollar have taken its toll in inflation. Still, the fact that 2017

down the road. Such was the case in 1982 and 1994, when

has been a complicated year does not mean that 2018 is

accumulated devaluation of the peso hit 470 percent and 44

bound to repeat the same story. Banxico’s September 2017

percent respectively. These devaluations were followed by

Expectations of Specialists in the Private Sector Economy

an economic crisis in both instances. While it cannot be said

Survey says that 2017 is expected to end with inflation values

that the 21st century has been without upheaval, the US-peso

close to 6.30 percent. When asked about 2018, most experts

exchange rate prior to the 2008-09 financial crisis averaged

believe inflation will fall by 3.79 percent, with an exchange

MX$10.41. Global economic dynamics and the policies

rate of MX$18.15 by the end of 2018. Despite inflation and



19.5 18.5





16.5 16


*Estimated forecast Source: Banxico

*Nov 2017

Sep 2017

Jul 2017

May 2017

Mar 2017

Jan 2017

Nov 2016

Sep 2016

Jul 2016

May 2016

Mar 2016

Jan 2016

Nov 2015

Sep 2015

Jul 2015

May 2015


Mar 2015


Jan 2015


The implementation of structural reforms early in the

a fluctuating exchange rate, most business leaders believe

Managing Director, says the Telecommunication Reform has

that the country’s macroeconomic foundations are among its

allowed a more dynamic market. “It allowed competition and

best assets. “When it comes to managing the macroeconomic

lower prices in the market,” he suggests.

foundations of the country, authorities are doing a good job. Banxico is taking appropriate measures and public finances

For all the good the reforms are doing in terms of investment,

are under control,” says Reynaldo Vizcarra-Méndez, National

an improved regulatory framework is needed to ensure

Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie.

competitiveness and judicial certainty. “The Ministry of Economy has implemented several measures to ease

The country’s top business leaders believe that Mexico offers

doing business in Mexico,” says Guajardo. “For example, it

other advantages such as its demographic bonus. Nuno Matos,

has worked to reduce regulations and facilitate investment

CEO of HSBC Mexico, says that having a large population

in sectors where FDI was previously restricted, such as

allows Mexico to reduce its dependence on exports. “With

telecommunications and energy; it has increased accessibility

a population of 125 million and a relevant demographic

and transparency at the Public Registry of Commerce and

advantage, Mexico has the opportunity to develop its internal

Property and has promoted the use of electronic platforms

market.” Ernesto Torres, CEO of Citibanamex, says that in

to ease processes related to FDI registry.”

addition to its demographic bonus, it is important to consider the population’s purchasing power. “There are many elements


that make Mexico one of the countries with the best growth

After NAFTA came into effect in 1994, Mexico became host

prospectives among emerging markets, for example, a large

to several companies eager to export production to the US,

and dynamic internal market. According to the World Bank,

taking advantage of the one-of-a-kind agreement. Almost

the average income of Mexico’s population is medium high,

24 years later, the country’s commercial relationship with the

which creates great opportunities.”

US is no longer the sole reason for attracting companies from across the world, which is why some suggests the potential


changes in NAFTA, or even its demise, can be weathered. “The

After President Peña Nieto took office in 2012, he quickly

investments made in Mexico by the likes of Audi or BMW are

moved to introduce a package of reforms that would reshape

not only aimed at the US market but worldwide. This shows

much of the country’s industry. Under the Pacto por México

that even though NAFTA is important, it is not everything,”

(Pact for Mexico) moto, congressmen approved the series of

says Edmund Duckwitz, President of the German-Mexican

reforms aimed at modernizing some of the country’s most

Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CAMEXA).

strategic industries. The reforms were applauded by the private sector for their potential to modernize the country

Mexico has a network of 12 free-trade agreements with 46

and change the prospects for sectors that had been neglected

countries, 32 agreements for the Promotion and Reciprocal

in terms of investment due to the lack of participation from

Protection of Investments with 33 countries and nine

the private sector. Vizcarra-Méndez says that the reforms

agreements of limited scope. The prospect of losing the

might be “one of the greatest achievements of the present

treaty with Mexico's largest trade partner is a headache

administration,” and believes they are among the reasons for

but the business community agrees that changes will force

the country’s economic prospects. “Without them we would

the country to broaden its horizons. “The biggest issue in

not have such a positive growth outlook.” IMF expects that full

the market is uncertainty. Even though the scenery is very

implementation of structural reforms will lead to an increase

challenging, it will bring us a historic opportunity to move out

in real GDP of 2.7 percent in the medium-term.

of the comfort zone in which we settled years ago with the US,” says Roberto Cabrera, Managing Partner of Industries

In addition to providing a positive image of the country,

and Markets of KPMG. Among the factors that led to such

Ildefonso Guajardo, Minister of Economy, says that the

comfort, Cabrera lists not only NAFTA but the large Mexican

reforms are acting as a catalyst for new investments. “The

community that lives in the US. “That comfort zone has also

set of structural reforms carried out by President Peña Nieto’s

made us tolerate situations like bad administrations and

administration have paved the way to attract domestic and

corruption, so the current scenario is full of opportunities.”

foreign investments in strategic sectors,” he says. Gerardo Familiar, President of the Chemours Company, believes the

Breaking bad habits is not easy, and in the case of Mexico,

reforms offer particularly interesting opportunities in the oil

weakening its relationship with the US might be easier said

and gas sector. “Thanks to the Energy Reform, the oil and

than done. Still, there are a number of markets where Mexico

gas industry will generate an economic boom in the country

could turn its attention. “The first approach and simplest

in the coming years.” Energy was not the only industry to

should be Latin America. A second target should be Europe

benefit from the reforms. Legislative changes also touched

because of its economic potential and size. Finally, a third

the telecommunications segment. Pablo Coballasi, PC Capital

target could be Asia. Countries like China are complicated


to do business with but the current situation is making China

and announced his intention to renegotiate or even drop out

look at us,” says Cabrera.

NAFTA. The declarations raised a red flag among the business community, but after a storm, calm usually settles in. “For

The government also believes that the need exists to look

Mexico, the US market is important but Mexico is also very

elsewhere for partners. “President Peña Nieto’s administration

important for the US. It is completely inaccurate to say that

expects to diversify Mexico’s trade agenda with potential

NAFTA only benefits Mexico,” says Duckwitz.

markets,” explains Guajardo. To do this, a number of actions


have been put in place, such as strengthening commercial

Few believe that an outright termination of NAFTA will occur.

ties with the European continent and Latin America. “We are

“Our view is clear: there will be a NAFTA 2.0. We believe there

modernizing our 15-year-old trade agreements with both the

will be some changes in rules of origin and labor standards

EU and the European Free Trade Association countries. In

and we will see the incorporation of sectors such as energy

Latin America, we are deepening existing agreements with

and e-commerce,” says Matos. Still, the important thing is to

Brazil and Argentina and the Pacific Alliance,” says Guajardo.

remain calm. “We sometimes forget that we are dealing with a giant and that we need to be really smart about how we

While the NAFTA renegotiation has been marked by

handle the renegotiation,” says Vizcarra-Méndez. Negotiations

belligerent speech from President Trump, Duckwitz says that

were expected to conclude before the end of 2017 but over

renegotiation with the European Union obeys simply to a

the months it has become clear that they will carry into

matter of updating the conditions to present needs. “There will

2018. “The renegotiation will have to unfold at its own pace.

not be any major changes related to the economies of both

It would be unfortunate if the timetable were affixed to the

regions. This treaty already encompasses several important

2018 Mexican presidential elections but US and Mexican

sectors; however, there were many others that were left out of

presidential elections are merely junctures and they should

the original agreement, such as the agricultural sector, which

not distract from the agenda,” adds Vizcarra-Méndez.

will be included with this modernization.” It is important to note that NAFTA’s third particpant, Canada, Although Europe and Latin America offer significant

also plays a significant role in Mexico’s economy. “Mexico

opportunities for the country, Guajardo says that the Asian-

has achieved a lot thanks to NAFTA but also thanks to the

Pacific region stands out. “The Asia-Pacific region is a priority

bilateral and trilateral relationships of the North American

for Mexico. However, since TPP’s entry into force is uncertain,

bloc. NAFTA has been a keystone of the trilateral relationship

Mexico is exploring alternate paths.” To this end, the category

but the economies are so close and complementary that the

of Associate State of the Pacific Alliance was added in March

relationship will continue regardless of what happens with

2017 in an attempt to negotiate more trade agreements with

NAFTA,” says Raul Martínez-Ostos, Chairman of the Board

countries in the Asia-Pacific region. “Australia, Canada, New

and Director General of Grupo Financiero Barclays México.

Zealand and Singapore are the first four candidates to become

Regardless of the outcome, most business leaders agree that

Associate States of the Pacific Alliance,” says Guajardo.

investments are here to stay. Grupo Financiero Interacciones’ Rojo says: “People investing know they are here for the long


run and they understand that what the country is experiencing

Should NAFTA be terminated, what would happen to Mexico?

now is a volatile process, but structurally speaking, the country

The question has been going around ever since Trump said

is in good shape and the reforms, will completely change the

that “Mexico has taken advantage of the US for long enough”

face of the country.”



4.5 3.5 2.5















0.5 -0.5 -1.5 -2.5 -3.5 -4.5 -5.5

-4.7 19982008

Source: IMF











When my administration first started, we noticed that the

from the center and northern regions. Their objective is to

Mexican economy was growing at levels below its potential,

trigger new development hubs in regions that are lagging

with existing limits for productivity, investment and

behind economically. We are also promoting productivity,


competitiveness and balanced regional development with the expansion and improvement of highways, railroads, ports

To overcome these challenges and guarantee improved living

and airport infrastructure.

conditions for the Mexican people, we identified the actions that we needed to take on four different fronts: implement

Due to the ensuing results from these efforts, we are sure

structural changes to eliminate legal and institutional barriers;

that we are going in the right direction. Our country is

consolidate the country’s macroeconomic stability; generate

transforming its economic structures, taking advantage of all

a new economic promotion policy; and promote a more

its capacities and fulfilling its true potential. Today, Mexico is

balanced regional development.

recognized as a strong, competitive and open nation. Mexican families are beginning to reap the benefits generated by

From the first moment, we bolstered measures to transform

the structural changes that have taken place and we see a

the quality of education that kids receive, to increase

prosperous future for them.

competition and to generate new investment opportunities. My administration also promoted changes that introduced

For all the positive changes that have taken place, further

a new legal framework that will provide prompt, timely,

positive results will follow in the coming months and years.

expedited and standardized justice across the country.

That is why it is utterly necessary to continue working to maintain the country’s macroeconomic stability, fully

Despite a complex international environment, the Mexican

implement structural changes and consolidate the country’s

economy is growing at rates above 2.1 percent, surpassing the

infrastructure projects. This will allow us to improve the

growth registered in the previous two administrations. Our

economy of Mexican families and generate an environment

country is attracting investments and generating employment

in which no one is left behind.

as never before. During the present administration, the country has received over US$156 billion in Foreign Direct Investment and for the first time in history, we are about to reach 3 million new formal jobs generated in a presidential administration. Mexico continues to break records in manufacturing and agricultural exports, while improving its position as a global tourist destination. According to the World Tourism Organization, in only three years Mexico went from 15th to eighth place in terms of international tourist arrivals. This improvement is the result of an integral strategy of diversifying destinations and increasing competitiveness, which has consolidated the sector as an engine for economic growth, employment and well-being for Mexican families.

TIMELINE OF REFORMS July 1, 2012 December 1, 2012

Peña Nieto is sworn in as Mexico’s 57th President

December 2, 2012

Pacto por México is signed by the President and the leaders of the country’s main political parties

February 25, 2013

The Education Reform is enacted

June 10, 2013 June 11, 2013 October 31, 2013 December 20, 2013 January 9, 2014

The Telecommunications and Broadcasting Reforms is proclaimed by the President The Economic Competition Reform is enacted The Tax Reform is approved The Energy Reform is proclaimed by the President The Financial Reform is enacted by the President

January 31, 2014

The Political Reform is proclaimed by the President

February 7, 2014

The Transparency Reform is enacted by the President

The Special Economic Zones were created to help reduce the inequality gaps that divide the southern part of the country

Enrique Peña Nieto wins Mexico’s Presidential Elections




Q: How is the Ministry of Economy ensuring Mexico remains

A: In the last two decades, Mexico’s global integration

a competitive destination for FDI?

has been a keystone for economic growth. We certainly

A: Mexico is among the most open economies to

want more Mexican products to be exported but at the

international trade and investment. The set of structural

same time we want to consolidate our domestic market.

reforms carried out by President Peña Nieto’s administration

Hecho en México aims to foster national production and

have paved the way to attract domestic and foreign

competitiveness, as well as being a symbol of confidence

investments in strategic sectors. The Ministry of Economy

and high quality for consumers. The Ministry of Economy,

has implemented several measures to ease doing

through ProMéxico, is promoting the program beyond

business in Mexico. For example, it has worked to reduce

Mexico’s borders. At the end of April 2017, I visited Hannover,

regulations and facilitate investment in sectors where FDI

Germany, to attend a ceremony where Mexico was formally

was previously restricted, such as telecommunications and

announced as the partner country for the Hannover Messe

energy; it has increased accessibility and transparency at

2018. Being the most important manufacturing event

the Public Registry of Commerce and Property and we have

worldwide, the fair will be a major window to promote the

promoted the use of electronic platforms to ease processes

Hecho en México program and portray Mexico’s innovative

related to FDI registry.

products, processes and industries.

Q: What are the government’s priorities for establishing

Q: What initiatives is the Ministry of Economy favoring to

trade agreements with Asian and Latin American countries?

support the entrepreneurial ecosystem?

A: The Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Mexico. However,

A: An example of the Ministry of Economy’s efforts to support

since TPP’s entry into force is uncertain, Mexico is exploring

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is the role of the

alternate paths. For instance, in March 2017 in Viña del Mar,

Federal Commission for Regulatory Improvement (COFEMER)

Chile, the Pacific Alliance established the “Associate State”

in reducing the regulatory burden and unnecessary

category, with the objective of negotiating trade agreements

bureaucratic procedures. One of the most meaningful

with countries in the Asia Pacific region. Australia, Canada,

measures undertaken is the 2x1 regulation scheme. Through

New Zealand and Singapore are the first 4 candidates to

this scheme, all public agencies wanting to implement a new

become Associate States of the Pacific Alliance. Within

regulation that implies costs for the population are obliged

the framework of APEC, leaders of the Pacific Alliance

to eliminate two existing regulations. Another example is

engaged in two discussions with Asian economies in which

ProMéxico’s involvement in promoting exports from Mexican

they explored common cooperation areas, namely SMEs

MSMEs. These companies are offered consultancy from trade

and trade facilitation.

experts who facilitate the completion of export requirements to foreign markets. Additionally, ProMéxico undertakes

Q: What strategies does the government plan to implement

promotional activities to increase the visibility of products

to help companies diversify their operations outside the US?

and services from MSMEs abroad. In terms of international

A: President Peña Nieto’s administration expects to diversify

trade, we have strived to include specific chapters on MSMEs

Mexico’s trade agenda with potential markets. We are

into our most recent FTAs, such as the Pacific Alliance and the

modernizing our 15-year-old trade agreements with both

TPP. We will do the same while updating NAFTA.

the EU and the European Free Trade Association countries. In Latin America, we are deepening existing agreements with Brazil, Argentina and the Pacific Alliance.

Ildefonso Guajardois the Mexican Minister of Economy, member of the PRI party. He has worked in the Ministry of

Q: What strategies is the Ministry of Economy following

Tourism, Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as congressman. He

to relaunch and position the Hecho en México program?

is the top negotiator for NAFTA’s renegotiation





The key to PEMEX’s transformation is in the implementation


of the 2017-2021 Business Plan, which clearly outlines

The Business Plan, presented at the end of 2016, is a

profitability as the guiding principle of the company across

realistic plan focused on profitability. This plan establishes

all its business lines. This plan meets the dual mandate that

the actions required to enable the company to achieve

President Enrique Peña Nieto gave me by appointing me

financial strength, as well as to stabilize production and

CEO: accelerate the implementation of the Energy Reform

subsequently increase it. It is a plan that includes, as

and improve the finances of the company.

a priority, the establishment of alliances and strategic partnerships across the value chain as a mechanism to

In 2016, a great effort was made to implement austerity

increase investments, increase operational efficiency and

and discipline and operational adjustments were made to

share financial and technological risks.

take advantage of the alliances that, thanks to the Energy Reform, we can now participate in. The results are beginning

This plan is already underway and its first results have

to be seen and today PEMEX has stable — unlikely but

already been very successful. Last March PEMEX formalized

stable — finances.

its partnership agreements with the US company Chevron and the Japanese company INPEX, with which we jointly

Recently, rating agency Moody’s acknowledged the

won the CNH tender for the exploration of deepwater Block

company's financial efforts and its track record in the

3 North. We also signed the contract with Australia’s BHP

past year and awarded PEMEX an overall PAA3 foreign

Billiton, winner of the first farm-out in PEMEX history.

currency credit rating. In addition, PEMEX recorded a

Through this partnership, the Trion block will be explored

positive net financial result for two consecutive quarters,

and developed in the Cinturón Plegado Perdido in the ultra-

something that had not been achieved in six years. This

deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico. These are the first of

is mainly due to the recovery of crude oil prices, the

many partnerships with which PEMEX will consolidate itself

recognition of logistics costs in the price formula for

as a major oil company.

gasoline and diesel and the decrease in the company’s operating costs.

Three other farm-outs are scheduled for the coming months: in shallow waters, the Ayín and Batsil fields; the Ogarrio

With respect to crude oil production, PEMEX will reach

and Cárdenas-Mora onshore fields; and in deepwater,

its annual target. During the first few months of the year,

Maximino and Nobilis, also located in the Perdido area.

a considerable recovery was achieved in the crude oil

Recently, PEMEX also completed the first migration to

process compared to the end of 2016. Thanks to the

the new production contracts for the Ek Balam field in

strengthening of exploration and extraction processes,

the Campeche Sound. This new scheme will allow us to

it has been possible to maintain an average of around 2

generate greater economic value for the project.

million b/d. Ku-Maloob-Zaap has maintained its production volume of above 860,000b/d, helping to counteract the


natural decline of other fields. Together with the evolution

In terms of refining, PEMEX has begun to form alliances

of assets such as the Litoral de Tabasco, Tsimin-Xux and

in order to increase the profitability of operations. At the

the Xanab fields, this has led to a combined increase

beginning of this year the first partnership for the supply

in production of more than 156,000 barrels, excluding

of hydrogen to the Tula refinery with the French company


Air Liquide was finalized. This will reduce the number of unscheduled shutdowns, as well as increase the production

The Energy Reform is advancing and PEMEX is getting

of gasoline and generate savings of more than 30 percent


in this service. Air Liquide also plans to invest in the

Centenario GR, Gulf of Mexico, deepwater platform


construction of a second hydrogen plant at the refinery in


order to meet the total demand from the expansion at the

In almost 80 years of activity, PEMEX has accumulated

Tula refinery. The plant’s construction is expected to be

knowledge and experience. It is the eighth-largest oil

completed by the end of 2019.

producer in the world and a leader in shallow waters. The reform passed by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013

As part of the efforts to allocate more resources to the central

imposed on PEMEX the challenge of transforming itself

refining processes, we are also forming alliances for the supply

into a productive state enterprise. In the period that I

of auxiliary services and the reconfiguration of the Salina

have been leading the company, since February 2016, I

Cruz and Salamanca refineries in Oaxaca and Guanajuato,

have verified the capabilities of our workers to drive the

respectively. The objective is that PEMEX focuses on the

required changes to face the complex challenges of the

primary activities that allow it to generate more resources.

new international environment.

In terms of logistics and complying with the norm

The international industry is aware of PEMEX’s new

established by CRE, PEMEX is carving out its position as

way of operating and there is a considerable interest in

a pillar of the new energy environment. In May, the first

establishing alliances with us. Mexico and, specifically,

phase of the Open Season was carried out, whereby PEMEX

PEMEX, represent important investment opportunities

allocated storage and pipeline capacity for the states of Baja

across various business lines in the hydrocarbons sector.

California and Sonora. One hundred percent of the capacity

PEMEX is the strategic partner with which to invest in

offered was assigned and the winner was the US company

Mexico. I am sure that it will continue to be a pillar of

Tesoro. The interest shown by 22 companies registered in

the national industry and the flagship company of the

the auction confirms the confidence of the private sector


in both these processes and in PEMEX and its operational capacity. It certainly constituted an important step in the creation of an efficient and competitive market to efficiently

José Antonio González Anayais a Harvard graduate who has

satisfy national demand to the benefit of consumers. Over

worked in a number of high-profile public and private sector

the next few months, next steps will be taken to cover the

positions. Before becoming Director General of PEMEX, he

rest of the country. In addition to promoting the investment

was Deputy Minister of Income at the Ministry of Finance and

of new participants in the sector, this scheme will enable

Public Credit and Director General of the Mexican Institute of

PEMEX to generate resources for its growth.

Social Security (IMSS) from 2005 to 2016



Q: What is Citibanamex’s proposal for the Mexican banking

of the necessary infrastructure in shops and businesses that


allows them to receive payments, not only with cards, but

A: The main challenges for the Mexican financial system

from mobile devices, and to promote a wider use of online

are financial inclusion and credit expansion. The objective

and mobile banking. All these actions must be complemented

should be to consolidate a system that amplifies and

with different programs to foster financial education.

facilitates access to financial services and provides more loans under better conditions. To increase access, we must

Q: What opportunities does Citibanamex see for the finance

move forward simultaneously in different directions: using

sector as a result of the NAFTA renegotiations?

the most advanced technology and new digital channels and

A: Citibanamex is the best example within the financial sector

taking advantage of social media and Big Data; expanding

of the mutual benefits that can be obtained through the

and modernizing our infrastructure; establishing a network

cooperation between Mexico and the US. The finance industry

of correspondents to reach more clients; providing products

plays an important role in achieving the economic integration

and services that best fit the needs of each client; offering

of the three countries and driving the competitiveness of the

new channels, especially through the use of technology and

region. The high degree of economic integration between

digital devices; and promoting the use of electronic and

Mexico and the US has increased the already big number

digital payments. To increase credit, we must maintain the

of clients that interact, trade and execute cross-border

country’s macroeconomic stability, provide customers with

operations. Enhanced integration of the finance sector will

products that meet the needs of each segment, disseminate

allow us to better serve millions of clients in the NAFTA

existing options and advantages of credit and create a closer

countries bringing benefits to communities across the region.

relationship with the public. Q: Beyond NAFTA, what is Mexico’s value proposition to the Q: How will the digital transformation of the traditional


banking system impact financial inclusion?

A: NAFTA is an important factor in the country’s evolution

A: The transition to a digital banking system has pushed

but it is not the only one. There are many other elements

forward financial inclusion in Mexico but there is still a lot of

that make of Mexico one the countries with the best growth

untapped potential. The best example is mobile banking. Five

perspectives among emerging markets; for example, a large

years ago, we launched Transfer in alliance with América Móvil

and dynamic internal market. According to the WB the

and Inbursa, the first payment platform for cellphone services.

average income of Mexico’s population is medium high, which

In 2013, Transfer had 1 million active clients and by the end of

creates great opportunities. The economy is also becoming

2017 we expect to have 6 million. It has been growing at an

more productive and competitive thanks to the approval and

annual rate of 57 percent. The number of transactions made

implementation of structural reforms in key sectors such as

in Transfer in 2013 was 9 million and this year we expect to

education, telecommunications and energy. In addition, Mexico

reach 310 million.

has an outstanding export platform and different commercial agreements across the world. Finally, the country maintains

Q: What strategies should be put in place to encourage the

great macroeconomic stability, responsible management of

use of digital payment methods and reduce the use of cash?

public finances and a solid and growing financial sector.

A: The strategy to promote payments through electronic platforms includes different actions. First, supporting the inclusion of millions of workers in the formal economy; second,

Citibanamex  is a multibanking institution and a member of

continuing to facilitate access to banking services, especially

Grupo Financiero Banamex, a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc.,

through new channels; and third, to facilitate internet access. In

an American multinational investment banking and financial

addition, it is necessary to facilitate and expand the installation

services corporation




CEO of Google Mexico

Q: What opportunities does the Mexican market offer to

productive. We see opportunities in helping companies

the development of Google’s business?

improve its internal business processes and in the generation

A: The word that defines my administration in Google is

of intelligence from all their data.

“opportunity.” Mexico is the 15 -largest economy in the world, th

meaning that there are great opportunities in many different

Q: How does Google contribute to the expansion of digital

sectors, including digital transformation, an area into which

skills in Mexico?

many companies are now venturing. Digital transformation

A: It is an interesting challenge. We work alongside different

does not only entail reaching consumers through the internet

players in Mexico to push and see through the country’s

but also through every process within the company. The way

connectivity and digital skills education agenda. We engage

companies think, understand and approach consumers is

on projects that seek to reduce the country’s digital gap

changing and Google can play a central role in this process.

and empower those who seek to use technology to find

We can help companies change the way in which they develop

solutions to everyday problems. We must play a significant

products to allow them to reach more consumers. This is

role and help ensure that as many people as possible have

the opportunity we see with big companies. An interesting

internet access and the possibility to make the most out

example is Nestlé México. Together, we developed a project to

of these tools.

analyze the searches related to baby food and what parents search for. With this data, they were able to revamp and

Google products are developed with billions of people in

launch a new product in just nine months, shortening the

mind. We want our products to be as universal and inclusive

process by over half the time.

as possible; however, this does not mean that we neglect characteristics inherent to particular groups. We take in

We also see many opportunities with SMEs. The internet

consideration the most important particularities of each

has no borders and Google allows SMEs to do business

group and then try to compile those up in a single product.

all around the world. There are many stories of Mexican

Mexico is part of an initiative called Next Billion Users (NBU).

SMEs working alongside Google that have managed to do

Technology empowers people to solve problems, but

business abroad. We estimate that Google has contributed

problems are completely different in developing countries

MX$24 billion to the Mexican economy.

like Mexico, India, Brazil and some others that are part of NBU. This initiative analyzes the problems we share and are inherent

The education ecosystem has a big opportunity for renewal

to our developing nature.

in Mexico. In general, education is an area in which we will see great technological disruption. We want to bring

Q: What does the country need to do to develop more

technology closer to the people and for technology to

gender parity in the technology sector?

become an enabler for new learning and collaboration tools.

A: The problem in the technology world is the pipeline,

Knowledge per se will not be the main driver, since the

something that does not happen in other fields. Part of it is

data is available in Google; being able to learn and work

that when girls reach a certain age they start losing interest

collaboratively will be the main drivers. Another important

in science-related subjects. This is the first hurdle we must

segment is related to empowering companies to be more

overcome: we must find a way to show girls that science, technology, engineering, and math are fun. At Google, we partner with organizations such as Epic Queen and offer

Google is a global technology leader, which focuses on

camps where girls can encounter fun ways to approach math

improving the way people connect with information. Its

and coding. This way you start generating an interest that

innovations on internet search and online advertising have

leads to less desertion rates. We also need role models, and

made its website a top internet product

show them that the technology world includes us all.


CONNECTING MEXICO JORGE RUIZ Director of Facebook Mexico and Central America

Q:What have been Facebook’s most remarkable

vehicle for entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow and further

achievements in the country?

e-commerce. We believe that if people get to Facebook, they

A: The first day that I arrived here I saw a huge opportunity to

can become a multinational company right away.

connect Mexico. At that moment, worldwide Facebook had almost 1 billion users. Five years later, we have connected 2

Q: What should be the role of companies such as Facebook,

billion people worldwide and 76 million people in Mexico. At

the telecom industry and the government in providing

that time, there were a lot of questions about the importance

countrywide internet access?

and role of Facebook in the markets and we saw a huge

A: For the country’s development, we need people to be

growth opportunity in terms of mobile technology. However,

connected. There are 89 million mobile phones in Mexico but

the most important transformation has been from a social

not everyone has internet access. We do not want that lack

platform into a people’s platform.

of access to become a hurdle for people to connect. That is why we have developed platforms such as Facebook Lite,

Our concerns as a platform have also changed. Five years ago,

where several features that are valuable to people also work

our most important concern was generating engagement on

offline. With Facebook Lite users can access content that can

the platform. Now, it is how we solve business, communications

influence their daily life. We have people in the agricultural

and marketing issues through the platform. Facebook has

sector that use Facebook to check the weather forecast

become the go-to place for companies to connect on a daily

before deciding whether to work or not.

basis with the people they really care about. We also want to connect the other half of the country that still When we started in Mexico, our main challenge was to grow

does not have access. We already have some projects aimed

and convince businesses that were used to consuming

at providing Wi-Fi to places where access is difficult. Internet

traditional media, such as television or radio, to switch

access allows people to be more informed and companies

to Facebook. Our first strategy was to target Consumer

that produce content can publish it through Facebook and

Packaged Goods (CPG). Then, we came up with other

reach more people.

verticals, including retail, auto and finance. E-commerce was not as big as it is now and Amazon, eBay or MercadoLibre

Q: What are the right metrics for companies to pursue?

were not as popular. That is why we decided to focus all our

A: More sales and more market share, those are the two

efforts on branding.

metrics that matter. We have learned from traditional markets that we need to address businesses’ needs. At first, digital

Q: How can Facebook collaborate to further the entrepreneur

metrics were important but for businesses the metrics that

ecosystem in Mexico?

matter are sales and market share. To address this, we have

A: Entrepreneurship in Mexico needs to get closer to the

launched Brands Beyond the Line, which aims to eliminate the

digital world. They also need to do a better job measuring

lines between digital and business strategies. The intention

their success, aligning their Key Performance Indicators

is to help companies attract more people to their business,

(KPIs), talking the language of investors and aligning their

to have more people aware of their products, more people

brand positioning and sales’ strategies. An advantage we

loving their brand and buying and consuming their product.

provide to entrepreneurs is that we can offer them massive segmentation, which is the dream of all marketers. With this segmentation, you provide the right services and products

Facebook is a digital social network founded in 2004 with 2

to the right people at the right time. Is something no other

billion users worldwide. Its goal is to generate a more open

platform can offer. More than 90 percent of internet users in

and connected world. It is headquartered at Menlo Park,

Mexico are also on Facebook, which makes us the perfect





Q: What are Mexico’s greatest areas of opportunity for

doing so well, the other complements it. That is why building

growth within the tourism sector?

50 percent of our developments in cities and 50 percent in

A: There are various indicators that demonstrate Mexico’s

beaches is a good competitive advantage to have.

strong potential for growth if we tweak certain things. Ninety percent of leisure tourism is focused on beach destinations.

We have a business model similar to that of the most

The majority of Mexico’s tourism revenue is based on sun and

important companies in the world. Our large number of

beach destinations and not so much on cultural, ecological

clients and investors allows us to avoid allocating a large

or religious tourism. In Europe for instance, the main reason

amount of our resources to materials and allows us, instead,

for travel is culture. Mexico has such a rich culture but it is not

to develop our people, innovation and technology. Of the 40

being taken advantage of.

hotels we have in construction, 90 percent are third-party properties. Our client network is satisfied and has enough

Approximately 80 percent of leisure tourists arrive by plane.

confidence in us to sign 20-year O&M contracts. Because

We are neighbors of the largest consumer market and when

we deliver results, almost all the contracts are renewed. In

Americans travel in the US, 90 percent do so by car. We are

2016, we opened 13 hotels, which is considerably more than

limiting tourism and we must continue to change the culture

our competitors that tend to open one or two a year. As

so that it not only depends on sun and beaches.

of today, we have more than 26,000 hotel rooms and 156 hotels. City Express has 11,000 and others fewer. The fact

Ninety percent of tourists that visit Mexico also visit the

that we are listed on the BMV allows us to keep our liabilities

same four destinations: Riviera Maya, Mexico City, Los

in bonds and to raise more money for new projects.

Cabos and Vallarta. Mexico definitely has potential and we have grown exponentially with more than 35 million international tourists. These are good numbers but the World Tourism Organization predicted that Mexico should have more than 50 million by now. Q: How has Grupo Posadas positioned itself in the Mexican market? A: Grupo Posadas is the leading hotel developer in Mexico

Riviera Maya, Mexico City, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta receive 90% of Mexico's visitors

and the only one with a presence in Mexico as an operator. We are four times bigger than our closest competitor and as

Q: What impact has the company had on tourism education

of 1Q17, we have more than 26,000 hotel rooms in operation.

and jobs creation in Mexico?

We have 40 new hotels in construction today, which means

A: It is important that we continue to focus on the

almost 7,000 more rooms. There are more than 80 million

professional growth of our human capital. Many of the

Mexicans traveling inside the country compared to the 35

most important players and directors within the industry

million who come from abroad.

started their careers in Posadas. We need to continue to train people to provide a higher quality service.

Q: Why has Grupo Posadas decided not to franchise its brands? A: We do not franchise because there is no real need to do so.

Grupo Posadasis the leading hotel developer in Mexico and the

In part, our success comes from the balance of our portfolio

only one with a presence in Mexico as an operator. It has more

between both leisure and business. Tourism depends greatly

than 26,000 hotel rooms in operation and expects to add almost

on the economic state of a country but when one area is not

7,000 more rooms with the construction of 40 new hotels



MEXICAN INSTITUTION SETS SIGHTS ON ZINC OSCAR GONZÁLEZ Executive President of Americas Mining Corporation


Q: How do you assess the impact of regulatory reforms

assets. For example, in 4Q16, copper production rose

for the mining industry in Mexico and what changes have

by 16 percent compared with the same period in 2015,


helped by a rise of 57 percent in production at Buenavista

A: We have been paying a significant amount of tax since

del Cobre.

the mining royalties were introduced in Mexico in 2014, including MX$1.8 billion toward miners’ rights. From our

We have also begun to focus more on the base-metal

experience, the local governments in Cananea and Nacozari

sphere, particularly zinc. We acquired and reopened the

– the municipalities where our Buenavista del Cobre and

Aznalcollar zinc mine in southern Spain in 2015, and we

La Caridad mines are located respectively – are investing

have great hopes for this project because we are confident

the resources generated from the Mining Trust Fund into

that zinc is heading for a sustained period of strong price

projects that will have a lasting beneficial impact on local

performance. Zinc production rose by 20 percent in 4Q16,

populations. We are fully supportive of the fund and we

while we also reduced AISC across the board. Despite the

plan to continue allocating more resources for many years

lower price environment for copper, our high production

to come. An important part of our investment strategy is to

levels and low costs enabled the company to perform very

spend US$25 million on exploration, so we were delighted

well in 2016.

to see Sonora’s governor recommend to Congress a reduction in exploration costs in the state. This would be a

Q: Considering your extensive list of projects in the

positive development that would boost the mining sector

development and exploration phase across Latin America,

not only in Sonora but throughout the country.

where will you be focusing your efforts in 2018? A: We are planning to move forward with a number of

We are also optimistic about the long-term effect that the

projects in the next few years, and Mexico is a priority for

Energy Reform will have on Mexico’s mining sector. We are

our investment plan, holding a vital place in our portfolio. In

already using our gas and wind-based energy generators

2016, a total of 65 percent of metal and mineral production

to cover our in-house needs, as well as making a profit on

came from Mexico.

the surplus. This is a strategy that is bringing great rewards for the company and we are committed to continuing our

The primary focus is the San Martin deposit in Zacatecas,

work in the local energy sector.

which has enormous potential but has been in limbo for the past 10 years due to a senseless strike that has been

Q: How is your investment strategy evolving in light of

detrimental to workers, the state and the company alike. We

volatile international commodity markets?

are also preparing to move forward with the El Pilar, Pilares

A: Copper remains the most important commodity in

and Buenavista Zinc projects in Sonora, before turning our

our portfolio, representing 80 percent of sales in 2016.

focus onto the Angangueo and El Arco assets.

Naturally, the fall in price of the brown metal has had a damaging effect on business. This effect has been

On the financial side, we are waiting for the macroeconomic

mitigated to an extent by our investment plan, which

climate to improve in order to proceed with our plans to

is designed to raise overall production levels across our

apply for an IPO for Americas Mining Corporation. Southern Copper has a dual-listing in Lima, Peru and New York, while Grupo México is listed on the BMV in Mexico City. We are

Americas Mining Corporationis Grupo México’s mining

convinced that an IPO will have a positive effect on the

subsidiary, overseeing Mexican operations, as well as those

Americas Mining Corporation investment profile, although

belonging to ASARCO and Southern Copper in the US, Peru

we are still evaluating where would be the best location

and Chile

for the company.



Q: What were the main contributors to Fresnillo's strong

at San Julian online. All told, 2016 was the second-best

performance in 2016?

year for Fresnillo since the company made its listing on the

A: Like all miners, we were helped by external factors such

London Stock Exchange nine years ago.

as the devaluation of the peso that enabled us to improve the internal cost structure. But we also managed to lower

Q: What actions are you taking to reduce fatality rates at

operational costs at several of our mines, which generated

your mines?

savings of US$25 million across our portfolio. Moreover, we

A: This is the most important challenge Fresnillo is facing and

were boosted by the increase in production at our mines,

we are disappointed that we have not reached our objective

particularly at La Herradura, Nochebuena and Saucito, while

of zero fatalities, which is the company’s primary goal. We

we also brought the first phase of commercial production

are trialing a new, in-depth safety system in the Saucito mine that we hope will help us achieve our zero-fatality goal. We already have safety protocols and equipment of the highest

Fresnillo is the world’s leading silver producer and Mexico’s

standard but we need to focus on educating our staff and

largest gold producer. It is a subsidiary of Grupo BAL and

contractors. We are determined to increase awareness and

operator Industrias Peñoles. The company is listed on the

risk identification throughout the company. If we succeed, this

London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100

system will be implemented across all of our mines.

Fresnillo mine, Fresnillo, Zacatecas




Q: What are Grupomar’s key differentiators?

Q: What is Grupomar’s participation in international

A: Since the company was founded, Grupomar has been


known for being the most innovative company in the

A: We export to the US, but due to the restrictions created

Mexican fishing segment. We were the first company to

by lobbyists, we only sell our products in small chains that

introduce easy-open tins, the first to commercialize tuna

sell Mexican products. Nevertheless, we have managed

salad and the first to offer canned octopus, squid and

to position ourselves in other markets, such as Central

salmon. We also offer tinned sardines. Grupomar manages

America and Spain, and we are opening new markets in the

approximately 60,000 tons of tuna per year and we can

Middle East and Turkey. We were the first fishing company

pack around 2 million cans of tuna on a daily basis.

to obtain the Halal certification. In addition, we also import tuna from Asian countries, such as China and Thailand. We

Q: Grupomar has a wide range of businesses. How do its

prepare frozen tuna slices that we later sell to restaurants,

business units complement each other?

both in Mexico and Spain.

A: We are a very integrated company, from port agencies, ship repair workshops to helicopter repair workshops. All

Q: How does Grupomar contribute to preservation of

unloading activities are performed by another Grupomar

natural resources in the fishing sector?

unit. We also have a plant where we manufacture our cans

A: The fact that the most sustainable tuna fishing happens

and an additional plant for processing and canning all our

where there are dolphins is not an excuse to also capture

products. The group also engages in direct distribution

them. To avoid this, we have a number of devices, including

to big retailers and small shops. We make and sell fish

the Medina Panel, which allow dolphins to jump over the net.

flour from the pieces of fish that are not used elsewhere.

In the case of Grupomar, we have a statistical zero when it

Grupomar is a completely integrated business.

comes to the number of dolphins killed due to our fishing activities. We even have divers who help the dolphins escape

This integration ensures the company’s viability. In the

each time they get caught in one of our nets.

primary sector, there are so many variables that could impact the performance of a company. You have good and

When it comes to the sustainability of tuna, we make sure to

bad years. However, with an integrated business model,

fish only adult tunas. In this way, we guarantee the continuity

you are less vulnerable to nature’s vicissitudes. Our plan

and reproduction of the species.

is to go the same way with sardines. We already have the ships and the plants. We now have to innovate in the

The Mexican fleet follows governmental and the Inter-

sardine segment.

American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT) guidelines. We have been part of the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable

Q: How has the Mexican diet adapted to include

Tuna for the past three years; this alliance obtained

Grupomar’s products?

the MSC Certification, which is the most prestigious

A: When we started operating, Mexico did not consume

certification for sustainable fishing. In addition, the

much tuna, so all our efforts were focused on the US

Mexican tuna fleet has been granted the FAO’s Margarita

market. At that time, Mexico consumed about 10,000

Lizárraga Medal Award.

tons of tuna per year, while today the country consumes between 160,000 and 170,000 tons. To foster the sector’s growth, the government launched an advertising campaign

Grupomaris a leader in Mexican fishing activities, port services,

to further promote the consumption of canned tuna. These

industrialization and commercialization of mass consumption

efforts, combined with our product innovation, changed

food. Grupomar is known for innovating in the canned food

Mexican consumption patterns.

sector, with different presentations of canned fish products




Head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic Zones (ZEE)

Q: What advancements have been made on the

Q: What are the steps that companies must follow to

implementation of the ZEE?

participate in the Mexican ZEEs?

A: Since the approval of the ZEE Law in May 2016, technical

A: Companies can participate through different investment

studies have been made by the ZEE Authority and approved

opportunities. Before the ZEEs start operating, companies

by an Inter-Ministerial Commission for the first five ZEEs:

can participate as ZEE developers or operators, or as

Puerto Chiapas in Chiapas; Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz;

partners of a ZEE developer or operator. Once the ZEE

Lazaro Cardenas - La Union in Michoacan and Guerrero;

starts operating, companies can invest inside the ZEE, as

Salina Cruz in Oaxaca; and Progreso in Yucatan.

anchor companies or suppliers, developing new business lines across the value chain. There will also be investment

The project has three different stages that were also

opportunities outside the ZEE, in the Areas of Influence,

approved by the Inter-Ministerial Commission. The first

which are nearby localities that will benefit from the

stage, which includes the declaration of the first three

ZEE economic spillovers, where companies can develop

ZEE: Lazaro Cardenas-La Union, Puerto Chiapas and

infrastructure and provide support services such as housing

Coatzacoalcos, was announced at the end of September

and education.

2017. Zones in this first stage have different objectives. For instance, Lazaro Cardenas is the entry point for the

ZEEs will be established in polygons that will permit

Asia-Pacific region and serves as an entry point for the

two types of sections, depending on land ownership. On

automotive and aerospace clusters in the center of the

one hand, federal land owned by the government will be

country; it is one of the most important ports in Mexico

licensed to a ZEE developer or operator, which will be

and it has impressive potential. In Coatzacoalcos, the

granted a permit through a public tender. We are looking

chemical and petrochemical sectors will help the city

for ZEE developers or operators with world experience that

become one of the most successful clusters in the

can associate with local companies and develop supply

country. It has the advantage of being a few hours away

chains. However, we also want these developers/operators

from the center of Mexico and is also part of the southern

to have a comprehensive regional vision to develop friendly

corridor of the country that connects with Salina Cruz.

environments suitable for both working and living, and not

Last, we envision Puerto Chiapas as a strategic entry

only for the development of industrial parks. On the other

point for Central America where a world class commercial

hand, ZEE sections will be developed on private land, where

cluster can be developed.

licensing will be granted to develop sector-specific clusters.

For the second stage of the project, we will include Salina

For the moment, we are working with the Ministry of

Cruz, in Oaxaca, and Progreso, in Yucatan. Salina Cruz is a

Finance and Public to craft the guidelines for granting

commercial and oil-related port that operates as a regional

permits for ZEE developers and authorizations for investors

logistics center and, alongside Coatzacoalcos, it is the most

inside the ZEE, which will be published before 2017 ends.

competitive intermodal economic node in the southeast of the country. Progreso will host a ZEE specialized in IT

Q: Is there any plan in place to ensure that new businesses

and R&D sectors, taking advantage of the stock of high-

generate added value and go beyond mere manufacturing

skilled human capital and a business environment focused


on innovation and technology development.

A: Mexican ZEE will be developed in the poorest regions of the country where a series of structural barriers hinder

Later, Tabasco and Campeche will host ZEE that will benefit

growth and economic development. For instance, deficient

from the installed capacity and knowledge of the energy

infrastructure, low-skilled human capital and high levels of

sector to establish world-class clusters.

informality in the labor market are barriers that limit the

region’s potential. As a result, manufacturing represents one out of 10 workers in the south, whereas the north more than doubles this proportion. What ZEEs look for is to change this disparity while benefiting from the competitive advantages of each region. There are zones that will attract investment

Approximately US$5.3 billion in investment and over 12,000 new jobs are expected from the first stage of the ZEEs

in the automotive and aerospace industries, others in petrochemical, others in agroindustry and others in IT and

not only the legal framework and governance model of the

R&D activities. This will create, in the medium to long term,

ZEE project, but also the main factors that maximize the

a more diversified economic structure in the southeast of

probability of success for a ZEE. Additionally, they helped

Mexico that will increase the industrial base and contribute

the Mexican government choose the best locations for the first

to closing development gaps that currently exist.

round of ZEEs, based on technical criteria such as access to infrastructure, land ownership and use, among others.

Q: How can continuity of the ZEE project be ensured once the current presidential administration ends?

They will continue to provide their experience in the next

A: Since the design of the project, the Mexican government

steps of implementation: the development program of

has seen the ZEE as a project that transcends political time

each ZEE, the tender process to grant a ZEE developer or

frames and ideologies.

operator the permit to develop and operate the first section on federal land, and the technical advice to the ZEE authority

For instance, we have a Federal Law for Special Economic

for guidance on granting permits and authorizations to

Zones that was approved by all political parties and we

developers, operators and investors.

have coordination laws for ZEE in the states that will host them, which are tied to the federal vision. We also have

Q: For the first three ZEEs, a total investment of US$5.3

letters of intent from municipalities, endorsed by local

billion and the creation of 12,000 jobs is expected. What

congresses, in which they ask to host a ZEE and we will

is the total expected investment for the entire region

also have coordination agreements endorsed by states’

encompassing the ZEEs?

congresses, in which we will work with transparency on

A: A crucial aspect of the implementation of ZEE is the

security, incentives, regulation, simplification, support and

attraction of investments that will help develop each zone

financing of projects in the ZEE.

and its area of influence, or the adjacent municipalities. The Feasibility Technical Reports executed for each of the

In the Declaratory Decree the President signed for the

first three zones declared present estimates based on the

first three ZEEs, it established fiscal incentives for 15 years

identified potential of each zone and their competitive

as acquired rights for investors, nearly double the eight

advantages, estimating investments of US$31.4 billion over 20-

granted by law. Other incentives, such as VAT exemptions

30 years, creating over 211,073 jobs during the same period.

and a special customs regime will last for the duration of the permit and authorization, which can be granted for 40

Based on prospective promotional activities, there has been

years and is renewable for a similar period. In sum, there

contact with over 150 enterprises that have shown interest in

is a solid legal framework in the country to establish ZEEs

the zones. Specifically, there are over 50 companies that have

as long-term projects and to provide legal certainty to the

presented this interest in a letter of intent to the ZEE authority,

companies that invest in them.

32 of which correspond to the first three zones declared by the president. Such letters represent an estimate of US$5.3

Q: What was the key focus when adapting this model from

billion, creating over 12,000 jobs. It is also possible that in the

other international experiences?

first two years after the declaration of the zones, investments

A: Since the design and planning stages, the federal

close to US$2.6 billion will be announced, with a creation of

government knew it had to learn from the success and

2,537 jobs. Through the conduction of these investments, the

failure of similar cases elsewhere. We asked the World Bank,

special economic zones will undoubtedly benefit the millions

the leading institution regarding ZEEs, to guide and enrich

of inhabitants in their areas of influence.

the process, and the Interamerican Development Bank to provide its experience with human capital and urban development across Latin America.

The Federal Authority for the Development of the Special Economic Zonesis a federal government department created

These institutions have helped us design the Mexican ZEE

in 2016. Its main task is to plan, promote, regulate and supervise

Law according to best international practices. This included

the development of ZEEs




The number of entrepreneurs in Mexico is on the rise, especially among the age group between 25 and 34 years old; a scenario that opens up great growth space for a segment marked by opportunity instead of necessity. SMEs have become the backbone of the Mexican economy: 52 percent of the national GDP comes from these companies, responsible for 72 percent of the country’s employment. The proliferation of independent business initiatives has originated a support system made up by networks of entrepreneurs, joint-ventures between large companies and SMEs and a young investment ecosystem. The creation of the National Entrepreneur Institute (INADEM), the arrival of international accelerators and funds and the creation of programs in educational institutions focused on business development, depict the contribution of startups and SMEs and their importance to the economy. Both sectors are providing innovation through technology and disruptive business models. The major industries in which these new companies are innovating include finance, mobility, retail, healthcare and services.

This chapter will show how entrepreneurs and SMEs are becoming the engine that is pushing Mexico to compete in the global economy while facing multiple challenges, such as funding, consolidation and subsequent growth.



ANALYSIS: Entrepreneurs, Innovation Push Mexico Into Industry 4.0


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Vincent Speranza, Endeavor Mexico


INSIGHT: Rogelio Cuevas, Centraal


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Hernán Fernández, Angel Ventures


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Francisco Meré, Bankaool


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Celia Bujaidar, Premo


INSIGHT: Vicente Fenoll, kubo.financiero


INSIGHT: Daniel Vogel, Bitso


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Zhaira Franco, Facebook


INSIGHT: Claudio del Conde, CEO and Co-Founder of Kichink


INSIGHT: Héctor Cárdenas, Founder and CEO of Conekta


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Javier De Antuñano, M4Tel


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Adolfo Babatz, Clip


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jonah Greenberger, Bright


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Antoine Perouze, Dada Room


INSIGHT: Julián Ríos, Higia Technologies


INSIGHT: Rodolfo Corcuera, Aliada

Ana Isabel Orvañanos, Aliada 51

INSIGHT: Ferenz Feher, Feher & Feher


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Oswaldo Trava, InstaFit,


INSIGHT: María Portilla, Mi Valedor

Regina Rivero, Mi Valedor 52

VIEW FROM THE TOP: Paola Carranco, TalentLab


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Manolo Díaz, Yogome

Alberto Colín, Yogome



ENTREPRENEURS, INNOVATION PUSH MEXICO INTO INDUSTRY 4.0 Technology is the tool Mexican entrepreneurs and SMEs are using to lead the country toward a fourth industrial revolution (I4.0) that is radically changing the economy with alternative ways to access products and services, connecting different social players and including more people in the formal economy


Through disruptive technological developments, emerging

of the Mexican adult population has a bank account

Mexican startups have found opportunities in the market

and less than 20 percent has credit cards. Conekta, a

by introducing products and services that adapt to

technology and security company that offers banking

new consumer trends. The result is a burgeoning digital

services, developed OXXO Pay, a solution that allows

revolution, the so-called I4.0, that is reshaping the

online purchases without a credit card. Instead of using

landscape across sectors, with SMEs among those finding

a card, OXXO Pay provides a 14-digit reference that

a new foothold.

customers can use at any OXXO store.

According to the PwC report, Industry 4.0 Opportunities

The lack of financial inclusion is linked to the breadth of

and Challenges of the Industrial Internet, “Industry 4.0 is

informality in the Mexican economy. According to INEGI,

driven by digitalization of vertical and horizontal value,

in 2015, informal businesses accounted for approximately

digitalization of product and service offering and digital

24 percent of GDP. Paid domestic work is one of the most

business model and customer access.”

affected by informality, which led Ana Orvañanos and Rodolfo Corcuera to found Aliada, a market that connects

The ability of entrepreneurs to find solutions that facilitate

users with domestic workers. Orvañanos explains that for

existing processes is attractive to large companies and

workers to register on the platform they must go through

organizations. Many are already creating synergies with

a verification process that includes several trusted filters,

SMEs to build a system in which large companies take

including registering with SAT.

advantage of the talent of small companies. Visa is a good example. Visa Development Platform and the Application


Programing Interfaces (APIs) invite fintech startups to

The economic impact of the technological initiatives from

co-create customized solutions with the technology

entrepreneurs and SMEs is in part a consequence of the

company. Recently, Visa also launched in Mexico the Visa

creation of support networks. Endeavor, for example,

Everywhere Initiative in alliance with Finnovista to find the

selects and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs around

most innovative fintech startup in Latin America. The winner

the world to access a mentorship system made up of

will receive a US$50,000 grant and will collaborate with

senior managers from large consulting firms, CEOs of

Visa in the future.

the best technological companies and former Endeavor entrepreneurs who have deep expertise in specific

“As entrepreneurs, we need to think in business models

industries, and who donate between three and four hours

that are entirely different to that which we know,” says

of their time per month to coach the entrepreneurs.

Vicente Fenoll, CEO and Founder of kubo.financero.

Endeavor’s purpose is to permanently grow this network

“Our technology proposal is managed to generate price

with people willing to share their story.

differentials that favor both investors, with higher rates of return, and borrowers, with lower interest rates,” he adds.

The government is also playing an important role

Online platform kubo.financiero specializes in crowdfunding

to promote the creation of SMEs with the National

and peer-to-peer (P2P) loans regulated by the CNBV.

Entrepreneur Institute (INADEM), a public organism

The platform is based on algorithms that analyze the

created to support and promote small, medium and micro

information of borrowers, determines if they qualify to be

companies. The INADEM provides a support network for

on the platform and establishes payment plans, as well as

Mexican entrepreneurs, access to workshops and online

interest rates.

tutorials in topics related to the creation of a company. In addition, former entrepreneurs with outstanding success

Technology has also become a vehicle for improving

stories are giving SMEs space to write their own story. This

access to financial services and promoting integration

is the case of Facebook Entrepreneurship and Economic

into the formal economy in Mexico. According to the

Growth, a division of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network that

National Survey on Financial Inclusion, only 40 percent

helps small businesses make the most of the business tools

Facebook offices, Mexico City


available on the platform. “There are 78 million people in

like Google and Centraal are helping to connect Mexican

Mexico with an active Facebook account. Ninety percent

startups with companies in the US.

of the population that has internet access has a Facebook account. Today, there are at least 1.5 million SMEs with


a business profile on Facebook Mexico and 77 percent

That is another indication that what begins in Mexico could

of Mexicans who have an account follow a local SME,”

have an impact elsewhere, says Manolo Díaz, CEO and

explains Zhaira Franco, Engagement Manager at Facebook

Co-Founder of Yogome, a Mexican startup that develops

Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth.

educational minigames for children. He recalls that the first mentors he and his team met in Silicon Valley asked them:


how are you going to compete with Disney? “Of course, we

While a positive step, the existing support system is not

did not know the answer and they told us that if we were

enough for the Mexican economy in which, according to

raising capital and wanted investors to trust us, we should

Peter Kroll, CEO of everis Mexico, 2,000 companies are born

know how we plan to beat Disney from the beginning. We

every year. A survey conducted by the IE Business School

needed quality, a good concept and a great story. And we

concluded the main obstacles to start a business in Mexico

had to think beyond Mexico because technology allows us

are: bureaucracy, compliance with the required paper work,

to cross borders and to look for opportunities everywhere,”

lack of credit and lack of investors. According to PwC, one

says Díaz. Today, Yogome has more than 4 million active

of the difficulties to enter I4.0 is to reach high investment

users per month in more than 50 countries.

levels. “Private equity in Mexico is lower in terms of GDP than in Chile and Colombia. We need more angel investors,

Alongside the success stories are those who fail to make

which will only be possible through tax incentives,” says

it out of the gate. The Failure Institute, an organization

Hernán Fernández, Managing Partner at Angel Ventures, a

that gathers information from 50 researchers and 1,000

venture capital firm. In addition, without the participation

entrepreneurs on five continents, says that 75 percent of

of pension funds, there is no possibility of creating a

businesses in Mexico close after two years. The institute

private equity or venture capital industry, says Fernández.

also says the top 5 reasons why businesses fail in Mexico

Lack of support has led startups to find opportunities in

are insufficient income to survive, lack of metrics, lack of

stronger ecosystems, like Silicon Valley. In fact, companies

process analysis, poor planning and operational challenges.



Q: What is the dynamic through which Endeavor integrates

and the project’s inflexion point. In this stage, we eliminate

entrepreneurs, mentors and investors?

around 50 percent of the applicants. The second phase is

A: We have three different audiences. First, the advisers

a national panel in which we gather between nine and 12

and the founders´ board which consists of 13 businessmen

companies. The mentors then decide which ones will go to

who believed in Endeavor’s response to the national poverty

the international panel to compete with the finalists of the

problem. Some of the founders are Pedro Aspe, Emilio

30 countries where Endeavor works. Every year, between six

Azcárraga Jean and Lorenzo Zambrano. Our Chairman is

and nine Mexican companies are chosen.

Sergio Rosengaus, who built the only Mexican unicorn, Kio Networks. We then have our local network of mentors, made

Q: What entrepreneurial profile does Mexico need and what

up of senior managers from large consulting firms, CEOs

type of ideas are you looking for?

of the best technological companies and former Endeavor

A: It is about what we need in terms of history. Mexico has a

entrepreneurs who have deep expertise in specific industries.

lack of recent success stories regarding entrepreneurs. That

They donate between three and four hours of their time

is why our methodology is based on the multiplying effect

per month to help us select and coach entrepreneurs. The

of high-impact entrepreneurs, an effect that has two stages.

third group is the entrepreneurs themselves. We search the

First, entrepreneurs become very successful by transforming

country to find people we believe are capable of transforming

their sector. In the second stage, the entrepreneur repays

an industry.

his success by inspiring, mentoring or investing in new entrepreneurs within the local ecosystem.

Q: What is Endeavor’s criteria for selecting entrepreneurs? A: Endeavor focuses only on high-impact entrepreneurs or

Q: How do you finance your operations?

those who become successful and repay their success by

A: We have three financing sources. First, our events

mentoring, inspiring or investing in the next generation. We

represent 30 percent of the income. Next is our relationship

have three main selection standards. First, we take a close

with brands through cooperative sponsorships. Finally, we

look at the founding team. We consider their trajectory,

have the entrepreneurs monthly give back. The smallest

passions, leadership abilities and their capacity to inspire

companies pay MX$5,000 per month and the big ones

through their stories. Then we evaluate their business model;

MX$30,000. However, smaller companies get all the

we look for innovation and a very clear value proposition.

attention and the big companies act as mentors. Also, there

Finally, we look for a turning point that justifies why Endeavor

is an Endeavor catalyst fund in San Francisco, which is a co-

should accompany that entrepreneur to the next stage. In

investment vehicle that invests in Endeavor’s entrepreneur

the end, we choose the entrepreneur that the country needs.

rounds alongside professional investors.

Q: What filters do you apply to find such a specific profile?

Q: What are the main obstacles to entrepreneurial success?

A: We evaluate between 600 and 800 companies and by

A: Endeavor looks for entrepreneurs who have scratches,

the final stage we choose from six to 10. The process has

those who have already failed and recovered. For us, failure

three stages. First, each entrepreneur is interviewed by 10

is a very important part of the process and we want to work

mentors who asses the leader’s potential, the business model

with people who can overcome that. I have never seen a system that punishes failure as hard as that in Mexico. The probabilities for an entrepreneur to trip on their first try are

Endeavoris a nonprofit organization with the mission to select,

very high and in Mexico we punish them so hard that there is

mentor and accelerate high-impact entrepreneurs around the

never a second try. In Mexico we do not recognize success. We

world. It has 28 affiliated offices in Latin America, Europe,

think those who succeed did it because they cheated, stole or

Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East

because they had contacts, instead of recognizing their story.



As more people decide to leave the corporate world and join

there are outstanding developers who can create fantastic

the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico, there is a

projects.” However, he recognizes that there are some gaps in

bigger demand from independent business for spaces to work,

the ecosystem: “Mexican entrepreneurs need to believe they

grow and develop. Centraal, a coworking space for Mexican

can create a global company and they need to think big. We

startups located in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood, was

also need success stories from investors and entrepreneurs

created in this context. Centraal was founded in 2013 and

who have had good exits.” In his opinion, the main sectors for

it has become an important shelter for the Mexican startup

development in Mexico are fintech, Internet of Things (IoT)

ecosystem. “The first time we thought about Centraal, we

and intermediate technology.

wanted to create a common place for entrepreneurs where people from different disciplines could interact and create

Despite the existing landscape, the number of startups that

networks of value,” says Rogelio Cuevas, CEO of Centraal.

succeed in the country is low. According to the Failure Institute, 75 percent of startups in Mexico fail and close operations after

According to Cuevas, the Mexican startup community is

their second year. “Many people still believe that a business

growing as Mexicans choose careers that allow them to work

idea is worth gold. Everyone can have ideas but the capacity

independently. “In Mexico 80 percent of business is created by

of a team to execute them in alternative ways is what leads

SMEs.” Plus, according to the most recent economic census

to success,” Cuevas adds.

done by INEGI, 95 percent of Mexican businesses are SMEs. Considering this environment, Centraal started creating

In Mexico, the Government is creating new opportunities

value partnerships for its clients. In 2016, when Google for

through the National Entrepreneur Institute, which opens

Entrepreneurs chose Mexico as the first Latin American

public tenders for funding. “The entrepreneurship career is

Country to expand its GFE Partner Network, Centraal

very lonely and everything we build through public policies

became the first and sole Latin American partner. Through

should be permanent,” says Cuevas. In addition, private

this alliance, Google and Centraal will take Mexican startups

companies are playing a main role in the sector. According

to Silicon Valley. “Through Google we can provide Mexican

to Centraal’s CEO, some of the most committed companies

startups access to programs developed by other partners in

include Bosch, Gentera (Finlab), BBVA, Citibanamex, Grupo

the network. For example, if Campus Seoul, another Google

Bimbo, Coca-Cola and CEMEX among others. “The problem is

space, organizes an event for startups in entertainment, we

the division between people with resources and people with

can select and invite Mexican entertainment startups to

ideas, so we try to find all the ways that they can collaborate,”

participate with all their expenses paid,” says Cuevas.

he explains. Centraal already hosted startups for ‘The Bridge’ program created by The Coca-Cola Company, which recently

Through these opportunities, Centraal is joining efforts with

entered Mexico after being developed in Israel.

Google to empower the Mexican entrepreneur community. In fact, Centraal organized Mexico Startup Day 2016 in November

Centraal will focus on opportunities to expand internationally.

2016, where 10 top Mexican start-ups pitched their companies

They are also interested in providing more training for

to investors from Silicon Valley. Centraal is also supporting

entrepreneurs, creating more technology and working

newborn startups through events called Launchpads, where

closely with corporations, such as Bosch, to develop

they gather entrepreneurs with projects in similar sectors and

ambitious innovation programs that bridge startup talent and

bring Google mentors and experts from across the world to

entrepreneurs with world-class companies. Indeed, Centraal

support these young ventures.

would like to see more success stories pass through their space. “When Uber first arrived to Mexico, they were a team

Cuevas believes Mexico is a hub for technology entrepreneurs.

of two working out of Centraal. We believe our impact has

“There is a lot of engineering talent in the country. In Mexico,

been very high and there is a lot to be done,” he adds.



Q: What inspired the founding of Angel Ventures?

US$2 million for each project, so we were not able to finance,

A: There is both talent and opportunity in Mexico and we saw

for example, renewable-energy initiatives, which usually

a need to bring those pieces together to make a more virtuous

require investments of hundreds of millions of dollars.

ecosystem. Based on this vision, in 2008 we launched Club de Ángeles Inversionistas. Between 2008 and 2012, access

The first fund benefited entrepreneurs with a business in

to capital was limited and we attracted many entrepreneurs.

Mexico. We have entrepreneurs from Argentina, Uruguay,

At the same time, private investors were interested in

Colombia, Canada and the US but all are operating in Mexico.

participating in startups. In 2008, we had 13 projects funded

With the second fund, we will continue with the same style

with US$10 million and from there we started to build a

but we are open to receiving companies with businesses in

significant portfolio. In 2012, we had a growing network of

Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

investors and we decided to launch our first investment fund: Angel Ventures. The fund invested in projects in Mexico or

Q: What is the main difference between Latin American

with a predominantly Mexico-focused business case, and

venture capital compared with the rest of the world?

resulted in many successful stories, such as Clip and Kueski,

A: In Latin America, venture capital investments are very

in fintech; Iguanafix, in media; Ösom, in e-commerce; Onko,

different to what you would expect in other markets, as

in health and Gurucargo in logistics.

innovation is limited and it relies more on execution and adapting successful business models from the world to the

Q: The IDB and the Pacific Alliance are participating in

region. US funds want access to a unicorn; that is, a company

your next round of capital raising. What benefits does this

valued at more than US$1 billion. However, in the countries

participation provide?

where we operate the projects have a longer reach time frame.

A: Last year, the governments of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and

We often say that we are looking for several ponies in our

Peru decided to fund an entrepreneurs’ fund worth US$100

portfolio that make up for the lack of unicorns. This means that

million. It was coordinated by the IDB. We were selected to

we need between three and four projects to have a unicorn.

run the fund because of the presence we have in different

This is how we understand venture capital in Latin America.

countries and our multispectral pipeline. The Pacific Alliance is a very interesting platform. Our goal is to invest in 15 or 20

Q: Angel Ventures is the largest network of investors in Latin

projects in different phases but focusing on early growth and

America, with more than 400 participants. How interested

disruptive innovations.

are Mexican investors in these funds? A: Private equity in Mexico is lower in terms of GDP than in

Q: What kinds of companies do you look for when stocking

Chile and Colombia. We need more angel investors, which will

your pipeline?

only be possible through tax incentives. In addition, without

A: We are interested in following global trends in which Mexico

the participation of pension funds there is no possibility of

can be competitive. We are exploring pipeline opportunities

creating a private equity or venture capital industry.

in fintech and health-related services, as well as platforms to leverage the sharing economy, also known as the “uberization”

However, there are more investors. The venture capital

of things. In the first fund, we had between US$500,000 and

industry has a cultural and generational factor. Today, investors are between 40 and 50 years old and grew up with success stories like Microsoft or Google. For those who are now around

Angel Ventures,first founded in Mexico in 2008, is a venture

60 years old, their example of a success story is Walmart or

capital firm that helps strengthen the development of startups

Exxon. In Mexico, we have proven that good business models

in Mexico, US, Colombia, Peru and Chile. With around US$14

can attract capital. If pension funds and institutional capital

million invested, it is one of the main players in the industry

flowed more quickly, that would lead to more projects.



Q: What is Bankaool’s added value given that almost all

Q: What are the challenges related to offering this type of

banks are investing in fintech?

service in Mexico?

A: We have several unique characteristics. We have a

A: We are convinced that the customer experience should be

considerable technology component based on our vision to

based on trust. Bankaool is for everyone but not everyone is

incorporate modern technology, which makes us robust and

for Bankaool. Our clients must have a high level of trust in

flexible enough to design products and change processes

technology and should be users of other online products, such

when our clients ask. The platform operates similarly to an

as Uber, Netflix and Spotify. There are people who prefer to

e-commerce site. It incorporates a simple and very intuitive

go to a branch but there are many other people who prefer

process that provides the client the instant gratification of

banking on demand.

receiving a financial product, our main differentiator. At a regular bank, the customer goes to an office and then receives the offer of a digital experience. Here the digital experience

Bankaool was the first online Mexican bank. It offered online

comes first. We have a filter that prevents generic attacks and

loans and allowed clients to conduct any bank transaction

a token for transactions, in addition to the regular password,

online. In July 2017, Grupo Financiero Ve por Más announced

and a fraud prevention system.

its intention to merge Bankaool with Banco Ve por Más



Q: How does Premo contribute to the development of

create a credit history, which will later help them access

SMEs in Mexico?

commercial banking loans.

A: Most SMEs do not receive credit from the banking system. SMEs receive funding mainly from their suppliers

Q: What are the myths surrounding credit lines that

without knowing the real cost of that credit. By going

prevent SMEs from accessing them?

through a financial institution, companies can pay rates

A: With small SMEs, sometimes a lack of knowledge leads

that end up being much more economical than those

them to believe that accessing credit lines through a formal

applied to loans from suppliers. Premo provides loans

institution entails a heavily procedure. Many are not aware

for working capital to SMEs, which allows them to access

of the benefits of receiving credit from a formal institution.

better prices for their inputs or to increase their operations. Many SMEs have access to commercial banking but the processes are too slow. We are a fast source of support

Premo is a nonregulated SOFOM that specializes in providing

in approving and delivering money. The company also

credit lines to SMEs. The company was founded in 2008 and

works as a bridge for those SMEs that do not have access

offers loans starting at MX$100,000 up to MX$5 million. It offers

to commercial banking credit. This way, companies can

an online tool to prequalify credit lines for potential clients




Entrepreneurs are disruptive in the most unimaginable ways.

While mathematics and algorithms are kubo.financiero’s first

It is no surprise that the business model of kubo.financiero,

security filter for its investors, to provide an extra degree of

a fintech startup, is based on three unusual aspects:

safety they suggest what any other good investors does:

technology, regulation and trust. Vicente Fenoll, CEO and

diversify their portfolio. “We do not tell investors where to

Founder of kubo.financiero, says the disruption caused by

put their money, but we do urge them to invest in at least

companies such as his is a result of an entrepreneur’s DNA.

200 different projects (on average more than 400). This

“As entrepreneurs, we need to think in business models

way, if a lender fails to pay, then investors do not lose all

entirely different to that which we know.”

their money,” says Fenoll. “A typical investor account at kubo.financiero totals MX$80,000 allocated to 400 or 500

Through a digital marketplace, the company puts investors

projects, but we have people participating with MX$5,000

or lenders in direct contact with borrowers, which Fenoll

in 100 projects.”

says is a kubo.financiero innovation. “As an investor, you can choose in what project to invest. You have access

However, kubo.financiero would not be the successful model

to the person’s history and project and decide whether

it is without the technology component. “Our technologic

to invest with them or not,” he says. However, there is a

proposal is managed to generate price differentials that

catch. All loans are made without a guarantee of payment,

favor both investors, with higher rates of return, and

making trust and very complex mathematic algorithms

borrowers, with lower interest rates.” This means that while

the investors’ best bet to get paid. “The only guarantee

a traditional investment in a bank yields an average rate of

our investors have of being paid back is that the person

around 2-4 percent, kubo.financiero offers an average 13.8

that they are investing in has a history of complying with

percent. Interest rates for borrowers are also decreasing.

payments,” says Fenoll. That is why kubo.financiero rejects

Fenoll says that on average, clients pay 39 percent. In 2012,

almost 92 percent of the loan applications it receives.

when the company launched, borrowers were paying a 47

Regulations generate extra costs and procedures that are not always entirely efficient, but a regulated entity generates more trust”

percent interest rate. Bolstered by its technological component, kubo.financiero’s value proposition helped attract US$7.5 million in an investment round in August 2016, which Fenoll says represents trust in the company, the fintech business model and the management team. He is confident that kubo. financiero is poised to continue growing to reach 10,000 users and 1,500 investors in 2017. The third element of kubo.financiero’s business equation relates to regulation. Fenoll says many entrepreneurs believe

The rejection rate is based on risk, as calculated by the

that being disruptive means fighting against regulations.

company’s algorithms. “We use very complex mathematical

On the contrary, he says regulation has been a competitive

models to assess risk. Our algorithms analyze information

advantage that has allowed the company to generate trust.

from the credit bureau, third parties, behavior on the

It became the first company of its kind to be regulated by

platform and information people provide us. They then

the CNBV in 2015. “It is true that regulations generate extra

determine if companies qualify to be in our platform. Our

costs and procedures that are not always entirely efficient,

algorithms even establish payment plans as well as interest

but a regulated entity generates more trust, especially when

rates,” Fenoll says.

you are handling money from third parties.”



In 2014, in a good month, the number of bitcoin transactions

Vogel is convinced the most important innovation

on exchange platform Bitso amounted to MX$4 million. In

opportunity for bitcoin and other digital currencies lies with

2017, MX$4 million represents a slow day. Bitso, which aims

microtransactions. “In the future, you might use bitcoins

to connect Mexico with the world of digital currencies such as

to skip adds on YouTube or instead of subscribing to a

bitcoin and ethereum, now oversees daily bitcoin transactions

newspaper you will pay fractions of bitcoins to read only the

that usually range between MX$4 million and MX$15 million.

articles you want to read.”

Daniel Vogel, President of Bitso, is convinced it has not even

Traditional retail would be the go-to option for normalizing

scratched the surface of the digital currencies’ potential

the use of digital currencies but Vogel believes the currency

in Mexico. “The use of digital currencies will increase

offers more interesting opportunities. “Peer-to-peer lending

competition, lower transaction costs and completely

platforms have existed for a long time but they tend to be

change our paradigm regarding the way we interact with

local. Now, we are seeing people experiment with bitcoin

the suppliers of financial services.”

peer-to-peer lending globally,” continues Vogel.

One of bitcoin’s most unsettling elements for many is

But not everything everything about bitcoin is sorted out. Two

that it is not backed by any central authority, bank or

issues are front and center: the lack of regulation and the use

institution,“the issuance of new bitcoins is controlled in

of the currency for illegal activities. Since it is not backed by

code. It is not arbitrary and cannot be changed by any

any institution, it has no regulatory oversight. However, that

individual. We know exactly how many bitcoins are in

does not mean that governments have not made an effort to

circulation and how many will be circulating in a particular

give it an operational framework. In April 2017, the government

moment,” says Vogel.

of Japan recognized bitcoin as a legal payment method, which has sent the value of the digital currency soaring, experts say.

Unlike common currency, which is printed or coined by

The EU and the US treat it as a currency but have imposed a

federal governments, bitcoins are created through a

series of regulations that tax any income that people might

process called mining, which is solving math problems.

get from it.

“All the computers connected to the bitcoin network solve equations. Whenever an equation is solved, a

Other common concern is bitcoin’s anonymity and thus its

block referencing the previous one is created,” says

use for illegal activities. Though every bitcoin transaction is

Vogel. “Whenever I make a transaction with bitcoins, it is

registered in the blockchain and thus is traceable, users can

registered in the blockchain and every computer running

choose whether their name is revealed or not. That sort of

the software registers the transaction. Every 10 minutes the

anonymity was taken advantage of in the global cyberattack

bitcoin network is updated and transfers this information

that took place in May 2017, when payments were demanded

to the computers running the software.”

in bitcoins. But Vogel says that those who use bitcoins for illegal activities have no understanding of the technology

The intricate system connecting computers and updating the

and that never in history has there been such traceability and

blockchain makes it almost impossible to alter bitcoin. “If you

visibility in the monetary system.

want to alter any bitcoin transaction, it would be necessary to convince all the anonymous computers running the software

Despite the hurdles, Vogel is confident that the benefits the

to change the blockchain,” explains Vogel. He says bitcoin

currency could offer surpass its perils. “In the same way that

must be understood as a protocol. “Just like the internet is

in the 1990s people could not understand the role the internet

a protocol, so is the bitcoin network. Being an open system

would have in the monetary system, people do not entirely get

allows for important innovation opportunities.”

what bitcoin will do for them in the coming years,” Vogel says.


A SOCIAL APPROACH TO BUSINESS ZHAIRA FRANCO Entrepreneurship Manager at Facebook 42

Q: What motivated Facebook to establish the

ready to advertise, they have control of their campaign and

Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth initiative in Mexico?

can start and end whenever they want.

A: The initiative was launched in Brazil about three or four years ago, after Facebook identified a need among SMEs

Q: What are Facebook’s main programs in Mexico?

and entrepreneurs. The idea is to offer educational programs

A: Boost your Business with Facebook is a public workshop

that teach them how to boost their business using the tools

where we train entrepreneurs on how to use Facebook and

available on Facebook and Instagram. The initiative was

Instagram to grow their business; it is a space where they can

launched in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean two

learn about success stories. In each workshop, we cover topics

years ago. In Mexico, in particular, we decided to implement

such as creating a profile, creative content, how to make basic

the program due to the country’s size and the importance of

and advanced advertisements and how to use messenger

SMEs to Mexico’s economic growth. Ninety-nine percent of

for business. We also teach internationalization strategies to

companies in Mexico are SMEs, accounting for almost half of

those who are ready to export and we talk about Instagram

the country’s GDP.

for business. There are 750 million Instagram accounts in the world and in early 2017, we launched business profiles. It is

Q: How can Facebook contribute to the development of local

important that entrepreneurs know this tool is available. We


also have a program called Facebook for Business, through

A: The Facebook platform can help SMEs reach their clients.

which we offer our workshop at other events.

There are 78 million people in Mexico with an active Facebook account. Ninety percent of the population that has internet

Q: What success stories do you believe stand out?

access has a Facebook account. Today, there are at least 1.5

A: We are especially proud of the case of Moños Charros El

million SMEs with a business profile on Facebook Mexico and

Appaloosa, a business created by a 27-year-old man from a

77 percent of Mexicans who have an account follow a local

town near Zacatecas. He is a veterinarian and his family history

SME. People are not only on Facebook to connect with family

is related to the business of charrería, a sport similar to rodeo.

and friends, but also to get to know local businesses.

He commercializes charros bows and produces and shares very good content on Facebook. He exports his bows and

Q: What benefits does Facebook offer as a marketing

has quadrupled his sales using Facebook.

platform? A: In addition to the different tools available to promote a

Entrepreneurs should always keep in mind that on Facebook

business, Facebook offers more opportunities than mass

they compete against other companies, so the most attractive

media. When we conduct our training programs, we always

content is what will be visible.

suggest that the customer answer these three questions: What goal do you hope to achieve with this website? Who

Q: What strategies are you implementing to raise awareness

is your audience? What is the relevant message you want

about the benefits of these programs?

to convey? Entrepreneurs do not have too much time and

A: We publish all the information about our events and

want to be precise with their actions. Facebook can take them

workshops at and we also have a

directly to their goal. When entrepreneurs decide they are

blog in which we talk about the training sessions and success stories. The Facebook for Business program, which is about the tools available for entrepreneurs, is also in Spanish. To

Facebook Entrepreneurship and Economic Growthis a division

reach those communities that are not yet digitally active,

of Facebook focused on providing SMEs and entrepreneurs

we joined CREA, an NGO that provides courses to women

digital tools on the Facebook platform to boost their business.

in vulnerable situations, to offer our workshop Ella Aprende,

It also hosts public workshops throughout the country

Ella Emprende (She Learns, She Does).



Bricks, mortar… setting up a business in an offline economy

Product delivery is equally important. Kichink has developed

entails significant investment costs. For SMEs, going online

a relationship with almost every logistics company to ensure

means traditional fixed costs disappear and operations can

that stores on the site have access to the lowest possible

begin with a minimum investment, says Claudio del Conde,

shipping costs. “We manage the order and we track it every

CEO and Co-Founder of Kichink, an online marketplace

step of the way. Of our orders, 98.5 percent are delivered on

whose goal is to provide commercial opportunities in the

time,” he says. Kichink also provides picking, packing and

online economy.

delivery services for stores with larger transactions.

“Our purpose is to empower SMEs by helping them

The platform also offers a marketing consultancy

set up and scale up direct sales channels to reach final

component. “We help SMEs generate marketing concepts,

consumers,” says Del Conde. Kichink’s platform allows

best practices on how to use social media and we offer

users to set up an online store in only two and a half hours

to handle the purchase of digital media,” says Del Conde,

and to scale it up using a model specially designed for

for whom Kichink’s success is rooted in the added value

SMEs. “We manage the technology surrounding the online

the platform provides for SMEs. “The easy formula for a

store. Clients can set it up on Kichink’s platform, Facebook

technology startup is to focus on the software development,

and their websites and it can be customized to their exact

lease it and collect the money, regardless of whether the

specifications,” says Del Conde.

SMEs sell or deliver on time. These kinds of solutions address a market that has enough sophistication. We wanted to

While it is true the internet has permitted the appearance

provide SMEs with a tool that would allow them to grow.”

of several marketplaces, Del Conde says Kichink’s model differs from its competitors in two main ways: its mission

Among the several challenges particular to Mexico, access

to empower SMEs and its focus on ensuring an impeccable

to banking and internet services ranks high. “Banking

user experience. “We do not compete with marketplaces

institutions have no tools to verify certain data. This makes

such as Lineo or Amazon. In its model, brand and product

them less willing to take on some risks.” internet access

positioning depends entirely on them,” he says. “Kichink

is a different hurdle. “Though the number of smartphones

is an enabler that allows SMEs to have a direct channel

grows every year, payment for data does not. This means

to consumers.”

that Mexicans access only free internet content, basically Facebook and Twitter,” Del Conde says.

According to Del Conde, less than 10 percent of SMEs participate in the online economy. “It is an economy

Another stumbling block resides in the offline world: postal

dominated by large corporations,” he says, adding that

delivery. “People in the US are used to getting things in the

Kichink’s model would not work if it did not provide an

mail every day. In Mexico, we have never had this culture.

adequate user experience. “Kichink accepts payment

In the US, around 70 percent of e-commerce sales are of a

through credit and debit cards as well as in cash. We also

physical product. In Mexico, services make up the bulk of

set up the entire system to avoid fraud and perform our

sales – less than 30 percent are of physical products.” One

own payment analysis.”

of Kichink’s goal is to reverse this trend. “We offer services such as classes, seminars and tickets for events but physical

Even though the company is an online platform that

products make up 90 percent of what the platform offers.”

enables e-commerce, Del Conde explains that around 50 percent of payments are made in cash, which is a symptom

Del Conde is confident that it is only a matter of time before

of a bigger problem: the lack of banking access in the

e-commerce completely takes off. “E-commerce can reach


market niches that retail cannot.”



According to the National Report on Financial Inclusion,

The product extends beyond the payment infrastructure.

82 percent of Mexican adults do not have a credit card,

“We started with a solution that enabled companies to

let alone engage in e-commerce activities. Financial

receive online payments but we realized that it was not

technology aggregator Conekta says this represents a

the only problem the Mexican market was facing. Fraud

wide-open opportunity for like-minded businesses. “We

and chargebacks, or friendly fraud, are also very usual

are a technology and security company that is solving an

problems,” says Cárdenas. OXXO Pay averts both: “Since the

existing problem with our offering of banking products,”

client goes physically to OXXO to pay, there is no possibility

says Héctor Cárdenas, the company’s Founder and CEO.

of chargeback.” Chargeback, also known as friendly fraud, occurs when someone makes a purchase on their credit

Cárdenas says the only way to grow e-commerce activities

card then requests a chargeback or refund from the bank

in Mexico is to close the circle and address all the loose

instead of the merchant, even though they have received

ends that still exist, providing incentives for people to

the merchandise.

buy products online. “You need to work with both sides of the equation: users and businesses. It is important to

For e-commerce to take hold in Mexico, it needs to

provide users with the confidence that their product will be

overcome not only infrastructure but cultural constraints

delivered and to provide businesses with a secure payment

as well, which include a lack of trust in payment systems.

system,” he says.

Conekta, ensures that all the data is managed following the strictest security standards. “We have certifications that

Offering safety has been Conekta’s mission. Its solution

allow us to store all our clients’ sensitive information with

allows companies to accept and process online payments

the highest security standards in terms of encryption,” says

using two options: an API version that allows companies to


integrate Conekta’s solution in a personalized manner and through several plugins that SMEs tend to favor.

Though much has been done in terms of developing the e-commerce market in Mexico, there is still a long

Individuals are another matter altogether. A large number

way to go. Cárdenas says that in 2016 in Latin America,

of Mexicans do not have access to banking services and

a total of US$66 billion of products and services were

credit cards. According to Cárdenas, 61 percent of Mexicans

commercialized via e-commerce. Mexico accounted

do not have access to any sort of banking service. With

for US$11 billion. Also in 2016, online retailer Amazon

82 percent of adults not having credit cards, this means

registered net global sales of almost US$136 billion.

that regardless of the advancements made in payment

Cárdenas says that the fact that one company alone

services, only around 20 percent of the country’s adults

processed in payments double that of Latin America and

would benefit from e-commerce.

10 times more than Mexico is a sign that there is still great room for growth.

Conekta’s answer is OXXO Pay. In September 2016, the startup, founded in 2011, raised US$6.6 million from FEMSA

But furthering e-commerce in the country requires

and venture capital funds to develop the solution that

businesses to understand that it is not a panacea. “We need

allows people with no credit card to buy online. Instead of

to stop creating online stores just for the sake of doing

using a credit card, OXXO Pay provides a 14-digit reference

e-commerce. It needs to make sense and offer a better

that customers can use at any of convenience store chain

added value,” says Cárdenas. “That is part of what happens

OXXO’s 14,695 locations. Conekta notifies the business of

with SMEs. They get excited and launch their online store

the payment in real time. “It is an alternative product that

and then nothing happens. We have to help them to be

allows you to emulate credit card payments,” says Cárdenas.

more efficient.”



Q: What is the main added value that M4Tel offers its users ?

Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. We will likely reach 5

A: The philosophy of our business was to offer a better cost

million sold in the next two or three years.

benefit to position our products as the best option at the point of sales. We are the only brand offering an interactive smart

Q: Can you describe your production process?

cover as a phone accessory. These aggregated values have a

A: Everything is conceptualized in Mexico. We were the first

big impact for postpaid clients, who sign contracts for 18 to

in Latin America to integrate Qualcomm’s applications. We

24 months and rent the phone. We lead the medium segment,

take care of what goes inside the phone, the features and the

which refers to smartphones from MX$2,259 to MX$3,999.

technical solutions that could make it competitive. R&D stage

Last year, we place more than 1.2 million phones on stores. We

is developed in China. We have launched 17 models.

also explored the corporate market and developed a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that many security and banking companies have acquired.

M4Tel is a Mexican company that manufactures cellphones for the medium-range market distributed by Telcel. It was

Mexico accounts for between 75 and 80 percent of all devices

founded in 2012 and is present in Mexico and Central America.

sold. After Mexico, the main purchasers are Guatemala, El

Its technology partners are MediaTek and Qualcomm



Q: How did you come up with the idea to create the Clip

from ATMs. For this reason, it can be said that Clip is the

card reader?

missing piece in financial inclusion. Clip is “terminalizing”

A: The idea of Clip comes from a very simple principle:

the country. Today, Clip is the fourth-largest acquirer in

providing access to companies that want to accept on-site

terms of number of merchants in Mexico.

debit or credit-card payments. Clip was created for any SME and any business that does not receive payments with

Q: What are your expectations for Clip?

debit or credit cards. We have retailers, restaurants, services

A: We hope Clip becomes a successful story of technology

providers, wholesalers and individuals. Clip is a microcosm

in Mexico. Our vision for the company is to become the

of the Mexican economy.

operating system of Mexican commerce.

Q: How is Clip contributing to normalizing the large number of informal businesses that exist in Mexico?

Clip is a startup company that provides access to financial

A: In Mexico, there are 140 million debit cards and 30 million

services to SMEs and independent businesses. When connected

credit cards. However, there are not enough places to use

to a mobile phone the Clip card reader accepts card payments

them and that is why people need to withdraw money

through an application that manages the user´s transactions




Q: What differentiates Bright from other distributed-

low-income communities. With this huge mission on our

generation solar companies?

shoulders, we have to make sure to take it step by step.

A: Bright is usually thought of as a solar installation

Our job, therefore, is to offset the tariffs in countries with

company, but in reality it is a software company. We are

high rates and good solar radiation. Having a strong base

building a software platform to allow everyone in the solar

of customers in the high and middle-income segment will

ecosystem to be efficient, cost-effective and to scale up

allow us to bring technology costs down. It may sound

operations as fast as possible. To accomplish this, we partner

counterintuitive to start with the elite to provide universal

with local installers, suppliers and entrepreneurs as well as

access, but we believe this is the most effective path. Many

with international manufacturers so they can act together

startups that want to provide clean, affordable and universal

with local players to install the solar systems. Our sales

access to electricity from day one fail to apply economies

partners are comprised mainly of student ambassadors who

of scale to technologies that are still expensive. Bright is

promote and sell the technology, while the entrepreneurs

working with the DAC and T2 segments in Mexico. We are

and installation partners provide the solution. Bright’s

in the process of opening five offices across the country and

software connects all these pieces together. Instead of just

creating local teams. We expect to have them ready by the

being a one-service provider, Bright is a full-service provider

middle of 2018. After that, we will reach the South American

that integrates all these services to make an efficient and

market in countries such as Chile, Colombia and Brazil.

customer-oriented solar system. Although Bright is a small company, it has a huge footprint that includes thousands of

Q: What are the chances Bright will bring its software

people working across Mexico. It is not easy to coordinate

design operations to Mexico?

and manage all these pieces in a frictionless way that is

A: We are trying hard to bring our core software operations

hassle-free for the final customer, which is why we face

here but the lack of human capital is holding us back. The

an underdevelopment of distributed generation in Mexico.

reason is not that there is a lack of talent, which definitely exists in the country, but the lack of opportunities for

Q: How will Bright provide universal solar access when

that talent to work in companies before graduating and

working with DAC consumers?

to develop significant real-world experience. Students in

A: Tesla is an interesting analogy. The first Tesla car cost

Mexico do not have the opportunity to walk down the street

over US$100,000. It was not universally accessible but it

and seek part-time jobs at global companies like Facebook,

was fast and appealed to people who liked and could afford

Google and Twitter like students in Silicon Valley do. Since

sports cars. Because Tesla could sell enough cars at that

Bright is interested in developing the industrial ecosystem

price range it could lower the cost of batteries, which is the

from its very own roots, we are working on providing the

most expensive component of the car, to the point where

opportunities for students to develop finance and sales

it could create the S model. This model is still expensive

together with programing skills. Furthermore, we expect

but affordable to a much larger segment of the market,

that the skills and abilities they learn will be used in

enabling the company to produce more and bring costs

international environments. In a globalized world, this is a

even lower. Tesla now has the model 3, which costs around

strong asset for them, and for the country, and high schools


and universities should join in this effort.

Our mission is to reach every corner of the world where people do not have any power source besides fuels like

Brightis a Mexican startup that is building a software platform

kerosene and to bring them electricity as a fundamental

to spread residential solar globally. Its goal of promoting

enabler of  communication, entertainment and education.

universal and fair access to solar energy for Mexican families

Solar at the moment is too expensive to introduce to

has been supported by investors in both Mexico and the US



Q: What opportunities inspired the creation of Dada Room

A: When we started pitching the idea, the biggest challenge

and what are the company’s revenue sources?

was to convince investors that we could compel people to

A: Dada Room is a tool that helps people find shared housing.

search for a roommate through the internet. In looking for the

Users can access most of the platform’s services for free but

right security system we landed on Facebook. Mexicans might

they can also subscribe to premium offers for MX$200 to

not trust the internet but they are among the world’s most

MX$300 per month. This extra service provides access to

active on Facebook. We took advantage of the security efforts

phone numbers and new ads, meaning users can find a room

made by this great player and now the only way someone can

more quickly. Other income channels include advertising. We

have an account with is through a Facebook

also work with insurance companies on additional services

account. We also created an additional filter so that any user

and eventually we want to offer users the option to pay their

that registers in the platform and who has fewer than 100

rent through the platform.

friends on Facebook undergoes a manual check.

When we launched the company four years ago, we realized

Q: What are the similarities and differences between Dada

there were two main reasons why people search for shared

Room users in Mexico and those from Latin America?

apartments. The price for buying or renting in big cities was

A: We designed the product for the millennial generation but

growing quickly in comparison with young people’s salaries.

the age at which people begin searching for housing changes

The average salary for a recent graduate is MX$11,000 but

from country to country. Dada Room users are younger in

10 years ago it was MX$9,000. Back then it was possible to

Mexico than in Brazil or Chile. For instance, in Peru, 40 percent

rent an apartment in the now trendy Condesa area of Mexico

of our users are older than 30, while in Mexico only 25 percent

City for MX$2,000. Today this same apartment could cost

are that age. We are in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina

MX$12,000. We also recognized this new generation entering

and Peru. The highest growth has been between 20 and

the Mexican and Latin American labor force is different from

30 percent per month in Colombia and Peru, while in Brazil

its predecessor. Today’s young people prefer quality of life

and Argentina we are still in a period of adjustment with the

to property, want to live close to work and do not plan to

platform. Today, we have more than a half-million users in

marry at 23.

Latin America and 90,000 active users per month.

To arrive at our platform, we studied the most innovative

Q: What trends have you recognized in Mexico using the data

real estate sites, like Airbnb, and online dating platforms, like

collected through the site?

Tinder. Our product is a combined housing search site and

A: With the data we compile we can generate studies and

match-making service. This combination provides what our

press releases that will help us reach the public that we

ideal users are looking for: the right space to live in and the

cannot find through the internet. To develop these studies,

right people to share it with. We bring the human element to

we first worked with another startup, Atlantia Search, that

the real estate market.

does online market research and which belongs to the same incubator as us. Then, we hired an in-house researcher, an

Q: What filters do you apply to control what is posted on the

economist and a sociologist. Now we are developing our own

website to ensure security and avoid fraud?

studies that are also helping us identify where our market opportunities are. We have seen demand grow. On average, there is one room available for every four people who are

Dada Roomis a startup with almost 100,000 active users. It

looking in Mexico City. In delegations like Cuauhtemoc the

allows users to offer a room or search for one by applying

ratio is one room available per nine people looking. We

different filters. Dada Room operates in Mexico, Colombia,

want to reach those who might have a free room but are

Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil

not renting it yet.



Breast cancer mortality is on the rise in Mexico and early

high expenditure for the government and a main concern

detection can be a strong tool to combat the disease. Self-

given the lack of an effective early diagnosis test. “The

examination has traditionally been the first line of defense

government will be one of our main buyers because this

but it is far from ideal. After watching his mother survive

product will help rural clinics, associations, universities,

two battles with the cancer, 17-year old entrepreneur Julián

insurance companies and hospitals reduce costs.” Eva will

Ríos thought Artificial Intelligence (AI) could provide a

initially sell for MX$2,000 (US$111) without government

better approach and the result of his work is attracting

support, but Ríos says its business model will enable the

serious attention both in the public and private spheres.

company to reduce the price.

Ríos’ company, Higia Technologies, produces Eva, a bra

Higia Technologies works with a team of 10 people made up

Ríos says can detect breast cancer through the use of

of engineers and oncologists and the company has received

bio-sensory patches. He believes the detection methods

an invitation to work at investor Y Combinator in Silicon

currently available are more for diagnosis, mammography

Valley. “It will help us formalize the business part. It receives

and biopsy, while there are few effective early detection

7 percent of the company for a very small investment.

processes. Ríos hopes to meet this need with Eva.

However, the real value of this opportunity is to be part of an ecosystem in which we can gather important contacts

The high-tech bra’s bio-patches capture temperature data

that could lead us to higher investment,” says Ríos.

that is sent to a mobile app, which keeps a record of the information received. “Cancer increases blood flow due

Ríos began researching breast cancer when he was 13

to the abnormal production of cells that could produce

and locked onto the idea that changes in temperature

a tumor. This leads to an uncommon temperature in the

could lead to a correct diagnosis. He then gathered his

affected area.” The app’s algorithms analyze the collected

high-school friends to create Higia Technologies with an

temperature data to produce a thermal conductivity curve

investment of less than US$250. By 2017, the company

that is compared with a database of 2,000-3,000 curves

had raised US$75,000 from awards and donations,

of data from women from different parts of the world who

US$33,000 from investors and it is about to close a round

have been diagnosed with cancer. “Different tumors have

for US$300,000 from an investment fund. Ríos believes

different thermic fluids. If there is a curve similar to a case

the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem is talented but

from the file, the probabilities of having breast cancer are

lacks support. “Many projects are changing the world

between 93 and 94 percent,” says Ríos.

but not in Mexico. The industry of risk analysis is very small, which restricts investment.” He also thinks many

Eva will be available early in 2018 in Mexico and Latin

entrepreneurs in the country have good ideas but poor

America through online platforms and convenience

execution. “We have often seen how in Mexico ideas are

stores. The project is awaiting approval from COFEPRIS

adjudicated without evaluating whether they can be

and the team recently signed an agreement with IMSS

executed,” he says.

to carry out trials. Higia Technologies is in the process of developing new According to the Ministry of Health, in 2015, 6,252 women

products, including a device to detect testicular cancer

died in Mexico due to breast cancer, almost 5 percent

through men’s underwear. Ríos says information is the

more than the previous year, figures that Ríos wants to

key component of his company. “Higia Techonologies is

reduce. According to Ríos, a woman with cancer in phase

moving from a company that develops medical devices

III costs IMSS MX$5 million (US$277,000) every year and

to an information company. Our value is in the amount of

MX$250,000 (US$13,888) if she is in phase I. That is a

information we have.”


AN ALLY FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS Rodolfo Corcuera Co-Founder and CEO of Aliada

Ana Isabel Orvañanos Co-Founder and COO of Aliada


Almost 2.4 million people in Mexico work as domestic

“By becoming part of Aliada, women can increase their

paid labor but only 2.3 percent have access to Social

income up to three times,” Orvañanos says. Nevertheless,

Security services, according to the 2016 National Survey

more money and benefits imply more responsibilities. “Most

on Education and Employment. A new market platform is

of these women view the bank and SAT as the enemy,” adds

hoping to make a positive dent in those numbers.

Orvañanos. In a country where fewer than three in every 100 domestic workers pay taxes and have access to social

Aliada, founded by Ana Orvañanos and Rodolfo Corcuera, is

security services, Aliada offers formality and protection in

a marketplace that connects users with aliadas, the Spanish

a sector that is usually neglected by public policies.

term for the women and men who provide house-cleaning services. The platform provides them with social security benefits. “Aliada generates an impact on the people who


use the platform, whether it is someone looking for cleaning


services or someone offering them, which is the reason the

company was created,” says Orvañanos. The platform follows a simple principle: if you need cleaning services, you use the platform to request an aliada. Each has a profile accompanied by comments

Informal sector

„„24.4% Companies,

54,068,791 Economically active population

and reviews from other users while aliadas can also

government and institutions


Agricultural sector


Paid domestic work

provide reviews of users. A basic price is set for services

but Orvañanos says that aliadas with good profiles can charge more for their services. Aliadas can also reject offers that are far from their delimited work area or from users having bad reviews from other aliadas. Two years after it was founded, Aliada has 1,200 affiliated women and men. Orvañanos is confident the platform will reach more people. “The important thing is being able to generate value for these men and women.”

Source: National Survey on Education Employment, Second 11% Mazapil 2% and Sahuaripa Trimester 2017

9% Cananea

2% Morelos

7% Nacozari de Garcia 2% Eduardo Neri Still, like any company, it must also yield a benefit for its 5% Fresnillo 2% Aquila investors. “We generate a positive impact on our users’ lives 4% Ocampo 2% Alamos but if we do not provide a good service with good results no 4% Caborca 1% Chinipas one is going to invest in the platform, regardless of how social 2% Sierra Mojada 47% other we are or how many problems1 we are solving.” For Orvañanos,

Source: CGM, Ministry of Economy With figures to March of 2015

As any other marketplace, the platform connects supply with

the best strategy a company can implement is to concentrate

demand. “Our platform generates no added value for users if

on growing the business and generating value for investors.

there are not enough aliadas in the most needed zones. It also

Such is the value investors see that the online platform just

generates no added value for aliadas if people do not require

closed its second investment round. Led by Promotora Social

their services,” says Orvañanos. For Aliada’s founders, the

México and its initial investors VARIV Capital, Capital Invent

most pressing challenge has been finding the right balance

and Dila Capital, as well as new investors, such as Grupo

between demand and supply. But Orvañanos explains that

Gentera, Aliada is entering a new phase that will allow it to

being a technology company gives them an advantage. “We

continue experiencing exponential growth.

have the KPIs needed to determine how we should balance the components of the platform to attain a good balance.”

First, however, the company must improve the platform. “The platform is our main product,” says Orvañanos. “The better

An important differentiator for aliadas is related to the

we can solve the needs of the marketplace the more growth

additional income they receive and social security services.

we will experience."



Launching a business is not an easy task. While there are

started, we focused on franchising but as we went along, we

several factors that can deter people from becoming

realized there was a pool of business-consulting opportunities

entrepreneurs, fear of failure and lack of knowledge regarding

we could tap into. Today, we can equally help micro and small

resources are at the top of the board, says Ferenz Feher,

businesses or big corporations,” says Feher. While business

Founder and CEO of Feher & Feher. “What they need to do

consulting is now common in the country, Feher says the main

is to reach out to the correct instances to help them obtain

differentiators of his firm are embedded in its philosophy:

resources,” he says.

“We transform our clients’ dreams into growth opportunities.”

Feher & Feher has developed a methodology aimed at

Initially, Feher did not think that entrepreneurs could be an

helping not only entrepreneurs, but also any kind of business

important business. After analyzing the number of applications

that might need its help. Although it started as a business

he came to the conclusion that they could be a source of

specialized in franchising, throughout the years the company

business. Today, Feher & Feher’s franchising operations

has successfully diversified into several lines that include

only represent 50 percent of the business’ activities, while

business acceleration and incubation, management consulting

the remaining 50 percent is divided between its business

and development of international business models. “When we

acceleration, incubation and consulting services.



Q: What are the main services offered by InstaFit?

process. As a technology company, we are also concerned

A: InstaFit is a Spanish-language media platform focused on

about creating a tool that is scalable and affordable.

fitness and it is the leader in fitness apps in Latin America. We produce audio and video content guided by internationally

Q: What are your long-term plans for the company?

certified trainers and distribute that content across many

A: InstaFit has the potential to become a very large

channels. InstaFit Workouts, our mobile app, provides access

international company. We are trying to access new

to all of our workout and meditation sessions through a

distribution channels like insurance companies or airlines

subscription. We have over half a million followers on social

that want to include content in their onboard entertainment

networks and our app has been downloaded 750,000 times.

system for meditation or stretching.

Q: What distinguishes InstaFit from other fitness apps? A: We offer guided content between four and 35-minutes

InstaFit is a digital services company focused on wellness. It

long in which participants watch and listen as our coaches

developed InstaFit Workouts, an application for iPhone and

instruct and motivate them. Having content that is culturally

Android operating systems that offers personalized exercise

appropriate helps users more easily adhere to a habit-forming

routines, nutritional plans and healthy lifestyle advise



WRITING A FUTURE FOR MEXICO’S HOMELESS POPULATION María Portilla Director General of Mi Valedor 52

Regina Rivero Administrative Director of Mi Valedor

Despite public policies, Mexico City’s efforts to provide a

client base and in some way become a valedor, or friend in

sustainable economic status for all its citizens is falling short

the Mexican slang. The magazine follows the model of The

for those who live in the streets. Mi Valedor, a bimonthly street

Big Issue, a publication founded 25 years ago in England. Mi

magazine that provides the homeless with an income, is trying

Valedor belongs to the International Network of Street Papers

to write a new story for the unattended population of Mexico

(INSP), a network of 110 papers from 35 countries written in

City. María Portilla and Regina Rivero, Director General and

24 languages that provides an income for 10,000 vendors.

Administrative Director respectively of Mi Valedor, say the publication is a vehicle for social reinsertion and a bridge to

“In some way, this project is helping us mitigate problems

formalizing the informal economy.

that should be part of the government agenda,” says Rivero. Vendors purchase each copy of the magazine for MX$5 and

Mi Valedor includes graphic and literary depictions of everyday

sell it for MX$20. The company also organizes workshops for

life in Mexico City. Vendors establish themselves in an area

vendors and other homeless people with to cultivate abilities

or move within the same zones. They sell the magazine to

and values. Around 200 vendors have come across Mi Valedor

make an income, interacting with their neighbors, building a

and 2,000 people have benefited from the workshops.



Q: What are the main solutions TalentLab offers that

and environment. We also offer high-technology platforms

differentiate it from its competitors?

that help companies evaluate their people.

A: Our purpose is to liberate a company’s potential through its people and to improve the working culture in Mexico. We

Q: What is the profile of your most frequent clients?

believe in creating a better work life and we are convinced

A: We have solutions for every type of company. For example,

that if we unleash the potential of people, we can offer

our change management strategies will probably be more

added value for any company. Our offer is oriented toward

useful for a transnational company than for an SME and our

corporate transformation in areas such as talent, culture,

evaluations are useful for everyone. We work in sectors such

change management, diversity and inclusion, work flexibility

as mining, oil and gas, aerospace, finance services, retail and consumption. Regardless of the sector, most of our clients are large or very large companies because the solutions we

TalentLab is a Mexican consultancy firm founded in 2013 and

offer are advanced and not all companies have the time and

specialized in organizational and talent development, as well

money to invest in them. The problems related to human

as organizational evolution and talent-assessment solutions

resources usually appear during corporate evolutions or when

for companies

companies are increasing in size.


PIONEERING E-EDUCATION Manolo Díaz CEO and Co-Founder of Yogome

Alberto Colín CCO and Co-Founder of Yogome 53

Q: What has been the key to building a scalable project?

AC: We develop content for children between 4 and 11 years

MD: We needed quality, a good concept and a great story.

old. At first, we focused on mathematics but in San Francisco,

And we had to think beyond Mexico because technology

where we have our headquarters, ecology is very important,

allows us to cross borders and to look for opportunities

so we developed other products on recycling. Afterward, the

everywhere. Yogome has users in more than 50 countries.

public began to demand games about science and geography.

Even though there are cultural differences, children all over the world are growing up with a tablet, so we saw an

For mathematics and science, we use a standardized

opportunity on educational games.

curriculum used in US elementary schools that we then adapt to Mexico and other countries. We are interested in

AC: In 2009, we decided to build a web-development

health, creativity and sustainability and we want to introduce

agency and then dedicated ourselves to the creation of

programming fundamentals. Soon, we will also have apps

educational games. In 2011, we received investment from

related to social and emotional learning. Our most popular

the US. In 2013, we became part of Endeavor, which gave

product is Epic Heroes of Knowledge, in which we offer

us access to more investors. Our latest investor is Seaya

educational and entertaining content.

Ventures, a Spanish fund that provided US$6.6 million. This last investment will go toward marketing, team growth in Mexico City and San Luis Potosi and expansion to the Asian market, especially to China, South Korea and Japan. Today, we have more than 400 minigames and around 20 apps. Q: What is your approach to sales and how can you

Yogome’s Epic Heroes of Knowledge app has 4 million active users per month

determine the educational impact of the games? AC: We have two types of clients: our final user, the children,

Q: What kind of talent are you looking for to build a

whom we have to convince to use the product, and the

team that will help you achieve this mix of education and

user who is going to pay, the parents. We have to convince


parents that the product has educational value.

AC: We have many developers, designers, illustrators and animators, but above all there is our educational team. All

In Latin America, we have penetrated Mexico, Chile,

our employees are between 22 and 40 years old with a

Colombia and Brazil, while in Asia we are in Thailand and the

background in comics, social networks and video games.

Philippines. However, our largest audience is in the US and the favorite subject there is mathematics. We worked with

MD: In Mexico, there is a lot of talent. We value our people

Play2PREVENT, a video and mobile game research initiative

and we believe they are happy with us. Investors now say

at Yale University, to measure the impact of our math games.

we do not need Silicon Valley but we find valuable talent

We are in the final stage and are awaiting their approval to

there that is hard to find in Mexico. Our educational director

publish the results. They did different tests over one year

studied at both Berkeley and Harvard, so we can reach this

with children aged between 6 and 9 years old and found

kind of talent in the US.

that those who used our games were better able to solve tests from their grade level than children who had not tried our application.

Yogome is a startup founded by Mexican entrepreneurs that develops educational minigames for children that are available

Q: How do you decide what topics should be covered in

on IOS and Android across the world. They have offices in San

the games Yogome produces and what curriculum is used?

Francisco, Mexico City and San Luis Potosi

BMV, Mexico City



After the nationalization and privatization trends of the 1980s and 1990s, the banking and finance sector in Mexico now represents 17.6 percent of the country’s GDP, with continued growth in recent years, especially after the emergence of international banks. Between 1999 and March 2017, financial and insurance services have received a total of US$71.2 billion in FDI, accounting for 15 percent of the total FDI the country received in that period. However, the market faces a number of challenges, mostly related to the general population’s lack of access to the banking system. Sixty-one percent of the Mexican economy develops informally, which prevents banks from reaching a high percentage of the population. This requires more effort in the development of the sector’s infrastructure, not only in branches and ATMs, but especially in technology. A transformation that begins to be intuited thanks to the appearance of the fintech ecosystem, which offers banking access through new schemes of loans, payments and credits.

Overall, Mexico has been able to establish macroeconomic fundamentals to protect itself against international political and economic instability. This chapter offers an overview of the Mexican finance and banking sector where experts will discuss the current and upcoming challenges in the segment.



ANALYSIS: Digitalization, Fintechs Disrupt Traditional Sector


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Francisco N. González, Bancomext


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Felipe Vilá, Fondo de Fondos




VIEW FROM THE TOP: Carlos Rojo, Grupo Financiero Interacciones


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mario Maciel, CIBanco


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Octavio Liévano, Crédit Agricole


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Raul Martínez-Ostos, Grupo Financiero Barclays México


TECHNOLOGY SPOTLIGHT: SPEI – The 24/7 Money Transfer Solution


INSIGHT: Santiago Juárez, Banco Sabadell


INSIGHT: Antonio Junco, Mastercard México and Central America


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Luz Adriana Ramírez, Visa México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Pablo Coballasi, PC Capital


VIEW FROM THE TOP: José Oriol Bosch, BMV Group


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Arturo J. Saval, Nexxus Capital


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Luis Cervantes, Finaccess México


INSIGHT: José María Zas, American Express



DIGITALIZATION, FINTECHS DISRUPT TRADITIONAL SECTOR Financial services in Mexico contribute to over 4 percent of the national GDP. While investments in the sector and the arrival of new players have expanded the industry, there are still opportunities for greater growth, from broader inclusion to the advance of fintech


The disincorporation process the financial system underwent

Adriana Ramírez, Director General of Visa México, says that

in the 1990s as well as Mexico’s signing of several free trade

only 40 percent of the adult population has access to a bank

agreements that permitted the participation of foreign

account or a formal financial service. The reasons vary, but the

financial entities in the domestic sector helped create the

lack of banking infrastructure such as ATMs or bank branches

diverse financial system Mexico enjoys today. Technology is

as well as labor informality contribute to weak numbers.

proving to be the spur for even greater change that will also address a key issue for the industry: inclusion.

Torres says the solution for furthering financial inclusion includes a mix of technology and infrastructure. “To increase

According to data from INEGI, from 2010 onward, financial

access, we must move forward simultaneously in different

and insurance services have contributed over 4 percent of

directions: using the most advanced technology and new

the country’s annual GDP. In 2016, financial and insurance

digital channels and taking advantage of social media and

services experienced 7.7 percent growth, a mark that

Big Data, expanding and modernizing our infrastructure,

is expected to be surpassed in 2017. Just in the first six

establishing a network of correspondents to reach more

months of the year, the industry posted an average 9.7

clients and providing products and services that best fit the

percent growth rate. But there is capacity for more, as well

needs of each client.”

as hurdles ahead. The appearance of fintech companies has also sparked Much of the recent investment in the industry has gone

strategical changes. “Their appearance has made traditional

toward digitalization and automation of services. Nuno Matos,

financial institutions amplify, adjust and modernize their

CEO of HSBC Mexico, says his bank launched this strategy

products and services,” says Torres. Though much has been

about four years ago. “HSBC recognized that it needed to

said regarding the relationship that will prevail between the

embrace the digital challenge and take it to the next level.

banking sector and fintech companies, Torres says there

Globally, HSBC initiated its Retail Transformation Program,

is no animosity. “Contrary to what is commonly thought,

in which the bank has invested almost US$1.7 billion in its

the relationship between fintech companies and traditional

top 6 countries, which includes Mexico.” Investing in a digital

banks will be more collaborative than competitive; we can

strategy goes well beyond offering online banking services.

coexist in the Mexican market.”

Matos says that HSBC’s digital investment encompasses the bank’s digital platforms, online and mobile banking, as well

Fostering a digital ecosystem also follows price logic. José

as voice recognition at the bank’s call centers.

Junco, Director General of Mastercard Mexico and Central America, says that the use of cash can cost between 0.5

For Citibanamex, the strategy has been focused on furthering

and 1 percent of the country’s GDP. “Using cash is extremely

mobile banking. “Five years ago, we launched Transfer, the

expensive.” In addition to the direct costs that usually

first payment platform for cellphone services, in alliance

encompass issuing expenses, transportation and security

with América Móvil and Inbursa,” says ErnestoTorres, CEO

elements, Junco says that it is necessary to add indirect costs

of Citibanamex. The strategy has paid off. In only four years,

such as corruption, money laundering and fiscal evasion.

transactions through Transfer have gone from 9 million to an expected 310 million by the end of 2017, with the number of


active clients growing at an annual rate of 57 percent.

Misconceptions regarding the functioning and benefits of the financial system are not exclusive to commercial bank


customers. José-Oriol Bosch, CEO of BMV Group, says

While the digital revolution has impacted every productive

that companies and businesses also need to strengthen

sector in the world, in Mexico, digitalization services are part

their financial culture. “The biggest challenge is creating a

of bank efforts to further financial inclusion and adequately

financial culture in Mexico that is open to investing in the

interact with the fintech ecosystem. Among OECD countries,

stock exchange.” According to Bosch, Mexican companies

Mexico is ranked last in terms of financial inclusion. Luz

tend to believe the BMV is only accessible to billion-dollar

companies, but the reality is quite different. “We are trying


to encourage smaller companies to participate but the lack

Mexico ranks 40th of 90 countries in the Digital Money Index

of financial culture is a challenge. Many of these companies think they are too small for the stock exchange while regulation allows them to participate with 20 million units of direct investment (UDI) paid in capital, which is as little as MX$120 million (US$6.2 million).” For some companies, the challenge lies in accessing capital; however, Mexico has developed an ecosystem of

40/ 90

• Government and Market Support: 47/90

private equity that can help boost the number of public

• Financial and Technology

companies. Still, Mexican companies are reluctant to use

Infrastructure: 29/90


these financing tools. “Private equity funds arrived before

• Presence of Digital Money Solutions: 48/90

Mexican companies understood what private equity could

• Propensity to Adopt: 52/90

do for them. This has led to a slower adoption rate of private equity among medium-sized companies,” says Arturo Saval,


Senior Managing Partner of Nexxus Capital. Similarly, fiscal policy plays an important role for adoption of financial


products. Saval says that it could also be a tool to foster participation in the BMV. “In most countries, a company

deposit accounts

eyeing an IPO understands that its fiscal burden will likely be reduced because the host country recognizes that the company will be in the country for a long time. In Mexico, this special tax regime is not applied.”

1.9 bank branches

UNPREDICTABILITY, UNCERTAINTY During 2017, the tides of uncertainty flowed into the country from the US, a result of protectionist policies espoused by President Trump targeting Mexico and NAFTA, which sparked the ongoing renegotiation of the treaty. The

1,000 accounts tied to a cellphone

5.4 ATMs

financial sector tends to be one of the most susceptible to international turbulence and unpredictability but Raúl Martínez-Ostos, Chairman of the Board and Director General


of Grupo Financiero Barclays México, says a new NAFTA deal has the potential to further strengthen financial ties in the region. “For the financial sector, having clarity is important to generate more investment between the financial entities of the three countries. We can work together to ensure the

5,936 credit contracts

retirement savings accounts

safety of our co-nationals and the integrity and stability of the financial sector.” Despite overall optimism, some pundits say that uncertainty should not be taken lightly. “In general, the discourse has become more optimistic compared to the initial shock the markets displayed when President Trump was elected. This optimism might be a little exaggerated. I think we are embracing an assumption of a new normality that may not be that easy to sustain,” says Octavio Lievano, Country Head of Crédit Agricole. Domestic uncertainty also abounds with federal elections set for 2018. Martínez-Ostos believes investor confidence should not be confused with lack of tasks to be completed. “It is essential to maintain the basic principles of responsible macroeconomic management and to foster an environment of clarity, certainty and transparency."


MX Million


BBVA Bancomer
























Banco del Bajío






Source: Citibank, Imperial College London, CNBV




Q: Bancomext is present in a number of sectors.

Interest rates have risen but margins have narrowed. We

What determines the bank’s involvement and what

operate efficiently and translate this efficiency to the client.

opportunities does it look for?

We are enjoying better international rates and opportunities

A: The bank is an important player in sectors where

and because of this, a significant number of the rates we

currencies play a central role and in those that involve

offer have not been affected.

foreign trade and the global chaining of production processes. In this sense, Bancomext’s main areas of

Q: What opportunities does the creation of ZEEs offer

opportunity are tourism, industrial warehousing and


the energy sector. However, this does not mean that we

A: We see a significant degree of interest in these projects

neglect the transportation sector, which includes the

and we are leaders when it comes to the financing of

automotive and aerospace industries and other segments

industrial warehouses. We also see opportunities to support

such as metal-mechanics, electronics and telecoms.

the importation of needed machinery. Since we work with export trading agencies we can provide structured support

Occupancy rates are up to 70% in small hotels with Mejora tu Hotel help

in this regard all around the world. Q: What efforts are being made to boost agribusiness in Mexico? A: We have a substantial relationship with several companies in the export and international trade of agricultural products as well as in the internationalization of the operations of Mexican companies. The idea is to have Mexican technology and know-

Q: Part of the bank’s mandate is to help SMEs integrate

how with production abroad. A significant number of Mexican

into global production chains. How do you help them

companies in the agribusiness industry are expanding their

improve processes and comply with international

operations to Central America and the US, although we do not


work with operations that entail the growing of root crops and

A: Around 88 percent of the companies that we work with

fruits, which falls under the jurisdiction of Agricultural Trust

are SMEs and the only way to integrate them into the

Funds (FIRA) and the National Agricultural, Rural, Forestry

global production chain is through financial intermediaries,

and Fisheries Development Fund (FND).

either leasing companies or banks. In this regard, we are boosting the financial sector as well as SMEs, providing

Q: Bancomext also targets the tourism sector. What has

them the ability to access financial products at good

been the reception and impact of the Mejora tu Hotel

interest rates and accessible payment schedules.

program? A: Mejora tu Hotel encompasses the entire spectrum of the

Q: How does the bank view the frequent increases in

tourism industry. This means that we can provide loans to

Mexican interest rates?

small hotels that have two or three stars. As a result, some

A: The interesting part of Bancomext’s portfolio is that

hotels have transformed from traditional small brands to

we can access external financing. In 2015, we placed

establishments that comply with international standards,

debt certificates totaling US$1 billion. In 2016, we placed

which helps them increase their occupancy rates from 30-40

certificates worth US$700 million, which earned the

percent to 70 percent. However, our offering is not restricted

recognition of “Deal of the Year” by the World Finance

to small hotels. We support large hotels that want to expand

magazine. We just placed certificates in Mexico totaling

their operations and we also participate in large complexes

MX$7 billion in three and seven-year periods.

with as many as 6,000 rooms.

and infrastructure that support the growth of this sector,


such as the Cross Border Xpress in Tijuana (CBX).


population with access to the 4G network and with enough spectrum to allow communication in a more efficient and economical manner.

100 50 0

IoT will allow for a more dynamic communication than what we are used to. In industries, either through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or through the use of

Source: Condusef

Federal Mortgage Society

network that will provide a substantial percentage of the


I4.0 trend. We will be the first country to have a shared

Bansefi 2.1 2.01


33.8 41.7

country with the capacity to fully insert itself into the



72.7 89.2

A: It is important to note that Mexico will be the first

171.3 176.5

250 176 198

to I4.0?



companies to reap the benefits and opportunities related

„„June 2016 „„June 2017

351.6 362.69

350 Q: How is Bancomext collaborating with Mexican


Tourism is not only about hotels. It also includes the airlines

specific communication tools, we will see containers located at different ports communicating, arranging to be

A: Congress is set to approve a fintech law and Bancomext

delivered at the same time, and the buyer will be able to

expects to participate in three aspects of the regulation.

access all this information with just one click.

The first is the use of information technologies in the financial market. Another area of importance is related

We already have the hardware and the software

to crowdfunding; in this sense, we are going to play an

components but this is all useless if we do not have the

important role particularly for creative industries. The third

know-how to produce. In this regard, we already have

element is the use of bitcoins. We believe bitcoins will

clusters with the necessary manufacturing knowledge.

play an interesting role in the future, perhaps in obtaining

Ricardo Hausmann, Director of the Harvard Center for

savings in letters of credit or other requirements for export

International Development, says that Mexico has the

and import operations.

possibilities and processes to assemble cars, planes and medical devices. We only need to connect the talent.

Q: 2017 is a year of consolidation for Bancomext. In what

We are seeing that education and the training of human

other sectors do you expect the bank to participate?

resources are constantly improving in quality.

A: Diversification is one of the bank’s pillars, especially toward Latin America. We are also trying to expand and

Q: How can Mexico become a global export hub?

develop our portfolio of financial products and we want to

A: The first step is to develop a solid foundation. A solid

support the development of creative industries and services,

value chain, which is a Bancomext goal, implies that the

while also exploring opportunities offered by e-commerce.

country has solid companies exporting at a global level.

Through export credit agencies, we are looking for ways

If we are already managing all the metal-mechanics and

to not only import machinery to Mexico but also to export

electronics components, then we need to take that extra

Mexican machinery. We want to maintain the highest

step and improve our management of materials.

possible level of competitiveness and be a benchmark.

We also need to internationalize Mexican companies,

When talking about where we are going we must not only

which is something we are also working toward. When

consider the where, but the how. The bank places a great

a company expands its production to other countries it

deal of importance on the management of social and

needs a supplier network, so it invites its known suppliers

environmental dangers. Both the bank’s employees and

to expand with it. It becomes a virtuous cycle of having

our borrowers must be ecologically and socially conscious

more international trade and a greater number of Mexican

every step of the way.

companies abroad. Anchor companies such as Bimbo, Gruma, Cinépolis and KidZania generate a global chaining of other Mexican companies.

Bancomext is Mexico’s largest development bank. Over its 80 years, the bank has played an important role in furthering

Q: Following the digitalization trend, what opportunities

Mexico’s export activities as well as financing the development

does Bancomext see to participate in the fintech sector?

of the tourism and industrial sectors





Q: What impact does Fondo de Fondos have on the

Funds also work to incorporate good administrative and

companies that receive its support?

financial practices, as well as the creation of corporate

A: We participate in 74 private equity and venture capital

governance. Fund managers can also take part in the

funds, some specialized in the energy sector and others in

company’s Board of Directors and in decisions, something

real estate and infrastructure. We have committed a total

that cannot be easily managed in a public company. Private

investment of US$900 million, of which we have already

capital participation also has a positive impact on the

invested US$700 million. Our impact can be measured

company’s transparency and accountability.

through something called multiplier effect: how much money companies receive and how many times this

Q: In over 10 years operating in Mexico, what has been

amount grows through the intervention of other investors.

Fondo de Fondos biggest challenge?

The 74 funds in which we invest have already raised more

A: During the first five years of our existence, we were the

than US$14 billion, which means that our US$900 million

only institution of our kind. Fondo de Fondos was created

generated a multiplier effect of 15 times.

from four different federal development banks: Nacional Financiera, Bancomext, Banobras and FOCIR. These banks

About 72 percent of the capital raised by the funds in which

began to invest in companies and realized the impact they

we have invested comes from abroad, 7 percent comes from

could have. For this reason, it was decided to create Fondo

us, Afores contribute between 15 and 16 percent and the

de Fondos, which was intended to provide continuity on

remaining 4 percent comes from Mexican investors.

long-term investments. Today, we are active investors and are always looking for mechanisms to improve the

The multiplier effect is calculated by dividing the total

ecosystem while designing processes and legal structures

investment made in a company by the amount invested

to promote the private equity industry.

directly by Fondo de Fondos. We have invested in more than 580 companies, we have active investments in 412

We have dedicated the last five years to consolidating

companies and we have accompanied 10 companies

our business and strengthening ourselves through the

on their public offers. According to AMEXCAP, when

establishment of a modern corporate governance, good

comparing companies that have received private capital

practices, a code of ethics and process manuals. In the

versus public companies, the first grows more. We have

past five years, we have managed to raise US$110 million

supported the creation of 112,000 direct jobs and almost

from different investors, as well as MX$15 million from

200,000 indirect jobs.

pension funds and insurance companies through the issuance of four different Structured Equity Securities

Q: Why do companies with private capital tend to grow

(CKDs). Such is Fondo de Fondos’ recognition that

more than public companies?

international investors ask us for recommendations

A: When private capital finances a company, it assumes

regarding funds in which to invest their assets. We have

greater risks than banks. This is because the funds tend to

become a one-stop shop for those wanting to enter the

invest the social capital directly into companies, which has a

Mexican private equity segment. We are an independent

positive impact on financial statements and does not boost

fund with no particular agenda.

the liabilities of those companies. Private equity funds tend to be committed to their own

Fondo de Fondosis an investment institution founded in 2006

investors to ensure high return margins, meaning that when

that focuses on the development of the private equity and

there is an investment in a company, the fund must work

venture capital markets in Mexico. It manages commitments of

intensively with that company to achieve higher sales.

more than US$700 million




Q: How does Mexico fit into HSBC’s global strategy?

an acceptable level. When it comes to law enforcement,

A: HSBC is a world-leading bank, with a presence in roughly

the country needs to make sure that laws are applied. The

70 countries. It is a leader in global banking activities

problem is not the legal framework; in fact, Mexican law

including trade finance, worldwide cash management

is quite good. The problem is that enforcement does not

and funding of capital flows. HSBC has the largest finance

work as it should. However, I believe there is a consensus

network in the world, connecting all the globe’s relevant

between the government, political parties, civil society and

economies. In this context, Mexico is one of the most open

the business sector to ensure that this pillar is managed in

economies in the world, with a GDP of roughly US$1 trillion

a different way.

and trade flows of around US$800 billion. The bank and the country are a perfect fit; we connect Mexico’s economy to

Q: What strategies should be put in place to further the use

the rest of the world.

of digital payment methods and reduce the use of cash? A: About three or four years ago, HSBC recognized that it

Additionally, we have a strong relationship with Mexico’s

needed to embrace the digital challenge and take it to the

most important commercial partners. For instance, HSBC is

next level. Globally, HSBC initiated its Retail Transformation

the only bank with a relevant presence in the three NAFTA

Program, in which the bank has invested almost US$1.7

countries. We are the biggest foreign bank in Canada, we

billion in its Top 6 countries, which includes Mexico. Our

have a strong presence in the US and we are among the Top

digital platforms, including online and mobile banking, have

5 banks in Mexico. The second-most important economic

been updated, we have implemented voice recognition at

corridor for Mexico is Asia and HSBC is the most powerful

our call centers and we have significantly improved our

bank in that region. This makes us the main bank for NAFTA

ATMs. The bank will continue implementing more changes

and the main bank for the Asian corridor.

in the coming months.

Q: Taking into consideration Mexico’s particularities, how

The organization is entering a phase in which new

has HSBC adapted its banking proposition to the Mexican

digital technologies and innovations are the focus


of our strategy. In the specific case of Mexico, we are

A: In Mexico, HSBC has two pillars: our global business,

launching new Customer Relationship Management

which connects Mexico to the world, and the local business,

(CRM) infrastructure and we are also partnering with

which is retail banking. International business segments,

many fintechs. An example of this is Control Total, an

such as cash management and trade finance, are fairly

app we have just launched that basically allows users to

similar across the globe; what we provide the Mexican

control their credit card from their mobile phone. This

economy is worldwide integration. In the retail segment, we

development is the result of our partnership with fintech

have 1,000 branches across the country, our largest number


anywhere. We have more branches in Mexico than in the UK. Five years ago, the relationship between banks and Q: How much of a challenge to operations is Mexican

fintechs was of a confrontational nature. On hand, banks


were suspicious of fintechs because they seemed to have

A: I find that the two main areas that need to be addressed

the tools to take our market and on the other, fintechs

are the quality of education and law enforcement.

believed they could take over the market and that they

Education is a pillar for any economy that wants to be

did not need banks. Today, fintechs understand that

competitive in the long term. In the last five years, Mexico

without the banks’ customer base they cannot provide

has started to significantly change its education model, but

their services and if they want to become banks, they

we must recognize that there is still much to do to reach

need to be regulated.


HSBC tower offices, Mexico City

Q: What has allowed the fintech sector to prosper?

With or without NAFTA, Mexico continues to be competitive

A: I think it has to do with the fact that it comes from

and our view is clear: there will be a NAFTA 2.0. We believe

outside the banking industry, meaning that it is much more

there will be some changes in rules of origin and labor

agile and not regulated. The fact that it has less limitations

standards and we will see the incorporation of sectors such

has allowed for new ideas to come to the table in a freer

as energy and e-commerce. There is a risk that NAFTA will

environment that still keeps the customer in mind.

not be renegotiated that cannot be ignored. But I think that it is a small risk. Nevertheless, with a population of 125

Q: Beyond NAFTA, what is Mexico’s value proposition to

million and a relevant demographic advantage, Mexico has

the world?

the opportunity to develop its internal market.

A: Mexico plays an important role in the region’s competitiveness and that is something that we cannot

Q: What are HSBC’s expectations for year 2017 and the

ignore. This region has a population of more than half a

near term?

billion people and it is also one of the wealthiest parts of

A: In 2015, HSBC initiated a turnaround. That year, we

the world. Many products manufactured in the US can only

generated roughly US$50 million in profit before taxes (PBT).

continue being manufactured in the US if Mexico produces

For 2017, our forecast is US$450 million PBT and by 2020

most of the components and sends them to the US.

we expect to reach US$1 billion PBT. This is our next step.

In terms of imports, Mexico has also become important for Asia, while its interaction with Europe is growing

HSBC is among the world’s largest banking and financial

tremendously every year. The three most important

services companies. With four business units – Retail Banking

economic engines of the world have an important

and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking

commercial relationship with Mexico.

and Markets and Global Private Banking


FUNDING MEXICO’S INFRASTRUCTURE CARLOS ROJO Director General of Grupo Financiero Interacciones


Q: What kind of portfolio diversification is the bank

States in the northern border have been investing in their

considering to correctly manage risk?

infrastructure considering their usual population requirements.

A: A bank must sell different products in different sectors to

However, they had not considered the possibility of so many

avoid systemic risk. In the case of Interacciones, we are very

immigrants returning from the US. This means they now

focused on providing loans to the government. The fact that

have to invest in basic infrastructure to accommodate the

our borrowers pay us with funds that come from the federal

needs of a growing population and generate employment

government makes our risk dependent on the country’s

opportunities. This represents an important opportunity for

finances. The entire country would have to go bankrupt

Interacciones to participate, contributing to the bank’s growth.

for one of our clients to go bankrupt, which is why we do not have to diversify our operations according to industry.

The center states have not been that affected. Many have

Nevertheless, we are doing several things to diversify our

growth percentages above the national average and their

portfolio within our traditional operations. We have managed

investment agenda has not been impacted. In the south,

to construct a five-lane highway between Interacciones and

we believe the ZEEs will be an important investment engine

the country’s states and through this highway there are

that will provide the necessary tools to give these states an

several products passing by. We have credit products aimed

industrial calling.

directly at local governments and our infrastructure loans help the development of local economies. There are several

Q: What factors do you take into consideration when

products that cater to the liquidity needs of government

analyzing a project’s feasibility?

suppliers., that includes an SME banking initiative that are

A: We take into consideration several factors. We have such a

also suppliers. We have other products that go beyond credit

level of specialization that we have a team of civil engineers

such as consultancy services for states. We see ourselves as

to analyze the project’s technical viability with our clients,

an adviser for our clients that also has a bank that can finance

looking at the logic and if the cost estimated by the client

their needs.

has certain symmetry with what we estimate it to cost. If the cost the client is proposing is way above our estimations, we

Q: How do you expect FDI to behave during 2017?

will not participate.

A: At the end of 2016 and early 2017, movements in the exchange rate translated into competitiveness. We believe

Part of the consultancy we offer is related to the correct use

that we will continue to see relevant investment in the country,

of federal funding to finance these projects. In this country,

which means further growth for Banco Interacciones. The

tax collection is made in a centralized manner. States usually

northern states of the country have a significant dependence

receive funds from this collection. However, our clients often

on maquila manufacturing and on the US. Even though many

do not have clarity on how to access these funds. So, this

people believe that due to the US political administration

is what we do: we connect the dots between the financial

investment is going to stop flowing into this area, that is not

and technical viability and how to access federal funds for

necessarily the case. A significant number of Mexicans living in

infrastructure projects.

the US are expected to return to Mexico. Several will not return to their states of origin and instead will stay in the border zone.

When we are structuring a loan, we isolate the capacity that our client has to pay us. Typically, our clients pay us through a federal trust, where the federal government deposits these

Grupo Financiero Interaccionesis a Mexican group specialized

resources and then the credit is paid. Once the payment has

in financing infrastructure for the federal, state and local

been covered, the remaining credits are delivered to the state

governments, as well as consulting services for the public and

authorities. This process is one of the reasons why we have a

private sector

very low past-due loan portfolio percentage.




Q: CIBanco started as a corporate exchange institution

credential for compliance officers. I do not think there is

and now offers a wide variety of services. How are your

another CEO in Mexico that has this certification, which

operations developing?

proves our desire to be state-of-the-art when it comes

A: In 2018, the company will celebrate its 10 anniversary th

to money laundering-prevention technology.

as a fully licensed banking institution. We have launched almost all the products we wanted to because we are

Q: The Mexican economy has been growing at rates of

building the bank step by step. We have reinforced

less than 3 percent. What will it take for the economy to

different products; for example, the foreign exchange

finally take off?

market is part of our DNA and we are one of the leading

A: We have had sustained growth and I think this country

banks in this area.

has everything to become a world leader: culture, sceneries and resources but, unfortunately, we have to

We are also developing our fiduciary trust division after

deal with certain issues: drug trafficking, corruption and

the purchase of Bank New York Mellon, in 2014, and

concentration of wealth. When Mexico becomes a country

we have developed automobile financing to the point

without corruption and with legal protections, we will

where we are now among the top six players in this field.

become a different country.

Our network now totals around 200 branches. On the corporate side, we are focused on medium and large-sized

We must develop and open new international markets.

companies because our fiduciary and exchange division is

We need to be able to renegotiate trade agreements to

strong enough to serve Mexico’s big corporations.

make them more integral. Topics such as migration, antiterrorism and drug dealing should also be considered.

Q: CIBanco is the first green bank in Mexico. What does this mean and what are your responsibilities?

Q: What is CIBanco’s strategy for the short-term?

A: Being a green bank is part of our philosophy, but our

A: CIBanco will continue to grow and to increase its

main principle is profitability because without profitability

product profile and loan portfolio. We do not want to

there is no sustainability. We have designed eco-friendly

over-reach our structural growth so we are moving

products to promote the creation of green initiatives,

slowly but confidently to consolidate our branches. We

which help build a more sustainable Mexico. For example,

are opening new branches but also maturing those we

Crédito CIauto verde is a product that offers a lower

already have.

interest rate to those who buy a green car. Q: What are CIBanco’s strategies to facilitate access to Also, customers who hold sustainable accounts, which

financial services for the Mexican population?

means they are paperless, receive better interest rates.

A: Financial inclusion projects should be elaborated according to the strategy of each bank. We have been working on

Q: CIBanco has one of the most-used technologies in the

creating more access channels and we need to adapt to

financial world to control money transfers. What is the

digital technologies. We must also work harder on security

bank doing to prevent money-laundering?

issues related to digital banking, such as identity theft.

A: The prevention of money laundering is a priority for us and I think it is also a priority for the country and for the Mexican banking sector. We were the first Latin American

CIBanco is a multibanking financial institution with more

bank to implement a tool called Swift Compliance, which

than 30 years of experience in the Mexican market. It started

demonstrates our commitment in this matter. I earned

as an exchange institution and today is known as the first

the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS)

green bank in Mexico




Q: What is role Mexico's role in Crédit Agricole’s general

also important to note that, due to the challenges the new


US administration is experiencing on a number of legislative

A: The bank has been in Mexico since the 1970s but we

fronts, the president might feel compelled to exert greater

began investing heavily in different sectors 10 years ago. We

pressure on topics such as foreign trade.

feel comfortable in Mexico; it is a market where, regardless of the challenges the country faces, we see growth

Q: What are Crédit Agricole’s expectations for the

potential, stability and legal security for our operations. Our

renegotiation of NAFTA?

local team acts as a coordinator, facilitating transactions

A: When it comes to trade, there have been some positive

that originate with the bank’s execution hubs in New York,

signals from the US administration. The central scenario

Paris, London and Tokyo.

that must be considered is the significant degree of integration between the two economies, so breaking off

We focus on the top companies in the country and also

the commercial relationship would be a bad outcome for

work with the public sector, although our participation in

both countries. There are many other things to consider.

this area is limited to the federal government and state-

For example, the energy and telecoms sectors are likely to

owned enterprises such as PEMEX, CFE and CENAGAS.

be included in the renegotiation and the issue of rules of origin will be an important topic in the discussion. Agreeing

Q: How has geopolitical and economic uncertainty

to strict rules of origin could generate more investment and

impacted investment in Mexico?

jobs on both sides of the border.

A: That is something we have closely monitored. Regarding the US situation, in general, the discourse has become

Q: What challenges could be problematic for investors in

more optimistic compared to the initial shock the markets


displayed when President Trump was elected. This optimism

A: Public debt worries us but the government has been

might be a little exaggerated. I think we are embracing an

making inroads in the last year. It is something that we have

assumption of a new normality that may not be that easy to

to monitor closely. When it comes to inflation generated

sustain. The US administration remains unpredictable. In a

by the exchange rate, I think that Banxico has done a fairly

worst-case scenario, the US could impose tariffs on Mexican

good job.

products. Mexico would then turn to the WTO, which on average implies the imposition of relatively small tariffs to

I think there are other topics that could have a far greater

Mexican exports. The US could, however, still unilaterally

impact on investments, such as rule of law. There are

impose larger tariffs, which Mexico could dispute under

projects that are paralyzed due to social issues where local

WTO rules but such a dispute could take up to four years.

communities have blocked the establishment of projects.

In the meantime, the impact to local industry could be

However, that is not something inherent to Mexico – we


have seen a number of similar cases in the US. Violence or corruption are also important elements that need to be

It is important to consider all possible outcomes before


falling into a wave of wishful thinking and optimism. It is Q: What strategies is Crédit Agricole implementing to further participate in the country’s energy industry? Crédit Agricole is a French financial instituion and one of the

A: One competitive advantage we have when participating

10 largest worldwide. It has been in Mexico since the 1970s and

in this sector is related to the bank’s global experience in

is focused on providing services for corporations and state-

energy and structured finance. We prefer to concentrate

owned companies such as PEMEX and CFE

in segments where we can provide our global expertise.


COMMITTING INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT TO MEXICO RAUL MARTÍNEZ-OSTOS Chairman of the Board and Director General of Grupo Financiero Barclays México


Q: How is Mexico positioned in Barclays’ global operations?

the relationship will continue regardless of what happens

A: Historically, investment banks tend to place Mexico within

with NAFTA.

their Latin America strategy; however, for Barclays it made more sense to include Mexico on the North American map

One positive achievement for Mexico is that it has signed

due to the complementarity of the economies. We believe

bilateral agreements with different countries beyond NAFTA,

that, with or without NAFTA, Mexico’s business world

which solidifies the Mexico’s position. We will continue to

is intertwined with North America, given the synergies

be one of the US and Canada’s most important economic

between the three economies.

partners, but at the same time we will continue to be very important trading partners for other countries.

We are the most active bank in the issuance of Structured Equity Securities (CKDs) and we issued the first Investment

Q: What opportunities and challenges might arise for

Project Certificate (CerPI). We are also strong participants

financial institutions following the NAFTA renegotiation?

in government and private debt issuance. It is important

A: NAFTA brings stability to the region and if the

that we send the message that Barclays is a strong bank,

renegotiation's result is positive the economic ties in the

committed to Mexico.

region will be reinforced. For the financial sector, having clarity is important in order to generate more investment. There are

Q: What do you see in the country that reinforces Barclays’

many aspects that go beyond a mere business perspective

commitment to Mexico?

but which will play a central role in the renegotiation. Factors

A: Bank strategies tend to be defined for the short-term;

such as financial security, money laundering or areas where

however, Barclays’ strategy is based on understanding a

cooperation is needed will end up benefiting both countries.

country in the long-term. We understand that Mexico will

Between the financial entities of the three countries, we can

experience episodes of volatility and that there will be bumps

work together to ensure the safety of our co-nationals and

along the way, but in terms of reforms and new initiatives the

the integrity and stability of the financial sector.

country is doing what needs to be done, and there is a solid platform to build and strengthen our markets and investment

Q: What challenges could hinder investment in the country?

strategy. Barclays is one of the leading international

A: Instability could play an important role. Regardless of

investment banks with capital committed to our Mexican

the results of the Mexican elections of 2018, it is essential to

subsidiary, with a growing trend expected to continue.

maintain the basic principles of responsible macroeconomic management and to foster an environment of clarity,

Q: Beyond NAFTA, what is Mexico’s value proposition to

certainty and transparency. Investment toward Mexico has

the world?

not only increased but also strengthened. In moments of

A: Mexico has achieved a lot thanks to NAFTA, but also

strong volatility, foreign ownership of government bonds

thanks to the bilateral and trilateral relationships of the North

did not fall. These examples reflect the medium-term focus

American bloc. For example, Canadian pension funds are

of investment, which has grown despite the many tasks

investing in infrastructure and energy in Mexico, although

that need to be tackled in terms of security, corruption

it is not circumscribed in NAFTA. The most important

and the rule of law.

CKD, which is estimated to total between US$2.5 and US$3 billion, is made up of Afores and a Canadian pension fund, which has nothing to do with NAFTA; it is related

Grupo Financiero Barclays Méxicois a subsidiary of Barclays

to the bilateral relationship between Mexico and Canada.

PLC. Its investment banking arm provides financial advisory,

NAFTA has been a keystone of the trilateral relationship,

capital raising, financing and risk management to corporations,

but the economies are so close and complementary that

government and financial institutions




Technology now has an impact on almost every facet

digital payments across the country. For example, STP, a

of daily life. Information is at the user’s fingertips and

100 percent nonbank Mexican company participating in

processes that once required face-to-face interaction can

the SPEI system, offers SPEI electronic payments software

now be completed digitally. Today, consumers want to

as a service platform to third-party client to foster fintech

do more online, including daily payments and collection

and disruptive financial companies regarding electronic

transactions. Mexico’s Interbank Electronic Payments

real-time 24/7 payments. Possible transactions include

System (SPEI) began operating on Aug. 13, 2004, and

the payment of school fees, recreational fees, wages or

allows payments to be made digitally.

even car loans and mortgage remittances and virtual assets settlement.

SPEI is a large-value funds transfer system in which participants (Banxico and the entities that have signed a

Banxico, which oversees the SPEI system, has also

contract with the central bank to participate in the SPEI

authorized the launching in 2018 of automated charges

and can send and receive transfer orders) can do straight-

through the system’s “SPEI Pull” feature. Digital payment

processing among themselves, on their own behalf or for

systems allow users to perform electronic transactions

their customers. By the end of the year, a number of key

from almost anywhere, but the system’s working hours

changes to the SPEI framework will make it even easier to

had been restricted to banking hours for those participants

process retail payments to purchase goods or services, or

that could not comply efficiently with this new operating

to pay out rent and perform other monetary transactions

window. A mandatory change will start Dec. 29, 2017, when

over the internet or from or to a cellphone.

mobile banking will function 24/7 for transactions below MX$8,000.

One key element of the SPEI system is that transactions are possible between any financial entity regulated by any of

Security features include the mandatory issuance of

the Mexican financial authorities and those belonging to the

receipts for SPEI transactions and an Electronic Payment

Federal Public Administration. The new provisions widen the

Receipt (CEP) that is issued by Banxico and acts as a proof

scope of participating institutions beyond banks, brokerage

of payment. All transactions are made through a protected

houses and insurers, in a major step to further the use of

network for added safety.


FINANCING DEVELOPMENT TO ENABLE TOURISM SANTIAGO JUÁREZ Former Director of Corporate Banking for Real Estate and Hotels of Banco Sabadell


Cancun, the state of Quintana Roo’s most populous city, is

the confidence to expand our operations to Los Cabos, Baja

home to 31,662 hotel rooms, according to Ministry of Tourism.

California Sur and Huatulco in Oaxaca, and we are working

By 2020, that number will increase by at least 50 percent.

to gain a foothold in Riviera Nayarit and Nuevo Vallarta,” he

To turn those expectations into reality, the industry will need

says. Los Cabos, in particular, is experiencing an investment

help from both the government and the private sector, says

boom in the wake of Hurricane Odile, which hammered the

Santiago Juárez, Former Director of Corporate Banking for

Baja California peninsula in 2014. “The investment wave

Real Estate and Hotels of Banco Sabadell.

fostered by the government after the hurricane and the private reinvestment required to renovate hotels detonated

“In 2015 and 2016, the Riviera Maya and Cancun experienced

the growth of Los Cabos.”

historic occupancy records and we expect this trend to continue in the coming years,” Juárez says. According to data

While the industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the

from the Ministry of Tourism, in 2015 and 2016, Cancun and

last couple of years, Juárez is certain that there remains

the Riviera Maya enjoyed occupancy rates of 70 percent on

a great deal of room for growth, particularly in the hotel

average, a percentage that Juárez says is rarely seen in other

development niche. “In the US, almost 70 percent of hotel

parts of the world.

keys belong to major hotel chains but in Mexico, not even

In the US, almost 70 percent of hotel keys belong to top hotel chains, but in Mexico not even 30 percent of hotel keys belong to these large chains”

30 percent of hotel keys belong to these large chains.” Even though independently owned hotels can offer an interesting value proposition of originality and diversity, “hotel chains offer a higher degree of sophistication and institutionalism that can attract tourism on a larger scale.” There are several improvements that could be implemented to foster the development of tourism infrastructure, which is where the government should play a stronger role. These include providing legal certainty regarding land ownership and cleaning up the permitting process to avoid corruption. But Juárez says the one area developers do not have to

Banco Sabadell, through its two financing vehicles, bank and

worry about anymore is access to financing. “The offering

Sofom, is well-placed in the tourism infrastructure vertical to

from banks has grown in the last couple of years, so much

do its part to ensure the industry’s continued success. Hotel

that players that previously had never shown interest in the

development, particularly in the Riviera Maya, has become

sector are starting to participate. The existence of different

a specialty of the Spanish bank, accounting for a significant

financial entities, including Banco Sabadell, has reduced costs

portion of its portfolio. Juarez says that Banco Sabadell’s

for developers,” he says.

specialized knowledge of the sector, particularly in the Caribbean, and its understanding of how hotels manage their

Mexico has also developed an interesting financing ecosystem

transactions, are among its competitive advantages.

wherein Bancomext and private banks collaborate to foster the development of tourism infrastructure. “An average hotel

Although Mexico, Cancun and the Riviera Maya have been

financing will total more than US$50 million, so it is really hard

Banco Sabadell’s natural niches, Juárez is confident that the

to see one bank taking on the entire risk,” Juárez explains.

bank’s expertise has given it enough momentum to venture

“More than competition, we feel that there is a market for all

into other cities that are also experiencing significant growth

the banks to participate and if we go hand in hand we can

in tourism. “Our experience in the Caribbean has given us

find the best deals for our clients.”


FURTHERING A WORLD WITHOUT CASH ANTONIO JUNCO President and Director General of Mastercard México and Central America


Expanding the acceptance of electronic payments in Mexico

a bank account. With proof like this, reaching 30 percent in

depends heavily on the creation of synergies between the

electronic payments becomes more feasible.”

key players to change the Mexican mindset regarding the use of cash, says Antonio Junco, President and General

Although credit card companies such as Mastercard are doing

Director for Mastercard Mexico and Central America. “In

their part to promote the use of electronic payments, Junco

Mexico, only 14 percent of total commercial transactions

says that greater partnerships across different industries is

are made using electronic payments. However, Mexico could

required. “We need to generate synergies between all the

reach 30 or 40 percent with the existing infrastructure. The

players in the ecosystem and we must all do our part,” he says.

challenge is to change the culture surrounding the use of electronic payments,” says Junco.

The implementation of a solid regulatory framework is another key element in the equation, but a cultural change is

In the last five years, the number of electronic payments

also required. “In Mexico, there is a significant fear of being

has increased, in part because the number of merchants

taxed and fiscally supervised. We need to find a way to

accepting these payments has doubled, from almost half

convince the newspaper kiosk or the mom-and-pop shops

a million to a million. Junco says that this increase is the

operator to become digital and to start accepting electronic

result of a first transformational wave that was bolstered

payments; it is a cultural change that has to happen for both

by advancements in point of sale (POS) readers. “This

users and merchants.” In India for example, authorities have

first wave helped to double the number of merchants

chosen to implement tax incentives in an attempt to boost

that accepted electronic payments but for this number to

digital payments and Junco believes Mexican authorities

continue growing we need a second wave that includes

could follow a similar path. “The tax issue is a window of

new payment models, participants and new technology.”

opportunity to increase the costs of using cash and further the use of digital payments.”

Junco is convinced that Mastercard will contribute to this next wave by developing new technological solutions.

The cost of cash also needs to be revealed. “Using cash is

“In Pakistan, Nigeria and India we launched a model for

extremely expensive. It usually has a direct cost between

electronic payments acceptance that does not require

0.5 and 1 percent of a country’s GDP.” Direct costs include

a traditional or a mobile credit-card reader. Buyers and

issuing expenses, transportation, and inclusion of security

merchants can make a payment and complete a financial

elements. “The indirect costs related to cash include

transaction with their mobile phones by using QR or

corruption, money laundering and fiscal evasion. If we can

alphanumeric codes. With this solution, merchants avoid

manage to reduce these costs, the social benefit increases.”

any extra costs of purchasing a card reader.” According to INEGI, in Mexico 81 million people have a mobile phone,

According to a study conducted by The Better Than Cash

which could help to increase the number of electronic

Alliance, the federal government saves an estimated US$1.3

payments transactions. “There is a common misconception

billion per year when transitioning to a digital payroll

when you talk about technology. People tend to think that

payments system. The same study estimates that if pension

you need to invest millions in sophisticated solutions when

payments shifted to digital, savings could annually exceed

in reality technology can be used to save money and lower

the US$7 billion mark.

initial investment costs,” says Junco. Although there is still much to be done, Junco believes that He adds that the arrival of new businesses flows will also

current efforts are heading in the right direction and that

lead to greater financial inclusion. “The newspaper stand

Mastercard will continue playing a vital role in the creation

or the small convenience store owner is now able to have

of a digital future in Mexico.




Q: What role does Mexico play in Visa’s global operations?

established an alliance with IBM Watson to provide more

A: Visa México works with a strong vision: be the best way

secure payments. A combination of Visa’s global payment

to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere. Our mission is

capacities and Visa Token Services with IBM cognitive

to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable

computing and data analysis capabilities of Watson’s IoT,

and secure digital payment network that enables individuals,

will make possible contactless payments with devices like

businesses and economies to thrive. We connect businesses,

home electronics, automobiles and daily wearables.

financial institutions and customers and allow them to make payments safely and efficiently. Mexico is the second-largest

Q: How is Visa helping to increase Mexico’s low rate of

economy in Latin America, making it the second-most

financial inclusion?

important country for Visa in the region.

A: In developing economies, mobile money systems are bringing secure digital payments to millions of people

Q: 3Q17 results showed that its volume of payments grew

previously excluded from the financial mainstream. Financial

38 percent over the previous year. What contributed to this

inclusion is one of Visa México’s main priorities because our


biggest challenge and competitor is cash. Only 15 percent

A: Rapid innovation is encouraging the proliferation of

of the country’s Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE)

technologies that improve and expand our reach. Visa was

is made through digital payments and in Mexico only

built on the notion of universal access and we are making it

40 percent of the adult population has access to a bank

even more open. Visa has been working to become the leader

account or a formal financial service. For this reason, we

in electronic payments through a radical transformation of

are approaching this area of opportunity through two lines:

its business model. Clients, fintech companies, equipment

special products aimed at the unbanked population and

manufacturers and other players now have access to the

infrastructure for businesses that accept only cash. Together

Visa Development Platform and the Application Programing

with OXXO and Citibanamex, we have developed products

Interfaces (APIs) to co-create customized solutions. We have

such as the Saldazo debit card, a card that can be used for

also developed seven innovation centers around the world

savings and deposits. So far there are approximately 7 million

in which we apply a human-centered design methodology.

Saldazo cards circulating in the country and for almost 42 percent of the users of this service it is their first experience

Q: How does consumer behavior influence Visa’s innovation?

with a financial product. Regarding infrastructure, we are

A: We are living through a commercial revolution driven by

trying to increase the acceptance of cards at businesses that

the IoT. In Mexico, as in the rest of the world, consumers

only take cash. With Grupo Bimbo we have included POS

want to make transactions anytime, anywhere and

terminals in more than 70,000 small supermarkets.

through any device. For this reason, we are developing an infrastructure for mobile payments. Supporting these

In Mexico, financial exclusion has the same geographical

advancements are Visa Digital Solutions and Visa Innovation

distribution as economic development and our inclusion

Centers that provide the tools and environments for rapid

efforts include working with the government. Finally, we

innovation. Visa Digital Solutions is a growing portfolio of

have been working with Grupo Gentera, which traditionally

Visa payment services and authentication technologies that

has offered credit to SMEs led by women.

enable tokenization, online commerce and person-to-person payment services to be securely embedded in new products in a plug-and-play mode. In Mexico, we are building POS

Visa is a technology payments company present in 200

terminals for Near Field Communication (NFC) payments

countries. It is one of the world’s leading commercial networks

and by the end of 2017 we expect that 30 percent of the

and financial services providers. Visa offers different payment

POS terminals in Mexico will have NFC capability. Visa also

products to connect consumers, businesses and governments




Q: Which economic sectors have the greatest potential

A: Oil demand is huge worldwide and renewable energy

for development in Mexico?

has one drawback: its high costs. The world is not going

A: Thanks to the Energy Reform and to the investments

to stop working without oil overnight, so there is a great

secured through the governmental tenders, energy is

opportunity in both sectors. Renewables will grow stronger

among the best positioned. We expect billions of dollars

as technology advances and generation costs fall. In the short

of investment to flow into the sector over the next five to

and medium term, both will be complementary; that is, they

10 years. Another interesting sector is business services,

will not compete with each other but will coexist. Still, the

given the impressive growth of the domestic market

world’s mentality is shifting toward greater protection of the

and the demand that has generated, especially when

environment. A perfect example is the automotive industry.

compared to some European or emerging economies. At

Not everyone can buy a 100 percent electric car, although they

the macroeconomic level, Mexico is growing at around 2

exist, but more and more people can buy a hybrid.

percent, which for us is not high but at the global level is a healthy and respectable rate. This has fueled growth

Q: What protocol does PC Capital follow when choosing

in domestic consumption of between 8 and 10 percent.

its investments? A: Mexico is a country where small and medium businesses

PC Capital specializes by sector and we have done

prevail. We select those that have a robust management team,

business in the most interesting segments of the Mexican

with a proven business model and that need additional capital

economy. In energy, for example, we have created a

to continue growing. The goal is to make the leap from small

strategy for both our investment banking division and

and medium enterprises to large companies that have access

in private equity.

to other markets. Another important characteristic of our investments is that the quality of our partners is high, not only

We also run a private equity fund that focuses on what we

in business terms but also in ethical and moral terms, which

see as the three pillars for Mexico’s development. The first

allows us to create deeper relationships and partnerships that

is financial services, which in Mexico has great potential

are also based on trust.

as shown by the performance of large international banks in the country and the lack of penetration of financial

Q: How would you describe entrepreneurship in Mexico

services at the base of the pyramid. The second is

and how does PC Capital participate in this area?

education. Because the government does not have the

A: Entrepreneurship in Mexico is experiencing great growth.

budget to guarantee a quality education for the entire

The country has never had so much support from the

population, it has opened a great window of opportunity

public and private sectors to generate so many businesses.

for the private sector. The third pillar is sustainability.

INADEM was born with several purposes: to help small

The country is becoming more aware of environmental

businesses grow, to create an economic ecosystem in the

preservation, which is reflected in consumption trends.

sector and to fund projects.

Q: How do sustainability and the exploitation of

PC Capital participates in this segment through several

hydrocarbons coexist in your portfolio?

channels, including participation in business accelerators such as Endeavor. For entrepreneurs, we act as mentors but we also participate as investors helping businesses

PC Capitalis the leading midmarket financial advisory firm

that are beyond the start-up stage, that are profitable,

in Mexico. As exclusive partner to Clairfield International, it

that are growing and that need another investor to keep

has access to the group’s offices in more than 20 countries

injecting capital into their business to continue growing at

worldwide, which helps PC Capital do cross-border transactions

accelerated rates.




Q: What is the BMV doing to strengthen Mexico’s financial

tomorrow, there would not be a market big enough to


buy these shares. To create a healthy trading market, a

A: Our main priority in this matter is to continue developing

balance of both companies and investors is needed. If

a stronger financial and trading culture when it comes

we had a larger retail base such as the one that Canada

to businesses, investors and brokerage firms. The stock

has, we would be able to increase participation in the

exchange and brokerage firms are collaborating to develop

Mexican stock exchange. Banks and brokerage firms can

products and services that can better serve different types

change this context by offering more financial education

of companies and projects. Traditionally, the stock exchange

as trading activity has little penetration in the country.

serves the debt and equity market as other exchanges, but in the last few years it developed nontraditional equity-

Q: The average value of a company in the BMV is US$2.5

financing instruments, such as CKDs. The tool developed

billion dollars while other countries average US$600

out of the country’s need for investment to generate

million. How can the stock exchange be more accessible

resources, employment and new companies.

to smaller companies? A: We are trying to encourage smaller companies to

CKDs have financed over MX$100 billion since their creation

participate but as mentioned, the lack of financial culture

with close to eighty emissions. The main industries that

is a challenge. Our team is traveling to different states to

participate in CKDs are infrastructure, real estate and

teach companies about the benefits the BMV can offer.

private equity but the mining industry could take advantage

We found that in many of these states businessmen have

of it as well. CKDs could be an area of opportunity for

no idea how the stock exchange works. First of all, many

miners to finance their projects. It would be useful for small

of these companies think they are too small for the stock

exploration companies.

exchange while regulation allows them to participate with 20 million units of direct investment (UDI) in paid

Q: What are the main challenges you face when it comes

in capital, which is as little as MX$120 million pesos.

to promoting the participation of companies in the BMV? A: The biggest challenge is creating a financial culture in

Of the 5 million companies that are registered in the

Mexico that is open to investing in the stock exchange. The

country, thousands would qualify for listing on the BMV

country has 5 million registered companies and only 350 are

when it comes to capital. Sushiito is an excellent example

using the BMV as a form of finance, of which 150 participate

of a family company that just recently listed debt for only

in the capital market. Only 400,000 companies use other

MX$150 million.

methods such as credit. Investors also believe they need to invest large quantities Another issue is that over 90 percent of the 350 companies

of money and do not realize that there are over 30

on the BMV are divided among only four states in Mexico:

brokerage firms in the country that can offer them a

Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Jalisco and the State of Mexico.

wide variety of options. Society needs access to this

There are 32 states in the country and 12 of these, such

information to be aware of the tools and services we

as Zacatecas, Durango and Guerrero, do not have any

can offer to finance their projects.

companies listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange in either capital or debt markets, regardless of the industry. It is inhibiting growth and expansion in the country’s economy.

BMV Groupis the second-largest stock exchange in Latin America, with a total market capitalization of over US$530

But the root of the problem goes beyond the number of

billion. It operates cash, listed derivatives and OTC markets for

companies listed. If 200 companies were to list on the BMV

multiple asset classes




Q: Nexxus Capital is run and managed by Mexicans. What

A: It is important to recognize that private equity in Mexico

advantages does this give you over other investment funds?

is a relatively young industry. It is a country in which private

A: Nexxus Capital has been in the market for over 19 years.

equity funds arrived before Mexican companies understood

An important advantage is that we know the country, we

what private equity could do for them. This has led to a

know a lot of people and we can add more value more

slower adoption rate of private equity among medium-sized

quickly to our investments than a fund manager established

companies. Still, adoption depends on the industry. In the

in another country. We are a generalist fund, meaning

infrastructure sector, the situation is somewhat different,

that we invest in any kind of company that needs growth

since you are talking with more sophisticated people who

capital. Nexxus Capital is among the most important firms

have experience using private equity. It is similar in real

in terms of managed assets. Of the US$51 billion managed

estate. The learning curve in sectors like infrastructure or

by funds registered in AMEXCAP, Nexxus is responsible for

energy has been faster than in other sectors.

almost US$1 billion. We are in the process of investing our sixth fund and we soon expect to raise our seventh fund

Q: What needs to be done to boost the participation of

as well as an additional fund specialized in debt. We are

more companies in the Mexican Stock Exchange?

also working to set up a fund in Spain for medium-sized

A: Of all the companies listed in the BMV, Nexxus Capital


has helped five of these launch their public offering and soon we will be responsible for a sixth company listed.

Q: What is Nexxus Capital’s view of the belief that instead

There are a number of reasons why companies are reluctant

of a shortage of investment funds there is a shortage of

to go public. The first is fiscal policy. In most countries, a

projects in which to invest?

company eyeing an IPO understands that its fiscal burden

A: The need for capital is infinite; however, out of this infinite

will likely be reduced because the host country recognizes

number of companies that we could target, we must analyze

that the company will be in the country for a long time.

which companies can grow and then which companies also

In Mexico, this special tax regime is not applied, meaning

want to grow and are looking for capital. The next step

that the tax that is being paid by public companies is 30

is to analyze which of these projects provide results that

percent, while in Brazil it is 15 percent, in Spain, 18 percent,

are attractive for the fund. Finally, we must consider two

and in the US, 19 percent.

things: conditions and prices. That is why it is sometimes said that there is more money than projects or companies

Entering to the stock exchange can also be traumatic

appropriate for investment. The fintech sector provides a

for some companies. When a company is family-owned,

good example. An appraisal of fintech companies shows

decisions are made in the dining room. When the company

that most are losing money. In a business like ours, we need

becomes associated with private equity, they lose control

to recognize how much a business can grow, not how much

and decisions must be subject to a vote. When you are a

it is losing.

public company, you have to take into consideration not only a partner who sits with you to make some decisions,

Q: Why has the private sector not taken advantage of

but also all your investors, to which you must report

private equity in Mexico?

everything related to the company within a 24-hour period. There are several companies and families that are not willing to undergo this ordeal. One out of every five companies

Nexxus Capitalis a private equity fund that specializes

listed on the New York Stock Exchange has or had the help

in providing growth capital for medium-sized Mexican

of a private equity fund. In Mexico, in the past 15 years,

companies. It has helped to list companies like Grupo Sports

one out three companies listed on the BMV has had the

World, Genomma Lab and CrĂŠdito Real on the BMV

sponsorship of private equity funds.



Q: What does Finaccess offer the Mexican financial sector

moderate, conservative and aggressive. The average account

that its competitors cannot?

of our clients is MX$6 million and the most popular portfolio

A: Finaccess is a fund management company founded in

is moderate. However, clients can always adapt their portfolio

2000. We manage more than MX$21 billion in assets from

to their liquidity needs.

2,500 clients and we have 12 investment funds. Our clients include individuals and institutions that manage their treasury

Q: What added value does Finaccess offer its clients?

and pension funds with us. We have a commercial alliance

A: We have a competitive management fee. While the market

with Credit Suisse in Mexico, an institution with international

average cost is 1.80 percent, our fee has been reduced to

prestige. We jointly manage with them five mutual funds

0.50 percent. We can offer these conditions because we are

investing in international equity strategies and international

a boutique fund manager with a reduced-cost model. We are

and local fixed income.

not an ocean liner; we are a sailboat with a robust engine and we are committed to our customers. We rank 11th among the

Q: What is the average profile of Finaccess’ clients?

top 30 fund managers in Mexico. We work with a Spanish

A: Our customer profile varies according to their risk appetite.

fund manager, EDM.

Customers must understand that if they want a higher return, they should be willing to take greater risks. However, as a fund manager, our responsibility is to reduce risk and avoid

Finaccess Méxicois a Mexican fund management company,

surprises for our customers. We have accomplished this

and a subsidiary of Grupo Finaccess SAPI. It has 12 funds in

in our 17 years of operation in the market. We have three

Mexico, local and international fixed income, and local and

customized portfolios that fit the profile of our clients:

global equities


FURTHERING THE MEXICAN BANKING SYSTEM JOSÉ MARÍA ZAS President Global Card Services Brazil, Argentina and Latin America of American Express

The appearance of new players and fintech companies in

This strategy is not only a way for American Express to

the banking segment has prompted traditional banking

increase its client base but also to further the banking

institutions to look for ways to keep pace. American

system in Mexico. “Almost 90 percent of Mexican consumers’

Express is leader in the Premium segment, but the changing

transactions are in cash. Mexico has an opportunity to deepen

landscape of the country’s social pyramid is prodding it

its penetration of the electronic payments markets,” says Zas.

to increase its product offering. “With the growth of the

“Mexico’s banking system estimates 20 million credit cards in

middle class, we have recognized that we should target that

circulation although single customers total 10 million, since

sector with credit products,” says José María Zas, President

many have several cards. Brazil has 200 million cards and

of Global Card Services Brazil, Argentina and Latin America

Argentina has 40 million. Mexico’s aspiration should be to

of American Express.

reach 60 million cards.”


Network rack, Dätwyler Cabling Solutions



Technological advancements and the world’s transformation to a digital economy have forced Mexico to change its productive sectors. Machine learning, automation and AI are leading the evolution of technology-based companies and impacting on almost all industries. In recent years, companies such as Microsoft and Dell have established operations in Guadalajara and Mexico City. These cities have also become hubs for numerous technology startups.

In addition, the structural changes carried out through the Telecommunications Reform implemented by the Enrique PeĂąa Nieto administration have shaped the sector by improving competition through the integration of new players. These novelties have brought a number of positive changes for final users, including price reductions, a bigger offer and better services.

However, technological advancements arise faster than the construction of economic and regulatory platforms to sustain the changes. This chapter will focus on the challenges companies and technological developers are facing while embracing a new digital era in Mexico. In it, the leaders of some of the main technology companies will discuss their best practices to smooth Mexico’s entrance to the digital world.



ANALYSIS: Data, Analytics Fire The Digital Revolution


INSIGHT: Carlos Morales, Telefónica Movistar México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Fernando Turner, Ministry of Economy and Labor, State of Nuevo Leon


PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Nuevo Leon 4.0 – A Smart State


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Javier Cordero, Oracle Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Federico Casas-Alatriste, T-Systems Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Elie Haibi, Hermes Systems


INSIGHT: Salvador Blasco, Qualcomm Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Bismarck Lepe, Wizeline


INSIGHT: Héctor Cobo, SAS


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Ricardo Suárez, weex


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Aarón Porraz, Grupo Tecno

Juan Carlos Lovo, Grupo Tecno


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan F. Aguilar, Dell México


INSIGHT: Danilo Ochoa, Gemalto


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Alejandro Raposo, Symantec Latin America and Caribbean


INSIGHT: Alejandro Athié, StarGo


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Karsten Florin, Dätwyler Cabling Solutions

Janitzio Badillo, Marathon Group


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mario Maldonado, Juniper Networks


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gerardo Flores Zurita, CA Technologies


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Peter Kroll, everis México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gustavo Gutiérrez, Broxel Fintech


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Fernando Gutiérrez, STP



DATA, ANALYTICS FIRE THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION As a digital revolution sweeps across industries, technology development and a competitive communications system are keys to attracting investment. But as the revolution widens, the challenge of the 21st century for many companies is easier said than done: adapt to the needs of the people consumers. Bismarck Lepe, Founder of Wizeline, says that

analytics has become the top weapon as companies vie for

AI will allow intelligent automation. “Google leveraged its

a competitive advantage. According to the McKinsey Global

DeepMind project to manage its overall infrastructure and its

Institute, in 1986 only three exabytes (EB) of data existed;

data servers. The company was able to reduce its electricity

by 2011, the figure had gone up by more than 300 EB. Cisco

costs by simply deploying DeepMind.” Lepe believes that

Systems estimates that by 2021, annual global IP traffic will

the use of AI tools such as chatbots can contribute to

reach 1,000 EB, with global IP traffic increasing 127 times

higher productivity by automating activities such as human

between 2005 and 2021.

resources consultations. “One of the interesting things about AI is that it is creating a very human-like interface between

Machine learning, automation and AI are leading the digital

data and customers.”

change and product and service personalization will become the rule, as more businesses adopt new technologies. Javier


Cordero, President and Director General of Oracle Mexico,

Although the tools are available, change itself does not come

says the change has to do with a shift in paradigms. “The

easy. Embracing a new digital strategy appears to be more of

world is undergoing a digital transformation that has nothing

a challenge for those companies that were not born with the

to do with adopting technology but with empowering

digital component embedded in its DNA. Oracle’s Cordero

people,” he says.

says the Mexican mindset plays an important role in the transformation. “If we do not start changing this mindset,

Many “new” technologies have been around for a fairly long

the country will continue facing a lag on its productivity

time but adoption in Latin American countries has been

index. We need to make Mexican businesspeople incorporate

slow. In 2013, almost 60 percent of the digital universe was

the innovation chip into their DNA.”

generated in established areas such as the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan. However, data consulting

Reluctance to change is something companies sometimes

firm IDC estimates that by 2020 this trend will shift and 60

face without being aware of it, adds Elie Haibi, Director

percent of the digital universe will be generated by emerging

General of Hermes Systems. “There are good initiatives

markets, which puts Mexico on the path to opportunity.

in Mexico, but we lack speed and awareness when designing and executing digital projects. Awareness means

Information, machine learning and AI are used for more

understanding why the company is carrying out this change

than just personalizing products to the particular tastes of

and how much this change will impact its mission.”





„„Fixed Telecom Investment


„„Mobile Telecom Investment


„„Total Telecom Investment

Source: IFT

Source: Source: CAAM, JAMA, VDA, KAMA, SIAM, AMIA, ANFAC, Automotive News, Data Center


46.9 26.1















Data is the main munition of the digital revolution and


Cordero believes that for this change to happen, all that is


needed is a paradigm shift. “A few years ago, incorporating a digital strategy answered to the need to become more


Awarding of public-private partnership contract

efficient, save money or just follow the trend. Companies


Beginning of the network's deployment

now are venturing to the new digital world to find new


At least 30% of the population covered by March


At least 50% of the population covered by January


At least 75% of the population covered by January

Mexico does not yet have the appropriate infrastructure


At least 85% of the population covered by January

that permits the transformation of businesses, according


At least 88.6% of the population covered by January


At least 92.2% of the population covered by January

business models and to offer new products and services.” However, cultural barriers are only part of the challenge.

to Cordero. “Telecom companies are now working toward a new generation of 4G where users will be able to have cable-speed connections without being connected to a

Source: OECD


cable. This will lead to new business models that we cannot competitive prices and elevating service quality. Francisco

even imagine now.”

González, Director General of Bancomext, believes the


implementation of the Shared Network will allow Mexico to

Although it is driven by companies, digital transformation

fully enter the Industry 4.0 trend. “We will be the first country

also must be fomented by the government through public

to have a shared network that will provide a substantial

policy. The Telecommunications Reform implemented

percentage of the population with access to the 4G network

by Peña Nieto's government is meant to push this

and with enough spectrum to allow communication in a more

transformation. The reform focused on key issues to

efficient and economical manner,” he says.

improve Mexico’s telecommunications reach, recognizing users’ rights to access services such as the internet and

Opportunities offered in the technology sector have attracted

broadband, strengthening the regulatory framework to foster

international companies to the country, generating hubs

competition and take down monopolies and establishing the

in cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara. Juan F. Aguilar,

needed infrastructure to carry out a National Digital Strategy.

Director General of Dell Mexico, is confident that Mexico will play a key role in the digital transformation of businesses.

According to the OECD, the implementation of the reform

“Mexico is in a strategic position due to its proximity to

has resulted in a number of positive changes, including the

one of the largest global markets and the huge support

entrance of new players in the market, the reduction of

universities are offering in the digital transformation age.”

telecommunication services prices, increased access to mobile broadband subscriptions and an increase in FDI in the sector. CONTRIBUTION TO NATIONAL GDP (4Q16) Opening the door for communication operators such as AT&T and Mobile Virtual Operators (MVOs) has sparked competition in what used to be an immovable market. Ricardo Suárez, Co-founder and CEO of weex, says the appearance of MVOs has been key for fostering competition, regardless of size or financial strength. “Even though we cannot compete directly with big carriers, the fact that the final user can have six or seven options that provide an added value or differentiated services enriches the market.” Universal access to internet became a pivotal point for the


as of July 2017, Mexico had a total of 74.5 million mobile broadband subscriptions and 16.2 million fixed broadband subscriptions. Although the country has experienced

Manufacturing industries



Wholesale and retail trade



Real estate services and rentals









Transport, couriers and storage


Financial and insurance services



Telecom and broadcasting



Education services



Legislative, governmental, administration of justice and international and extraterritorial organizations


significant growth, it still ranks 33 in OECD’s ranking of rd

mobile broadband. To address the situation, the government has undertaken the Shared Network project, which aims to broaden the range of telecom services, while offering

GDP Participation (%)


present governmental administration and the country’s digitalization agenda. According to data from the OECD,


Source: IFT





It has been 15 years since the Spanish firm Telefónica Movistar

specific industries. The IoT program will be delivered to

arrived to the Mexican telecommunications market. Back then,

industries such as energy, healthcare and banking. “Telefónica

Mexico was waking up to its potential and trying to figure

is helping its partners increase their productivity and efficiency

out how to provide connectivity for its massive population.

by offering integrated digital solutions that optimize their

Throughout this time, the firm has positioned itself as one of

processes and reduce their investment budgets.”

the top telecommunications companies in Mexico, while the telecoms market has been growing along with a population

According to GMSA, Mexico is the second-largest mobile

that demands connectivity as a priority.

communication market in Latin America and one of the Top 15 in the world. Telefónica Movistar sees great potential in the

The request for internet and communication access is not just

Mexican market due to the size of the young population and

a priority for the Mexican market. “There is exponential global

the creation and arrival of new businesses. According to INEGI,

growth in connectivity, with 7.4 billion subscribers to personal

70 percent of internet users are 35 years old or younger, and

internet for mobile devices and 3.2 billion daily internet users,”

almost 40 percent of homes have an internet connection.

says Carlos Morales, CEO of Telefónica Movistar Mexico.

“Our present world demands permanent connectivity and this

“Today, we are experiencing the digitalization of society

digital revolution pushes us to work harder on providing better

through changes in products, consumer habits and different channels of communication. Everything is focused on data consumption.” The growth of digital society is demanding the creation of new business models. Movistar’s model, Elegimos todo, integrates three value propositions: “Unique and simple products, excellent connectivity through LTE services and the company’s core values that provide the best experience and client satisfaction.” Morales says Telefónica trusts Mexico’s potential. The company will continue working on its growth plans with investments above 13 percent of its annual income;

standards and services every day,” says Morales.

One of the challenges includes creating a more cost-effective spectrum to meet the growing demand for digital services in Mexico” Telefónica is also focused on growing its customer service. In

so far, the company has an accumulated investment of US$13

2017, it will be opening more than 100 stores in cities such as

billion. Its growth plan is focused on the expansion of its

Cuernavaca, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, Leon, Puebla,

network, which has more than 10,500 radio bases. Telefónica

Baja California and Merida. “At Telefónica Movistar, we offer

has also invested US$50 million in its Data Center in Parque

our clients a different experience. We are proud to be the

Tecnológico de Ixtlahuaca. “We are a key player in the market,

mobile telecommunication company with the fewest claims

with 26.6 million clients and coverage in 90 percent of the

from our customers,” says Morales.

urban population,” says Morales. Despite the company’s success, market obstacles have Telefónica is also promoting its B2B portfolio of integrated

restrained the company’s development. “From the beginning,

digital solutions to help Mexican companies increase

one of our priorities was the definition of a competitive

their productivity. Morales says its ideal portfolio includes

environment for all players in the telecommunications sector.

cloud solutions for storage, hosting and unification of

Around 15 years later, we still face significant challenges from a

communications, security solutions for management of

regulatory point of view,” says Morales. “One of the challenges

devices, cybersecurity and threat detection, connectivity

includes creating a more cost-effective spectrum to meet the

solutions like IoT and the development of applications for

growing demand for digital services in Mexico.


TRANSITIONING TO A DIGITAL ECONOMY FERNANDO TURNER Ministry of Economy and Labor for the State of Nuevo Leon

Q: What strategies is the government of Nuevo Leon

Q: How can I4.0 be implemented in sectors such as

implementing to boost the digital revolution and Industry


4.0 (I4.0) practices?

A: There are already around 100 to 150 companies in

A: The digital revolution is already underway and will

the world that are incorporating I4.0 practices into the

generate profound and drastic changes that will affect all

agricultural sector. The concept of agriculture is bound to

aspects of our lives. For this reason, we have decided that

change and everything will now be monitored electronically.

as a government we must encourage the incorporation of

Land, climate, water, nutrients and so on, will be analyzed,

this trend into our economy and our production processes.

monitored and controlled from afar. We foresee that each

About a year ago, we began to analyze this change to

plant will have sensors that will analyze how much water

decide how to approach it. Our action plan includes the

and nutrients it is receiving. These sensors will also detect

creation of a council that has as members university deans,

which plants are receiving the needed water and nutrients

the business community, members of the state government

yet are still not growing. Chemistry and ratios of water

and a representative of the federal government. It is

and nutrients can then be immediately adjusted to ensure

interesting that even though the initiative came from the

the crop continues growing. Transportation and product

government, it was quickly embraced by society. We see

behavior will also be factored into the equation.

enthusiasm from all those involved and I believe that the initiative will allow Nuevo Leon to advance and solidify its

Q: What challenges could hinder the state’s economic

position among the world’s production platforms.

growth? A: Everything can be a challenge and at the same time an

Q: What concrete actions is the council taking to support

opportunity. This changing environment offers significant

the digital revolution within the state?

opportunities for young people with fresh ideas and for

A: We are working on a strategy called Nuevo Leon 4.0,

businesses to boom without the need for capital, such as

which includes not only manufacturing but also services,

Uber or Airbnb. Still, I believe the main challenge is to adapt

government, agribusiness, health and information

to a new economy and new ways of doing business. The

technologies. The strategy includes three lines of action:

main challenge for the country is our refusal to change.

the first is the coordination and mobilization of social players toward the digital revolution; the second is to

Q: A significant portion of the state’s economy is

provide the general public with information through the

intertwined with the US economy. How does the US

media, unions and so on; the third line of action is ensuring

administration affect Nuevo Leon’s economy?

that universities and schools adjust their study programs

A: We are interdependent, we have a relationship in which

to generate the knowledge and skills that will be required

both countries and economies matter, but it would be

in the coming years. To accomplish this, we have outlined

plain wrong to assume that the entire Mexican economy is

a series of skills that our students must develop and we

dependent on the US. Globalization has led to an increase in

have asked companies to develop productive projects that

foreign trade across the entire world and the US remains the

include I4.0 practices. So far, we have around 67 projects

largest consumer on the planet. The trade relationship we

that companies have submitted. The idea is to select

enjoy is not a byproduct of NAFTA; it is part of a global trend.

between 10 and 12 and support them. The projects must be feasible, have the backing of companies that possess the needed capital to see them through and can be completed

The Ministry of Economy and Labor of the state of Nuevo

in a relatively short time. Our goal is to have around 10

Leon is in charge of facilitating, promoting and supporting

productive units that incorporate I4.0 practices within a

the state’s economic development. It coordinates different

maximum period of 24 months.

economic, academic and governmental players




pilot projects in Nuevo Leon 4.0 strategy portfolio


NUEVO LEON 4.0 – A SMART STATE The fourth Industrial Revolution is here. Understanding the potential opportunities that will emerge from this revolution, the state of Nuevo Leon is implementing the Nuevo Leon 4.0 initiative, which aims to position the region as a smart economic development hub for the entire continent. Industry is leading Nuevo Leon 4.0, backed by the state’s government and academia. These three players are working side by side to develop and transform the future of the state. The objective is to create a smart state that selectively applies the latest advanced technologies, such as Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) enabled by the use of IoT, Big Data in the cloud, virtual and augmented reality, digital manufacturing and 3D printing, among others. Nuevo Leon 4.0 is founded on six strategic pillars. The first is to promote the initiative and invite all sectors in the state to join this digital transformation. The second pillar involves the development of talent, meaning the creation of new academic programs in universities as well as the transformation of the existing talent in companies. Next is the state’s technological infrastructure. This involves assessing current capabilities and complementing them so companies can meet the development needs the fourth industrial revolution will entail. The fourth pillar impacts directly on business models. In this fourth industrial revolution, business models that will prevail will be those that address the digital transformation of products, processes and services. Nuevo Leon 4.0 will register and share these collaborative models that will generate new ways of doing business. The fifth pillar revolves around public policy. In this new strategy, public policy must focus on identification of low value-added procedures that hinder the advance of the Nuevo Leon 4.0 initiative and at the same time propose new norms that encourage the creation of an economy driven by technology. The final pillar is proactive linking between companies and organizations. Today, Nuevo Leon 4.0 has a portfolio of 10 pilot projects: six of which are of an industrial nature, one in the services sector, one in agribusiness, one in health and one related to government. In addition, there are five projects intended to transform the academic programs of the state’s universities to address the talent needs resulting from this revolution.





Q: What is Oracle’s role in the development of the digital

Q: What are the challenges of implementing this digital

revolution in Mexico?

revolution in a country like Mexico?

A: The world is undergoing a digital transformation that

A: More than anything, it is a cultural and educational

aims to empower people to create new business models

challenge. Oracle works alongside hundreds of educational

that generate real progress. For instance, Netflix changed

institutions to contribute study programs and workshops in an

the entire industry paradigm and business model. While it is

effort to gradually change people’s mindset toward this new

true that a lot of technology is required for a business such

economy. If we do not start changing this mindset, the country

as Netflix to function, the big turnaround is the paradigm

will continue facing a lag in its productivity index. We need to

change that was made possible through the existence of an

make Mexican businessmen incorporate the innovation chip

enabler. In Mexico, Oracle focuses on supporting the country’s

into their DNA.

digital transformation through our technology management. We are enablers for companies and we are looking for new

Q: How ready is Mexico to undertake the digital revolution?

business models in this digital transformation.

A: When it comes to digital transformation, neural networks are fundamental. I would say that it is not only telecom companies

The growth of e-commerce represents a paradigm change

that are in charge of this part, but networks in general must

and has made competition global instead of local. When

be strengthened to support the existing connectivity demand.

it comes to digital transformation, Mexican companies

We are focusing on traditional businesses but new areas, such

are understanding the strategic value of business models

as IoT, are connecting everything to the internet.

powered by the internet. A few years ago, incorporating a digital strategy answered the need to become more efficient,

Mexico does not have the infrastructure to support this

to save money or to just keep pace with the trend. Companies

transformation. However, we are on the right path. There

now are venturing into a new digital world to find new

are several companies heavily investing to reinforce the 4G

business models and to offer new products and services.

network. Telecom companies are now working toward a

For instance, when talking about retail, only 10 percent of

new generation of 4G where users can reach cable-speed

what is sold in the world is through an e-commerce platform

connections without being connected to a cable. This will lead

while 90 percent is sold through traditional channels. The

to new business models that we cannot even imagine now.

percentage of sales through e-commerce is very low but almost 90 percent of what is sold through traditional retail

Q: What areas of opportunity has the company recognized

is influenced by the internet.

within Mexico’s digital development? A: Every human discipline and science is walking down the

The use of technology is no longer exclusive to big

path of digitalization. For instance, with the telecoms reform,

corporations. It is not a matter of size and scale, it is a

public television is now digital. The taxation system or

matter of how the world operates. The world has changed

administrative procedures are also digital. Everything is digital.

and Mexican entrepreneurs are beginning to understand this,

This means that data has to be managed, stored, transported

which means that we are seeing an important transformation

and analyzed by something, regardless of the discipline. Oracle

toward the digital world regardless of a company’s size.

is focusing on all these tasks. Digital databases, models to store and to transport digital information are all from Oracle. We see limitless possibilities of digitalization. Worldwide, we

Oracle is a multinational computer technology corporation

are experiencing double-digit growth and in Mexico we are

headquartered in California. It specializes in developing and

growing at a three-digit pace. This growth is neither a fluke

marketing database software and technology and cloud

nor the consequence of skilled salespeople, it is inertia from a

services. It is present in 195 countries

technology that is working. It is a historic moment.



Q: What role does Mexico play in your global strategy?

Q: What is your view of the pace at which Mexico is adopting

A: T-Systems complements the offering of IT outsourcing


services that was dominated by US companies for several

A: Mexico needs to speed up its transformation. At first, it was

years. We provide an alternative, with a different DNA

hard for the business community in Mexico to understand

and with an important focus on high-quality technology,

certain concepts such as the cloud. However, the cloud is

procedures and predictability. We are an alternative

the entry ticket to digital transformation. It is impossible to

to help companies begin their process of digital

conceive this transformation without it.

transformation. Until a few years ago, companies in Mexico thought that T-Systems provides assistance to companies in these

having control or exclusivity of their technological resources

two areas, ensuring the maintenance of their traditional

was of extreme importance since it belonged to their core

operations while accompanying them in their business

business. Today, few companies have their own data center,

transformation process toward new technologies that

since it makes no sense for them to have one. From a cost

include the cloud, mobility and IoT. When it comes to IT

perspective, IT has become a variable, rather than a fixed, cost,

services, if you provide good services, no one notices and

which has viability repercussions, particularly for investment

that is what is all about.


Q: Why has the country become a hub for T-Systems’

One of the most common concerns for the business


community regarding the use of the cloud was related to

A: Mexico is the 12 -largest economy in the world. But

security. The truth is that the level of information security

more importantly, its prospects are even better. According

companies can have when using our services versus the

to several sources, the Mexican market and economy will

security level they can have in an in-house data center with

scale the world’s rankings by 2025, when the country is

more limited conditions cannot be compared.


expected to be among the Top 10 economies in the world. Q: Is the country’s workforce prepared to face the challenges Among our clients in Mexico are companies that are

of the digital era?

also clients of Deutsche Telekom in other parts of the

A: Human capital is a critical issue. Mexican technicians

world, such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Shell and Heineken.

are extraordinarily good and competitive worldwide. The

The original reason for being in a market is that there

fact that we provide services from Mexico to more than 30

are several clients that require services in that specific

different countries means that our human capital can perform

location, which is why we came to Mexico in the first place.

world-class services. Universities are producing competitive professionals and technicians. While the technical skills of

Mexico has contributed heavily to our growth. In 2015

graduates are at a good level, the English level students have

and 2016, revenue here expanded an average 30 percent

needs improvemen. In the telecoms industry, people must

annually. Repeating this pace in the coming years will

be able to at least read in English and interact with clients

be complicated but we expect to continue growing at

in English.

an accelerated rate. We have a strong presence in the industrial sector and we have a significant but selective presence in the public sector. In the health and financial

T-Systems is a global IT services and consulting company. It

industries we have a very small presence. However, we

specializes in providing cloud services, M2M solutions and

expect to increase our share in both sectors and thus

communication services, among others, helping companies

continue growing.

construct a digital platform





Q: What is the extent of Hermes Systems’ offering to

is carried out in a timely and cost-effective manner. In

its clients?

pharma, we help automate the salesforce’s sales schedule

A: Our main objective is to help our clients thrive in the

while controlling each representative’s inventory of drug

fourth industrial revolution. Unlike our competitors, we

samples considering their expiration dates. In banking, we

are involved in both the design and implementation of

help accelerate and reduce the cost of credit origination.

transformation programs. To design the digital strategy, we start from the client’s vision – where they want to be,

These are ready-to-implement solutions that can be

in what way they want to be special – which becomes

executed as a first step but are hardly disruptive. Now, if

their value proposition. We then design a new operating

we consider a specific company, examine its processes,

model to support the value proposition. This design

its value proposition and its current capabilities, we can

considers the execution challenges and ensures that we

try to turn around its operating model and provide it with

plan for a viable transformation.

advanced capabilities that may make its value proposition unique and disruptive within the context of its industry.

We also help our clients implement or govern the implementation and make sure the project portfolio takes

Q: What challenges do most companies face when trying

them where they want to be. It is an ongoing journey

to implement a digital strategy?

with a dynamic model that responds to changing market

A: A key success factor of any digital strategy is having

conditions and the constant evolution of technologies

clearly defined where the company is, where it is going

and emerging disruptions. What we add is an innovation

and what kind of leadership the company wants to have

process at the core of the design phase, involving a mixed

in its market. It is important to note that leadership can be

team of business consultants and IT specialists resulting

attained by following two different strategies: leadership

in a truly disruptive transformation plan. Some call this

through product and its digital value proposition and

design thinking.

leadership through customer engagement.

To increase the speed of execution we have built

For example, when it comes to digitalizing the

technological capabilities that solve typical problems

engagement strategy, the banking and retail sectors have

that occur in many industries. Moreover, the solutions

been fairly active, while the insurance and healthcare

we build reuse industry specific frameworks developed

industries have fallen behind due to the inherent

over the years in banking, insurance, retail, distribution,

challenges in those sectors. For any company that

telecoms and healthcare. In retail and e-commerce, we

wishes to implement a digital strategy, it is important

are working with customers to achieve next-day delivery

to consider a few pre-requisites. One basic element is

or same-day delivery of goods to the consumer through

to achieve operational excellence; this requires having

the digitalization of their distribution force. In telecoms

standardized, automated and optimized processes. It also

and utilities, our solutions help speed up the execution

encompasses optimizing the organization, which means

of work orders with increased quality of service. In

having the necessary staff with the right skillsets assigned

distribution, we help make sure the delivery of goods

to every activity and using the right tools and with access to the right information at the right moment. Another important element is building a solid digital backbone

Hermes Systemsis a Mexican company specialized in the

that is robust and at the same time flexible enough to

digital transformation of businesses. Its focus is providing

allow for change. That is integrating the information flow


across processes, departments and services. Companies



technological tools





must have the ability to respond automatically to complex

events through the smart planning of automation, which

must be accompanied by fearlessness of failure and the

means dedicating human workers only to important and

acceptance to try things over and over again. However

complicated decisions while letting a computer program

successful, big and mature the organization is, it must be

solve the rest.

prepared to act like a startup when it comes to innovation.

Q: How do you reconcile the Mexican conservative

Q: In an era of digitalization and ephemeral information,

mindset with the disruptive transformation digital

what strategies can companies implement to adequately

strategies entail?

engage with consumers?

A: We have found companies reluctant to embrace digital

A: Successful customer engagement requires knowing

change without them being aware of it. This reticence

your customers beyond their names, emails and

manifests often in not taking the necessary time to

addresses. You have to know and understand their needs,

analyze what this change actually means. There are good

expectations and motivations. It also requires being able

initiatives in Mexico but we lack speed and awareness

to act accordingly.

when designing and executing digital projects. Awareness means understanding why the company is carrying out

For this to happen, companies need to build what usually

this change and how much this change will impact its

is called the single-customer view or 360º view of the


customer, which contains everything the organization knows about the customer, transactions, products,

We witness significant investments in technological

surveys, complaints and also some customer analytics,

areas but sometimes these investments do not match

such as satisfaction score, churn, next-likely purchase

the business strategy. The problem with misguided

and ideally, next-best action in terms of engagement.

investments is that they rarely offer competitive

That is, the engagement action that will have the best

advantages. It is necessary to consider at every moment

impact on the customer. Then you have to make this

how to be unique and what is the company’s differentiator

360º view available to every representative at each

and the company’s unique value proposition and how to

customer touchpoint. With proper training and relevant

uphold it, using internal processes, operational excellence

knowledge about the customer, the representative can

and additional business, organizational and technological

fully deliver on the brand promise. You also need the


processes to support the representative’s work and make the experience consistently good. Then again, culture

When it comes to digital initiatives, innovation and

is very important. It is what makes the representative

creativity are decisive. Organizations are configured

empowered and compelled to really get out of its way

to avoid risks and directors and managers are risk

to create an outstanding experience for the customer.

administrators. Naturally, if they see an initiative that entails a certain degree of risk their job is to deactivate

This is the keystone capability you need to properly

it. With every disruptive digital strategy there is

engage with customers, otherwise any customer-related

certainly inherent risk, which must always be properly

strategy would be executed without tactical visibility and

managed; however, a serious willingness to innovate

would be doomed to fail.



NEW APPROACHES DRIVE CHANGE SALVADOR BLASCO Vice President of Business Development and Director General for Qualcomm Mexico


Whether innovating a process or a product, the

Mexican telecoms businesses know they must diversify into

implementation of new ideas and approaches is a consistent

fresh areas or risk becoming obsolete. IoT offers them an

driver of significant change. Until now, Mexico has lagged

opportunity if they can change the lenses through which

in the race to innovate but technology accessibility and

they are experiencing the world, Blasco says. “Mexican

affordability are helping the country to catch up and

carriers have already realized that if they continue offering

could move it closer to its goal of becoming a hub for

just voice and data services, they will face a future similar to

innovation, says Salvador Blasco, Vice President of Business

that experienced by fixed-line telephone companies.” For

Development and Director General for Qualcomm Mexico.

Blasco, Mexican carriers have an invaluable opportunity to become the fabric that provides the connectivity required

“Innovation is not only the invention of new products. You

for the digitalization of a number of industries.

can improve an object or a process and that is innovation as well. Not having access to technology is no longer a valid

Government also has a role to play by crafting and

argument for lack of innovation,” Blasco says.

implementing appropriate public policies, for innovation and for the adaptation of new technologies. “The technology has

Blasco is convinced that Mexico is breaking through the

already been developed and it is both accessible and cost-

cultural barrier of inaction that has stunted creativity. It just

effective. It is a matter of political will rather than an economic

needs to take the next step. “We need to create momentum

issue.” Blasco cites two requirements. “For carriers to invest

to allow the emergence of people who are not afraid of

in technology such as 4G, the government must work on two

creating new products to solve existing problems,” he says.

things: free up radio spectrum for the signal to travel and implement a tax scheme that excludes connectivity.”

Knowledge transfer will play a key role in moving the country to this next level, Blasco says. Today’s innovators do not

Qualcomm itself thrives on innovation. The company is

have to start from scratch; there is a wealth of experience in

investing in designing of the future through the 5G network.

Mexico that the younger generation can tap, no matter their

Before this happens, Blasco says that 4G still has a long way

background. “Young people can stand on the shoulders of

to go but its full development requires the participation

those who came before them and create something.” Blasco

of both carriers and public policymakers. “Knowledge and

believes that opening the technology door to people with

intellectual property are what generate value in the fourth

different profiles will have a lasting and transformational

industrial revolution,” says Blasco. “We need to incentivize

impact because “diversity provides you with different

this and not hold it back.”

perspectives and approaches to solve a problem.” A new generation of thinkers will ultimately underpin any In the telecoms sector, Mexican carriers can look to foreign

efforts in innovation and online learning will help develop

companies to garner insights on best practices that can

these new innovators. Qualcomm is helping to ensure they

be implemented at home. IoT is one area where Mexican

have access to materials in their language, overcoming

companies can get ahead of a nascent technology by

one key online hurdle for Spanish speakers: much of

emulating their international counterparts. “Carriers in

the content is in English. “There are not enough online

other parts of the world are doing their part to develop IoT

courses in Spanish for people to self-motivate and begin

products. These companies are investing in their own R&D

building something.” Qualcomm is making the content of

departments or are working alongside entrepreneurs to

its Qualcomm Developer Network available in Spanish and

develop new products. They might not have the know-how

Portuguese, allowing potential innovators to find tools and

but they are working on developing it or helping someone

resources to integrate their technologies into apps and

else to do it.”

devices related to IoT, among others.



Q: What opportunities does Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer

from companies that can create an environment where it is

to change the way businesses are conducted?

ok to fail or to experiment and fail. That is one of the things

A: AI is going to allow for intelligent automation. If you look

that Silicon Valley does so well and it is one of the things that

at Google’s DeepMind project and how they have leveraged

Mexico needs to learn. Mexico needs to bring more of that

it to manage their overall infrastructure and data servers, they

culture by bringing more Silicon Valley companies.

were able to bring down around 20 percent of their electricity costs just by deploying DeepMind against those problems.

To be competitive in a tech-enabled world, mathematics, even more than programing, is incredibly important. As

Wizeline helps companies to leverage data, often their own.

a company, we focus heavily on making sure that other

Our platform is integrated into our customer’s success

technology companies understand that Mexico is a

management system and other data sources like surveys.

great place to set up development centers. We believe

Our algorithms then help us identify the features and

that by having more companies in Mexico we can have

products that are most likely to be successful. We have

a tighter integration between academic instruction and

a manufacturing customer who today may have several

tech innovation. The big schools that produce a good

dozen company employees sitting outside its HR office.

percentage of the employees in Silicon Valley have not

Those employees are asking very basic questions: how

only their students working in tech companies but also the

much vacation time they have left, how much money do

professors. It is difficult to see where academia ends and

they have in their retirement account. All that information

where the private sector begins.

is readily accessible and would be easily accessible via a chatbot. A chatbot can also access an employee’s file. You

Mexico has some of the greatest potential in the world in terms

can imagine if a company placed tablets all around their

of people and we need to create an environment that allows

manufacturing plant, employees could just tap one and ask

them to really achieve that potential. Part of that is going to

those questions. That is one of the interesting things about

be not just the educational system but companies investing in

AI, it is creating a very human-like interface between data

that talent to make sure they achieve their potential.

and customers. Q: Mexico’s image is that of a maquila country. How does Q: How can companies achieve brand continuity through

it transform itself from a manufacturing economy to an

the use of chatbots?

intelligence-driven economy?

A: Bots need to be trained. A bot by itself it is just an

A: Every country needs to go through that phase. We

application within a decision tree. In order for it to have a

have seen this with many of the innovation centers around

personality and to learn about the customer, you need to train

the world that started off as maquilas and then built up

it. The longer the bot is available and has access to customers

talent. The key is that you need to invest in companies

and data, the more personalized it is going to become. One of

that are going to be building real products. The fact that

the things Wizeline focuses on when working with customers

Wizeline builds products for global audiences gives our

is the look and feel of the brand; what brand personality do

employees visibility into global problems and how to

they want the end customer to experience.

solve those issues.

Q: Human capital is a main component of the digital revolution. Are universities generating the needed talent

Wizelineis a technology company that specializes in the creation

to further this change in Mexico?

of technology products that help companies leverage data and

A: The types of opportunities that will maximize the output

get better products to market faster using a Software as a Service

and innovation from the talent that we have in Mexico are

platform and a Global Services’ organization



THE FUTURE NOW: ANALYTICS AND BUSINESS VALUE HÉCTOR COBO Regional Vice President Mexico, Central America and Caribbean of SAS


Will a client cancel its telephone line? When will a home

Regardless of the economic situation — crisis or bonanza —

furnishings customer need a new bedroom set? Is a

Cobo says the company has continued to grow. “What has

banking client likely to default? No one can predict the

boosted SAS’ growth is the value its services bring to the

future but software firm SAS believes data analytics can

table. When a company is growing, the natural question is,

help businesses arrive at a reliable forecast.

how do you continue growing? When a company is in crisis, the question is, what situation led to the crisis and what can

“Companies have seen the value of analytics. It is a tool

be done to keep competing? In both situations, companies

that helps you to prevent what is going to happen and

need to use their information better.”

consequently enforce actions to optimize and thus modify client behavior,” says Héctor Cobo, Regional Vice President

The use of information and SAS software is not restricted

Mexico, Central America and Caribbean for SAS.

to the financial sector. Insurance companies, retailers, telecom companies, hotels, manufacturing companies

Armed with the power of Big Data, SAS has been helping

and governments are among the players using analytics.

companies and business leaders make decisions for 41 years.

Though it is true that nowadays almost every industry

Although SAS' products and services can be used in every

generates a great quantity of data that is appropriate for

industry that generates data, the financial sector has become

analysis, Cobo says that manufacturing is one area in which

one of its main niches. “Almost every bank in the country uses

Mexico SAS is not as present as it should be, although that

SAS. We help them determine the amount of credit they can

should start changing. He cites a theory from psychology

give to a customer, the possibility that this customer will pay

called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs wherein people strive

or default and which financial product may be most attractive

to achieve increasingly higher needs, often portrayed as

for each person depending on their life cycle,” Cobo says.

a pyramid: “Just now, the manufacturing sector in Mexico is arriving at Maslow’s digital pyramid. They now have the

Analytics is the powerful engine that permits SAS to map

time to sit down and analyze what needs to be done with

out preferences. Using math, statistics, predictive models and

all the information they usually gather.”

machine-learning techniques, SAS’ tool allows companies to find patterns and extract knowledge from recorded data.

The entrance of new companies to the digital world

According to Marketing Intelligence Firm IDC, in 2013, 22

and the use of big data represents a significant growth

percent of generated data could be analyzed but less than

opportunity. IDC says that in 2013, almost 60 percent

5 percent was actually analyzed. By 2020, data available

of the digital universe was generated in established

for analysis could grow to more than 35 percent thanks to

countries such as the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and

the increase in data coming from embedded systems. IDC

Japan. However, it estimates that by 2020 this trend

also estimates that by 2020 the percentage of information

will shift and 60 percent of the digital universe will be

that is valuable and susceptible to analysis could double,

generated by emerging markets. This forecast is in line

reaching almost 10 percent thanks to analytics technologies.

with SAS’ growth expectations. “Latin America is the

Although the number of companies that offer analytical tools

region that experienced the most growth in the past

has increased in the last few years, Cobo says that most only

year. The US and Europe have more mature markets but

use data subsegments instead of using the entire bulk of

Mexico still offers a lot room for growth,” says Cobo.

information. “The problem of generating models working

He adds that the true challenge is not finding new

only with information subsegments is that you miss the big

industries or adapting products but getting companies

picture and thus all the possibilities. That is why we always

to see the true value of SAS’ services. “We are helping

work with the entire set of data. This way, we make sure that

businesses become more efficient with creative growth

we generate the best possible model for them.”

and competitive strategies.”



Q: What is weex’s vision and how is the company helping

number of days or depending on how much money they

to transform the telecommunications landscape in Mexico?

have available. The basic concept is that we adapt to the

A: weex was created to empower young people. We

users’ needs instead of having the users adapting to us.

noticed that one of the most common problems young

We try to adapt our offering to the budget and to the

people face was their severely limited access to mobile

requirements of our users, something a carrier has a lot of

data. This limitation led us to the conclusion that it was a

problems doing because they attend a universe of millions.

good moment to break into the industry. We decided to

In the end, this is what virtual operators do: try to attend a

pursue the opportunity to go after a neglected segment,

segment in a way that operators cannot.

using a differentiated value proposition driven by our desire to empower young people with access to information, to

Q: How will virtual operators change the telecoms

help ensure their economic, personal and professional

ecosystem in Mexico?

development. It became truly important to offer a

A: We are at the initial stage of an industry development

differentiated product for this segment. From day one, we

that will change the current ecosystem. Virtual operators

have worked alongside young people in the design of the

are here to offer more options to users, which indirectly

company. While we were negotiating the contract with the

generates competition. Even though we cannot compete

carrier and obtaining all the needed permits, we designed

directly with big carriers, the fact that the final user can

some applications that allowed us to simulate our offering

have six or seven options that provide an added value or

for about eight or nine months, iterating what was working

differentiated services enriches the market.

and what was not. Q: Three years after virtual operators entered in the Q: What added value does weex offer compared to both

country, how does the segment’s development compare

traditional and virtual network operators?

to other parts of the world?

A: Our main differentiator is that our users only pay for

A: Comparisons are complicated because each country

what they really use, rather than paying a monthly plan full

has its own dynamic, nature and regulations. A mostly

of services that they do not need. Our goal is to provide

pre-paid market acts differently to a mostly post-

users with certainty regarding how their data is being used.

paid market. Many successful cases of virtual operator

A common frustration for users is that they deposit MX$20

assimilation happen in post-paid markets. A lot of

or MX$50 and two days later they find that they no longer

European countries enter this segment; for instance,

have any balance in their account and they do not know

Germany or the Netherlands, where virtual operators

how that money was spent since they have not used the

have almost a 40 percent market share. For us, it has

data or made any phone calls.

not been a surprise that the development of the sector is going so slowly. We are aware that it will take longer

We operate following three pillars: control, transparency

to reach a 10 or 15 percent market share. We need to

and flexibility. We provide clients with control through a

educate users and the market regarding what virtual

concept we call packs, where users can buy time for their

operators can offer. It is a matter of developing trust

favorite apps regardless of megabytes. For instance, a

and credibility but it will take time.

user can buy two unlimited hours of Waze for only MX$2, providing certainty regarding how the overall balance is going to be affected. The concept has been well-received

weex is a Mexican startup that works under the Mobile Virtual

among our niche. One element that is attractive for our

Network Operator scheme. It provides mobile phones and

users is the fact that they can create their own package

internet services with an offering based on micro packages or

according to the number of megabytes they require for a

customized packages for a younger demographic




Juan Carlos Lovo CFO of Grupo Tecno

Q: What role do companies like Grupo Tecno play as

requires consultancy services, a definition of what is going

technology integrators?

to be moved, how to control all the information in the

JL: Technology integrators play an important role in the

cloud and what kind of controls will be set.

implementation of this new digital world. Integrators need to understand technology itself, technology providers,

Q: What are the challenges associated with changing the

technology trends and other relevant players such as

company’s business model?

carriers. Today, when you think about technology, you have

JL: It is an important challenge since it entails changing

to consider how this is going to fit into the technology

the DNA of the company. When you have a business based

architecture, which includes cloud solutions, information

on selling physical products for so many years, the need

storage, servers, hybrid solutions and so on. We provide

for change is sometimes hard to understand. Also, when

high-availability solutions.

considering how to scale up financially, you need to take a different approach. We will work toward having a hybrid

Q: When it comes to digitalization, how do entrepreneurial

business model.

entities view your services? AP: In general, it is not yet clear how companies will

Q: What business opportunities does Grupo Tecno detect

embrace the transformation that the digital revolution

in the implementation of Smart Cities in the country?

will bring. There is not a single cloud solution that solves

JL: When you talk about Smart Cities, you talk about a

every need a company may have. At first, the cloud

significant number of devices that act as sensors. We

service was not that popular because people could not

have already worked on similar projects. In 2012, we

fully understand the concept. Although its acceptance has

participated in the design of two prisons in the country

increased, I do not believe it will become the only solution

where we implemented a large number of devices

for companies. Big corporations will not move all their data

and sensors that act similarly to a how Smart City

to the cloud. They will favor a hybrid model. The cloud

would function. In the end, it is a matter of technology

offers high yields for suppliers. It is beneficial for service


suppliers and for clients. AP: Unfortunately, in Mexico, Smart Cities have a strong When it comes to asking what is the real value we can

opponent called corruption. Today, generating a safe and

provide in the cloud, as a company we can identify three

smart city is technologically possible. For instance, Mexico

services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a

City boasts about having 13,000 security cameras. These

Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). With these

cameras are monitored through the Control, Computing

three options, clients can have the total of their operations

and Communication Centers (C4). However, the security

anywhere in the world but they must be able to obtain

system works only when a crime has been committed. In a

reports and gather information according to their own

safe and smart city, these cameras would help you prevent

standards. Customers also need to be certain that their

crimes. We believe that the concept of a smart and safe

information is safe from external attacks. To provide all these

city will take shape in the future. However, for it to happen

guarantees, we have a Network Operation Center (NOC) to

we need the authorities to provide juridical certainty.

monitor our clients and we are on our way to implementing our own Security Operations Center (SOC). Grupo Tecnois a Mexican technology company with more than

JL: Although our offering has been well-received by the

33 years of experience. It is the biggest hardware distributor

Mexican business community, SMEs will favor the cloud

for Oracle Mexico as well as other leading international IT

due to costs. Still, moving to the cloud is a process that

products manufacturers





Q: Dell was founded 32 years ago in the US. How has it

universities are offering in the digital transformation age.

evolved since it came to Mexico?

This must have two essential components: technology and

A: We began in Mexico in 1992 and saw a great client

quality labor. Mexico has both.

response, especially from multinationals. The company initially sold PCs and laptops but in 1996 we began selling

Q: How is Dell México facing the huge increase in sales of

servers. From 2000, the technology boom benefited Dell’s

mobile devices like smartphones and tablets? Where is

strategy. Sales started to double, the customer base grew and

the industry headed?

our team increased. Over the years, we acquired software

A: We are active participants. These types of devices are

and services companies and expanded our portfolio. In

proliferating and it is expected there will be 50 billion

the first decade of the millennium, Dell shifted from being

phones, tablets and laptops connected to the internet in

a supplier of PCs, laptops and servers and began offering

2020. This is going to require an increase in processing

end-to-end solutions for various industries: government, big

systems and Dell is going to manage this enormous amount

corporations and medium-sized companies. In this second

of data. We are also working on security gaps, as there

decade we consolidated our strategy and began growing

are a million cybercrimes committed daily on a variety of

through networks of distributors and wholesalers that

devices. In addition, half of the companies on the Fortune

allowed us to increase our levels of coverage.

500 list from 2000 have disappeared, which gives an idea of the huge revolution we are experiencing.

The last part of our story is our recent merger with EMC, which has bolstered our portfolio and allowed us to help

Q: To what extent do you think there is a technological

companies manage the so-called digital transformation.


We are observing new business models like Netflix, Uber

A: Experts like Steve Wozniack are talking about the fifth

and Airbnb. There is an effect called 10x wherein every five

industrial revolution, which is linked to so-called artificial

years technology multiplies its performance by 10, which

intelligence. The clearest examples are self-driving

can be applied to bandwidth for example. At Dell, we help

cars, but this is only the beginning. The cloud also has

companies in two ways: to modernize infrastructure for

characteristics of artificial intelligence, such as storage that

those already established and to prepare for the cloud for

can automatically expand without any human intervention.

newly founded ones.

Dell is very involved in the five tendencies that are the cloud, big data, security, artificial intelligence and device

Q: Where is Mexico in the digital transformation of its


companies? A: I am convinced that Mexico will be a key player in digital

Q: What are Dell’s plans for Mexico?

transformation. An example is the iLab development

A: We are excited about our merger with EMC and about

laboratory based in Veracruz that aims to develop and

our participation in the technological renovation and

incubate innovative projects led by young entrepreneurs.

modernization of our client’s infrastructure. We are also

Mexico is in a strategic position due to its proximity to

looking at big corporations and medium-sized companies,

one of the largest global markets and the huge support

and continuing to support the government and consumers. Our aspiration is to continue growing at double digits and to remain market leaders thanks to our portfolio of end-to-

Dell is a computer technology company based in Texas. It

end solutions. In addition, we recently opened our bank, Dell

manufactures and sells personal computers, data storage

Financial Services, and we are increasingly incorporating new

devices, cameras, printers and network switches, among other

processes so that technology is more accessible to people.

devices. It was established in Mexico in 1992

This is the Dell we see for Mexico.


DIGITALIZING THE MEXICAN BANKING SYSTEM DANILO OCHOA Regional Head of Digital Sales Banking and Payment of Gemalto

Transitioning from physical banking to a digital-led system

represents a challenge on its own: “You have a very young

encompassed a series of challenges that few banks in Mexico

sector that is not interested in going to a bank and waiting

were willing to take on. New demands regarding users’

in line,” says Ochoa.


experience and the banks’ growth requirements, among others, have paved the way for the expansion of e-commerce

Catering e-banking services to the millennial generation

and e-banking services, says Danilo Ochoa, Regional Head of

is a major challenge but Ochoa believes there are other

Digital Sales Banking and Payment of Gemalto. “2016 was a

factors that need to be considered. “The difficulty we are

year of radical changes. We saw several banks migrating to

encountering is more related to internet access.” The process

digital platforms, focusing on user experience and venturing

of becoming part of a digital world is not exempt of risks. Even

into mobile payment transactions,” he says.

though several companies, such as Gemalto, work in providing security solutions for e-banking and e-commerce services,

Another growth opportunity comes from the inclusion in

Ochoa says that in Mexico, internet users are reluctant to

the banking system of new clients, for which the millennial

dabble in these services due to security concerns. This is

generation offers an attractive pool of potential clients.

a matter of prevention instead of reaction. “The industry is

Nevertheless, wooing this generation to the banking system

working alongside security companies to improve this.”


SAFEGUARDING THE INTERNET EXPERIENCE ALEJANDRO RAPOSO Vice President of Symantec Latin America and Caribbean

Q: Hackers are becoming more sophisticated. How does

The cloud is here to stay but we need to apply the same

Symantec approach this landscape?

security we have inside.

A: The top client expectation is to have the best product. However, there is no protection for everything. Around 1.5

Q: What are Symantec’s expectations in this growing and

million new malware are created every day, the best product

constantly changing market?

is that which offers a rapid response. We use the intelligence

A: The expectation is to protect with intelligence, since the

of millions of logs around the world to create algorithms and

daily number of malware will probably grow to 2-2.5 million.

identify threats. If someone is attacked by a malware today,

Regardless of the industry, every company has a responsibility

someone in Mexico or Brazil will be aware of this new virus.

to protect the information of its customers and employees.

Q: What security challenges do platforms like the cloud present?

Symantec is a US company and the global leader in

A: Not so long ago, this was frowned upon because there

cybersecurity. With over 11,000 employees in more than

is a common belief that we can protect everything we

35 countries, it provides security solutions for individuals,

have inside but not what is outside. This view is shifting.

companies and governments




Technology has the power to disrupt in the most unexpected

too expensive and relatively inefficient. We believe that the

ways. Two decades after the world was transformed by the

bounties of the Ka spectrum will permit us to compete in this

emergence of the internet, Mexico is getting ready to enjoy

particular segment.”

the changes that national, widespread access will create. What once seemed far-fetched – connecting to the internet from

While the company has high expectations for the Ka

the innermost locations of the country – is now a realistic goal,

band and its impact on market share, its successful

thanks to the magic of satellites and technology.

market penetration until now is in part thanks to the

The satellite market will offer the country new opportunities. Satellites know no barriers and can break any frontier”

telecommunications projects fostered by the current federal administration. “Five years ago, we started focusing on providing services to corporate and governmental institutions,” says Athié. “Our participation in the Bicentennial Project allowed us to provide internet connection to 5,062 remote locations in the country.” A key advantage is also network security. “When it comes to telecom services, clients must invest heavily on security equipment and to encrypt their information to protect

Alejandro Athié, Business Development Director of

themselves from hackers. However, when it comes to satellite

StarGo, believes the key to growth lies in the heavens.

services, clients do not have to make any other investment

His company is among those going forward with the

on security equipment,” says Athié. “The data combination

implementation of telecommunications via satellite.

needed to access the satellite is of great magnitude and

“Five years ago, we had between 1,200 and 1,500

provides every customer with an encryption process that

clients connected. Today, we have around 9,000 clients

makes additional security measures unnecessary.”

connected via satellite,” he says. Mexico’s telecoms industry has grown by leaps and bounds The hunt for experience and market share to complement

and the country is overcoming its past constraints in terms

its technology led StarGo to Pegaso Banda Ancha, a former

of technology. “The real challenges are convincing clients

division of Grupo Pegaso, in 2016. “We had the experience

to try our services, convincing them that we offer solid

and the commercial reach and StarGo had the technology,

technology and reaching their target price,” says Athié.

so they bought us and now we are part of the StarGroup,”

StarGo is confident that its new satellite technology will

says Athié. “I think it is an interesting combination. StarGo

allow the company to increase its market share in the next

has also acquired Ka band frequency, which will allow us

two years. “We believe our market share in the satellite

to provide satellite internet with wider broadband and in a

internet market ranges between 25 and 28 percent. But

more economical manner.”

the merger of StarGo and Pegaso Banda Ancha gives us the possibility to more than double our number of users,”

Satellite services are by far more expensive than those provided

says Athié.

by traditional carriers but Athié says the implementation of the Ka spectrum prices (a frequency that allows for higher

Although much has been accomplished already, there is still

bandwidth communication at reduced costs) will allow StarGo

room for more. “We need to start setting the rules instead

to compete to an extent with land carriers. “Our service is still

of just following them,” says Athié. “The satellite market

more expensive than land services. However, there are higher-

will offer the country new opportunities. Satellites know

end packages wherein traditional carriers have become way

no barriers and can break any frontier.”


ENABLING HIGH-SPEED SOLUTIONS Karsten Florin Head of International Sales of Dätwyler Cabling Solutions

Janitzio Badillo Director General of Marathon Group

Q: What role does Mexico play in Dätwyler Cabling

you cannot work with such a slow internet connection. Data

Solutions’ global operations?

volume is constantly increasing and demands Structure

KF: In the cable manufacturing industry, we have focused

Cabling Systems (SCS) that are sufficient and reliable. In

on becoming a niche player. Our main markets are

SCS, we have seen the development from 1 Gigabit Ethernet

Germany, Austria and Switzerland but our solutions can

to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

be used worldwide. A very small portion of our production is exported to Mexico and Latin America. Mexico’s stable

Q: How do you ensure that your product offering addresses

economy, infrastructure development and payment

the needs of Mexican industries?

performance makes it an attractive market in which to

JB: Nationalism sometimes plays a role when determining

strengthen our presence. Every segment requires our

what kind of cabling needs to be used or what specifications

products: office buildings, shopping malls, hospitals and

must be followed. European companies use European

airports. Any infrastructure needs structured cabling.

products and follow European standards. However, most companies in Mexico follow American standards. This

Q: What is Marathon Group’s distribution strategy for

difference allows Dätwyler to attract business opportunities

products such as Dätwyler’s offering for the Mexican

in both markets.

market? JB: Dätwyler’s products are imported and commercialized

Q: What advantages can Dätwyler Cabling Solutions offer

through Marathon Group, a specialized company that has

its clients over its competitors?

been in the Mexican market for 27 years. When we acquire

KF: We are a quality brand that constantly strives to be best

a new brand, we try to specialize in the niche that brand

in class, which is vitally important for big customers like

is targeting. For instance, Dätwyler is specialized in ICT

car manufacturers. On big projects with car manufacturers,

networks, so when we started working with the company

one advantage is the good contact we have with customer

five years ago we had to broaden our scope to include that

headquarters in Germany and Europe. Another advantage

niche. Some German companies in Mexico already have

of big projects is that they usually ask for the same quality

agreements with Dätwyler through its headquarters, so we

as international sites, which is where we excel.

use this relationship and provide them with the material needed for their operations.

JB: Logistics plays a crucial role in our operations. We have a logistics and a foreign-trade team. It is their responsibility

Q: How does Dätwyler Cabling Solutions approach product

to obtain the best costs and the best shipping options to


ensure that our products get to their destination on time.

KF: We have a long history of manufacturing high-quality

Since Dätwyler’s products are manufactured in Europe,

cabling solutions. Our priority is structured cabling in

shipping and delivery times are a constant consideration. To

general. This consists of the cable, the connector, the patch

ensure delivery within the country, we maintain significant

cord, the patch panel and every item you need for structure

amounts of product in stock and we have a transportation

cabling. For product development, we have to consider

fleet. We also work with other companies in cases where

market needs and what our competitors are doing.

additional transportation services are required.

Q: How have the market’s needs evolved in the cabling industry throughout the years?

Dätwyler Cabling Solutions is an international supplier of

KF: The current market requires increasingly faster data-

products, for electrical and ITC for buildings. Marathon Group

transmission speeds. If you look back five or 10 years, 1 Mbit

is a Mexican company and a leader in the distribution of cabling

per second or 6 Mbit per second was adequate but today

solutions and electrical components





Q: Who are your main clients and industries?

A: Juniper is unique in the industry: it has only one operating

A: Our main customer base is in the service operators

system, Junos OS, for its entire equipment portfolio. Junos

market, which accounts for almost 70 percent of our total

has three main advantages. First, users only need to learn

revenue; the remaining 30 percent is in the enterprise and

and train in one single language to manage and configure

government segments. Other key clients are Internet 2.0

all the elements in their network. Second, we release our


OS upgrades every quarter. Finally, over these platforms we can develop apps from third parties, meaning that if a user

Q: What benefits do customers derive from Juniper’s

requires additional functionalities that Juniper has not yet

products like Junos OS and Junosphere Cloud?

developed, we provide Software Development Kits. This provides the end user with a great deal of flexibility. For a data center, instead of having multiple people managing

Juniper Networks is a multinational technology company

the network, a reduced team can develop its own tools

based in California. It focuses on the development of platforms

and do not need to perform processes that are not useful.

for IT networks and security systems for service operations,

Junosphere Cloud is a virtual enrviorment where users can

companies and governments

run networks that use the Junos OS.



Q: How is Mexico positioned in technology compared to

means that all components and data to be analyzed are

other Latin American countries?

managed by software. In fact, there are companies that

A: Today, the industry has the challenge of competing

used to be in charge of banking services and today they

with companies founded on the basis of a disruptive

have become more technical in their software division.

business model, which is causing a transformation in the Mexican industry. Most of the automobile industry has more

Q: What will help the company strengthen its growth here?

investment in software development than in the mechanical

A: We have four pillars that we apply to digital transformation.

part. Tesla is working on a self-driving car, something that

Companies have realized that if they do not integrate this

has more to do with software than with hardware. This

operations model to the business development plan, they will lose users. Second, operative efficiency has to do with creativity regarding how to integrate the development and

CA Technologiescreates independent system software for

operations areas of a new business. The third pillar is the

companies worldwide. It focuses on helping clients deliver high-

generation of new business models and the fourth pillar is

quality applications and services to their customers. It provides

related to the user experience. We can help our customers

support in planning, development, management and security

create brand loyalty among their users.



Q: What are your main goals for your first year as CEO

A: Most of the services today are based around

of everis?

te c h n o l o g i c a l n e e d s : d eve l o p i n g I T s o l u t i o n s ,

A: We have 14 accounts in Mexico, most of which belong to

implementing enterprise solutions and the maintenance

the banking and telecommunications sectors, representing

of those solutions for our clients. That represents about 65

about 50 percent of our operations. We want to open new

percent of our activities. But our fastest-growing services

accounts in three target segments: the finance services

are around business consulting and digital transformation.

industry, consumer products and manufacturing. The Mexican finance industry is at the forefront of innovation,

Q: How responsive are Mexican companies to digital

investing heavily in technology. In the manufacturing


industry, our presence is too small and Mexico has high

A: Mexico is moving forward with digitalization but there

potential in this sector. Around 40 percent of IT investment

are countries in Latin America that are more advanced,

in Mexico goes into this industry. Only a small percentage

like Chile and Colombia. In Mexico, the reaction to digital

of our revenue is in this sector but we have a big presence

transformation is that everybody wants to do it but

in other countries.

sometimes they get lost in understanding what it really means. The world is changing and millennials are all the

Q: How important is Mexico for everis’ global business?

same across the world, so they have certain expectations

A: It is important for our Latin American operations. everis

of products and services to which companies need to

is a company that will probably close the year with US$1

adapt. Banks in Mexico have already embraced digital

billion in revenues, 30 percent of which comes from Latin

transformation, specifically when it comes to customer

America and the other 70 percent from Europe. We have


presence in Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Chile and we see Mexico as the key Hispanic hub in Latin America. We

Q: How do you promote Mexican innovation through

also have a local digital lab in which we are working on

programs like Premio Everis?

innovations such as artificial intelligence and chat bots. We

A: In 2016, we launched the first Premio Everis competition

will build other competence centers focused on customer

organized by the everis Foundation in Mexico. It is a prize of

experience with state-of-the-art technology through which

MX$1 million for projects that integrate innovation and social

Mexico will become a knowledge hub for Latin America.

impact. We had three different categories through which

Lastly, Mexico is the most profitable operation in Latin

participants could apply: new business models in digital

America and one of our objectives is to maintain that.

economy, biotechnology and health and new technologies in the energy and industrial space. There were 447 project

Q: What is your strategy to maintain that profitability?

submissions in Mexico. There are 2,000 startups created

A: We have an organization built around three dimensions.

every year in the country and only 25 percent survive the

First are sectors, where we have deep industry knowledge

first two years. The purpose of this prize, besides providing

about every industry or client. The second dimension is

economic support, is to guide entrepreneurs on how to

focused on the services we offer to our clients. The third

go to market and on how to create a business through

dimension is the country: each CEO of everis Mexico

professional advisory delivered by everis.

is focused on bringing the knowledge of everis to the clients we work with in Mexico and to maintaining the company’s profitability.

everisis a multinational consulting firm present in 16 countries. It offers solutions in business operations, strategy and digital

Q: What are the main services you provide to your clients

transformation for infrastructure, banking, telecom, retail,

in Mexico?

health, technology, logistics and transportation companies





Q: What opportunities did you observe in the Mexican

For this reason, we dared to innovate; we wanted to take

market that led you to create Broxel?

advantage of this revolution. Moreover, we wanted to address

A: The transactional revolution we are experiencing goes

the needs that users and the market would develop by

well beyond payment systems, as it involves a revolution

providing them with solutions to make any type of payment.

in connectivity that exists between humans. We have gone

Our goal has always been to innovate and to put into the

from having a barely connected world to a hyperconnected

hands of the final user all the necessary platforms. Our core

one, which is perfectly informed. This change represents

is transactional innovation.

an opportunity because it removes barriers and allows new companies to enter the market. The foundation of this change

During the last six years, Broxel has developed a series of

is technology.

platforms that allow us to add value to different segments: our B2B offer and our nascent offer to the B2C market. For our B2B clientele, we have developed internal platforms that

Broxel Fintech is a Mexican payments solutions company

allow us to offer tailored solutions to institutional users, which

founded in 2011. Its offering includes providing payment

translates into a value offer for their final users. Now that we

solutions such as digital infrastructure or credit cards for

have covered the B2B market, we are now venturing into the

institutional players

B2C market with an app that integrates payments.



Q: What is the extent of STP’s financial and technological

single piece of their SPEI, which is the heart of the bank, is


complicated. However, they have reached out to us because

A: STP is a fintech company related to electronic payments.

they need our speed and technology.

The company was founded in 2008 and is connected to Banxico’s System of Interbank Electronic Payments (SPEI).

Q: Which governmental agency oversees companies

This means that our software connects our clients in real time

such as STP?

with all banks. We link the bank system with our software

A: There is a regulation issued by Banxico that covers all

so we can update accounts payable or receivable without

SPEI participants. This was initially only for banks, although

human intervention. The proposal is advantageous because

later it was expanded to include other authorized entities.

it eliminates manual processes and the accompanying risks. It

What Banxico wants is to end cash operations. That is why

also saves time and labor, which translates to efficiency. The

Banxico sees us with good eyes because we contribute to

objective is to eliminate banks as payment intermediaries. If

strengthening the country’s banking system. This also means

customers want to make a payment, they only need to send

that we need to follow Banxico’s security protocol.

the instructions to STP and, always in real time, they will know if the payment was processed or not.

To prevent network failures, we have placed two servers in the US. A bank can go without transactions for a couple of hours

Q: Mexico has among the highest smartphone rates in Latin

but if STP goes two hours without SPEI, the business ends for

America but internet penetration is low. What is STP’s

us. That is why we want more security. As for customer privacy,

position in this environment?

this involves internal policies that do not include Banxico.

A: Startups and apps are an important part of our client

CNBV regulates everything related to money laundering and

portfolio. After developing a business idea, they are faced with

STP is obliged to maintain control of all transfers as well as

the dilemma of how to charge and transfer funds between

to review all our customers’ data. We comply with the Know

their clients and end users. We are not a final product. We

Your Customer (KYC) practice.

are a commodity for Mexican fintech companies because we solve interbank transfers 24/7. In our portfolio, we have

Q: In 2016, Mexico received over US$26 billion in remittances

fintech companies, card issuers and online credit companies,

from the US. What is STP’s role in that scenario?

crowdfunding, P2P lending and traditional companies.

A: We have a very interesting challenge ahead, since according to our data 95 percent of remittances are made cash-to-

Q: What is the relationship between traditional banking and

cash. Our business is based on the cash-to-account model:

a fintech company such as STP?

we deliver the remittances to a bank account, debit card or

A: STP offers solutions to different problems from those of

cell account. The cost of sending money remittances from

traditional banking. The business of a bank is to raise and lend

the US to Mexico is around US$4, while we charge US$0.25

capital, while ours is automation of payments and collection.

cents and we are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

However, some banks do not care about transactions because

What happens in this type of industry is that we push people

the money always ends up reaching their accounts. This is

to open bank accounts, thereby contributing to the country’s

why our growth potential is huge. It is true that we compete

banking system.

with banks but we offer personalized services for each of our clients’ needs. STP is the only company that offers this service in Mexico.

STP is a Mexican fintech company specialized in real time electronic payment that permits companies and users to pay

It is not in our plans to become a manager of a big bank’s

from mobile devices. Its services are widely used, including in

transfers. Banks are so large and complex that moving a

real estate and by startups




Mexico plays an important role in the global food supply; it is the leader in the export of avocados, chilies, berries and one of the main tomato producers in the world. Primary sector GDP has grown by 4.1 percent since 2015 and the food, beverages and tobacco industry contributed 4.3 percent to the country’s GDP. Mexico ranks as the most competitive place for food processing, has a large network of free trade agreements and a strategic location for distribution.

In addition, land use, the modernization of production systems and the improvement of infrastructure should be a priority for entrepreneurs and politicians. This would allow a better distribution of the products in a country located next to the US, the largest consumer in the world, and along with Latin America, one of the largest agricultural areas.

Throughout this chapter, local and international agriculture, livestock processing and food and beverage processing companies share the challenges and opportunities they have identified in Mexico. The leaders of one Mexico’s most productive sectors will also evaluate the main hurdles the industry currently faces.



ANALYSIS: Untapped Potential In Mexico’s Food Industry


INFOGRAPHIC: Opportune Time to Exploit Primary Sector


INSIGHT: Jesús Vizcarra, SuKarne


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Carlos Anaya, GCMA


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Alejandro Monteagudo, AgroBIO MÉXICO


INSIGHT: Javier Valdés, Syngenta Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Sergio Acosta, Agroenzymas


INSIGHT: Íñigo Pérez-Rasilla, SOFAGRO


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mark McCoy, Banco Finterra


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Erik Seiersen, Diageo Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Antonio Matienzo, Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Heineken


INSIGHT: Francisco Soltero, Patrón Spirits Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gilberto Maldonado, Grupo Peñafiel


INSIGHT: Janus Skøt, Arla Foods


INSIGHT: Tatiana Liceti, Tetra Pak Mexico


INSIGHT: Rodrigo Domenzain, Amar Hidroponia


INSIGHT: Enrique Portilla, Grupo Agros


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Liz Quintero, México Calidad Suprema




INSIGHT: Ulises Vergara, Conagra Brands Mexico


INSIGHT: Gerardo Díaz, Fábrica de Chocolates y Dulces Costanzo


VIEW FROM THE TOP: José Cuaik, Grupo Hunan


INSIGHT: Farique Cetina, National Soft



UNTAPPED POTENTIAL IN MEXICO’S FOOD INDUSTRY Mexico has become a key player in ensuring food availability for the 7.4 billion people inhabiting the planet. Globalization and free trade agreements have been key in bolstering the country’s food industry. Yet, despite its success, modernization and diversification are the two biggest hurdles the industry faces


Anyone who believes the primary sector is not business

in line with the global trend. World Bank data represent

material should visit Mexico. According to SAGARPA,

a decline in the contribution of agriculture to the global

in 2016, Mexico’s agricultural production increased 11

GDP from 5.2 percent in 2000 to 3.7 percent in 2015.

percent in 52 key crops compared to 2012, driven by

Reasons for the decline vary, but BBVA Research credits

growth of crucial export crops, such as apples, asparagus,

the lack of dynamism in the sector when compared to

blackberries, broccoli, avocados and green chilis. Between

manufacturing or services.

January and June 2017, Mexico registered total agricultural production of 113.7 million tons, a 1.8 percent variation

When distilling the sector down by food segment, it is a

from the same period during 2016. Rodrigo Domenzain,

somewhat different tale that suggests that opportunities that

President of Amar Hidroponia, says success in the industry

exist. According to INEGI, during 2017’s first six months, the

depends on the how a company goes about its business.

GDP for the food, beverages and tobacco industry totaled

“The primary sector is the base of the economy and offers

MX$1.28 billion, a 2.08 percent increase over the same period

significant business opportunities. It is about addressing

in 2016. In 2016 alone, the food, beverages and tobacco

the sector with the appropriate model.”

industry contributed 4.3 percent to the country’s GDP.

In addition to agriculture, the livestock segment is also

Mexico’s competitiveness in the food manufacturing

thriving, reaching 6.5 million tons in 2016, 202,000 tons

sector is a factor in attracting investment to the country.

above 2015’s figures. 2017 appears poised to surpass

The Ministry of Economy says that between 1999 and

the previous year’s milestone. During 2017’s first six

the first quarter of 2017, US$59.7 billion was directed

months, carcass meat production increased 2.8 percent

to the agri-food sector, meaning food production,

over the same period in 2016. National fish production

beverages and tobacco, with investments coming from

has also enjoyed positive results, with 1.5 million tons

the Netherlands, the US, Switzerland, Japan, Luxemburg

caught in 2016. Between January and June 2017, national

and Spain. According to KPMG’s 2016 Competitive

production registered growth totaling 23.2 percent, up

Alternatives, Mexico ranks as the most competitive

from 853.5 thousand tons in 2016 to 1.05 million tons in

country for food processing.

2017. The end result is that Mexico is now the 12th-largest food producer in the world.

As of 2014, ProMéxico estimates that a total of 185,013 agri-food economic units – companies, plants, sales and

Primary sector GDP has displayed a healthy rise, from MX$405.3 billion to MX$448.9 billion between 2012 and 2016, according to SAGARPA

commercial offices – were operating in the country, which has become an important base for international companies such as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. “Grupo Peñafiel has four plants in Mexico. We are Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s second-largest affiliate after the US,” says Gilberto Maldonado, Director General of Grupo Peñafiel.

US INFLUENCE The country’s attractiveness in the food industry is

While the GDP of the primary sector has displayed a

boosted not only by its proximity to the US, but also

healthy rise, from MX$405.3 billion to MX$448.9 billion

because of its broad network of free trade agreements,

between 2012 and 2016, according to SAGARPA data,

commodities that are available all year-round, a qualified

and registered a 4.1 percent increase just in 2016 from

labor force and technology. Ulises Vergara, Vice President

the year before, the sector has suffered a reduced role

and General Manager of Conagra Brands in Mexico,

in overall national GDP. INEGI figures show the primary

says that the company’s Mexico production site ranks

sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP fell from 3.6

among the top of its 27 facilities around the world. “Due

percent in 1993 to 3.1 percent in 2016. Still, the decline is

to the sustainability and efficiency programs we have

implemented, our Mexican production facility ranks among the company’s best plants,” he says. Competitiveness reflects on exports numbers. In 2016 alone, agricultural and agri-industrial exports reached US$28.9 billion. Between January and August 2017, exports registered

ProMéxico estimates that 185,013 agri-food economic units were operating in the country in 2014

US$2.6 billion more than in the same period in 2016. consumption trends could contribute heavily to the Mexico’s closeness with the US, as well as logistics, make

industry. However, tradition and entrenchment, have

its northern neighbor the main recipient of exports.

made agriculture one of the sectors most resistant to

Data from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US

change and modernization.

Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that in 2016, Mexican exports to the US totaled US$22.9 billion.


SAGARPA says that the EU buys Mexican agri-food

Yet, it is not an impossible task. Íñigo Pérez-Rasilla, Director

products totaling US$831 million.

General of Sofagro, believes it is a matter of providing the right incentives for change. “Farmers need to have incentives

While NAFTA renegotiations have flustered the markets,

to change, otherwise they will continue doing things in the

the Mexican agribusiness industry remains confident

same way their grandparents did.” It is precisely within the

regarding the future of the agri-food relationship between

modernization conundrum where export opportunities can

Mexico and the US. Amar Hidroponia’s Domenzain says

be found. “It is more plausible for farmers to transform their

severing the existent interdependence through taxes

production methods if their buyers and large exporters

makes no sense. “Almost 75 percent of the vegetables

demand they modernize production to comply with

consumed in the US come from Mexico. If the US wanted

international standards,” says Pérez-Rasilla.

to substitute all Mexican imports it would have to spend billions of dollars on high-tech greenhouses.”

Technology has also paved the way for new production methods that go beyond automation of agricultural


processes. The use of technology to ensure sustainability

One positive outcome of the NAFTA squabble is that it

and crop protection is increasingly becoming more

has spurred Mexico to broaden its own horizons in an

common due to the economic benefits it entails.

attempt to reduce dependence with its northern neighbor

According to Javier Valdez, Director General of Syngenta

and at the same time, gain leverage in the renegotiations.

Mexico, the use of technology can help farmers increase

“If NAFTA disappears, I can export cars paying 2.5

their productivity. “An unprotected crop can lose up to

percent tariffs. If they want to export yellow corn to me,

40 percent of its productivity.” Nevertheless, the use of

I can raise tariffs to inaccessible levels. But to make that

technology also generates a series of dilemmas, such as

strategy credible, I have to broaden our agreements with

the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), an

Brazil and Argentina,” said Ildefonso Guajardo, Minister

industry that according to the International Service for

of Economy at Mexico Business Forum 2017.

the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) in 2016 reached a US$15.8 billion value. In Mexico, the use of

Widening the breadth of its markets involves more

GMOs is the subject of discussion and weariness. However,

than just signing commercial agreements, as Mexican

Valdez sees it as a means to boost agricultural potential.

production must comply with a series of certifications

“Biotechnology is just one more tool that producers can

that allow access to other countries. According to the

take advantage of. It is intended to simplify their life and

Presidential Office, Mexico is one of the five countries in

help them produce more per hectare.”

the world to have all sanitary approvals, granting Mexican products access to 160 countries. This is no doubt an

Other new production trends such as the growing of organic

advantage for diversification. “With the implementation

crops could represent a source of untapped potential for

of the new sanitary protocols, we are now exporting

the Mexican industry. According to SAGARPA, between

berries and avocados to China and we are close to

2012 and 2016 the area destined for the growth of organic

concluding the sanitary protocol for bananas,” says Liz

crops doubled, reaching 1 million hectares and generating

Quintero, Director General of México Calidad Suprema.

exports accounting for US$1.8 billion. SAGARPA’s next challenges are to position Mexico as the seventh-largest

Finding new markets, is only part of the equation in

producer of organic food in the world and to make these

Mexico’s quest to strengthen its agri-business industry.

products accessible, not only for international consumption

Production modernization and participation in new

but for domestic population as well.



OPPORTUNE TIME TO EXPLOIT PRIMARY SECTOR Geography, climate and terrain diversity have given Mexico

become the 10th by 2020. In recent years, the sector has

unparalleled opportunities to exploit its primary sector.

enjoyed increased competitiveness and 2015 marked the

Leaving the mining sector aside, the agriculture, fishing

first time in 20 years that the industrty registered a surplus

and livestock segments have become a source of revenue

in the country’s trade balance. New markets, modernization

for the country and have helped to position Mexico as the

and wider access to credit promise that Mexico will continue

12 -largest food producer in the world. It is expected to

with this positive trend.


MEXICO & US 112 Mexico is the 3rd largest buyer of food from the US

• 82% of avocados in the US comes from Mexico • 80% of dairy, eggs and honey from Texas goes to Mexico • 99% of corn exported from Kansas goes to Mexico • 20% of food the US imports comes from Mexico



% Value of production

Total production in tons

Potential markets


Argentina, Norway, Lithuania, Poland, Colombia






Baja California





Norway, Austria, France, Switzerland, Poland










Hong Kong, UK, Germany, Russia, Malaysia











Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore, UK and Russia

Green Coffee









Argelia, Poland, India, Portugal, Morocco











France, Germany


dams for agricultural irrigation



fishing ports

agricultural warehouses

FISHING WORLD PRODUCTION RANKING (in tons) 600 500 400 300 200 100 0









State of Mexico












World ranking



% Value of production

Total production in tons

Potential markets


Croatia, Netherlands


Malaysia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Senegal


Malaysia, Poland, Lithuania










San Luis Potosi

9.2 Onion

Poultry Meat in Carcass

Beef in Carcass

Pork in Carcass

Table egg








1500 1000 500 0


Baja California





12.8 Green Chili







San Luis Potosi

14.5 Copra








113 202,684

South Korea


US and Germany


Netherlands and Belgium


Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway


United Kingdom, Indonesia, Pakistan


Germany, France, UK, Belgium, Netherlands


Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Austria, Rumania

40, 824

Netherlands, United Kingdom


China, Argentina, Ukraine


Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands

4.5 Asparagus

• 17,000 agave farmers • 70,000 jobs generated by the tequila Industry • 358.7 million agave plants in Mexico


• Total value of tequila exports: US$1.2 billion



Baja California Sur


Baja California

11.7 Raspberry

1977: Tequila was granted its designation of origin

1995: Mezcal was granted its designation of origin



Baja California



22.9 Strawberry



Main producers „„Tequila and Mezcal „„Tequila „„Mezcal



Baja California Guanajuato

59.4 32 3.4 Bean



Zacatecas Sinaloa Durango

24.8 13 10.8 Tomato





Baja California



8.6 Lemon

2nd 89


wholesale food outlets

animal slaughterhouses






11.8 Pecan Nuts



Chihuahua Sonora Coahuila

70.5 11 9.4 Banana


5 0

Production Exports



Human Consumption

„„Yellow Corn Cattle Food






11.7 Blackberry

„„White Corn



White corn production ranking in the world



1st 3.6














Sources: 2016 Food and Agricultural Atlas, SAGARPA, National Chamber of the Tequila Industry, GCMA


FROM MEXICO, WITH BEEF JESÚS VIZCARRA President and Director General of SuKarne


Mexico’s top beef producer is ready for any outcome from

death and consumption of livestock. In Mexico, the National

the renegotiation of NAFTA that could impinge efforts to

Health Service, Food Safety and Food Quality (SENASICA)

export to the country’s largest single market, the US. Top beef

plays an important role in the supervision of compliance.

producer SuKarne says companies need to sail into uncharted

That implies having strict control of the livestock, including

waters. It has been doing just that for a long time now. “We

knowing where it was born or from where it was obtained. This

understand the importance of the US market but we also

is not a problem for SuKarne. “We have a traceability system

know that it is important to be prepared for everything,” says

that allows us to know our livestock, where it came from and

Jesús Vizcarra, President and Director General of SuKarne.

its previous owners,” Vizcarra says.

Our first and most important market is Mexico. Nevertheless, we are always on the hunt for new opportunities”

Market diversification has been a central theme across

Such is the interest of the Mexican beef industry to enter the Middle East that a series of commercial missions led by SAGARPA have already taken place, as well as visits from representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to Mexican feedlots. According to a Forbes interview with Rogelio Pérez, CEO of Mexican Beef, only six Mexican companies have the halal certification. Pérez is certain that once a deal with Middle Eastern countries is reached, Mexican beef producers will be exporting 20,000 tons of beef yearly, which would account for US$100 million in sales.

Mexico’s industries since Donald Trump, who has vowed to change the NAFTA agreement, was elected US president

Russia, a front that remained closed for four years on Russian

in November 2016, specifically targeting trade with Mexico.

allegations that Mexican beef producers were using growth

SuKarne, however, has been ahead of the curve with its

enhancers, has also re-entered the picture. In February 2017,

strategy to look for other markets. Only 10 years after NAFTA

José Calzada, Minister of SAGARPA, announced that Russia

came into effect in 1994, allowing companies like SuKarne to

would buy 300,000 tons of Mexican beef per year. Then there

begin exporting and commercializing its production in the

is the Chinese market. “A number of significant dealings with

US, the Mexican beef producer decided to venture into the

China are already underway and I believe that agreements can

Asian market, exporting beef to Japan. Its Units for Integrated

be made,” Vizcarra says. Europe is another likely destination

Beef Production (UGIs) in Sinaloa, Baja California, Michoacan,

for the country’s beef products. “We are working on obtaining

the Comarca Lagunera region, Durango and Nicaragua, has

all the needed certifications. It is a process that has taken two

allowed SuKarne to develop a strong presence in Angola,

years but we are confident that we will be ready to begin

Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and in a number of

exporting to Europe in one more year,” he adds.

Central American countries. Regardless of the political environment in the US, Vizcarra Ranked among the top-five beef-packing companies in North

believes that SuKarne’s future is solid and that the company

America and the third-largest feedlot company in the world,

will continue seeing the double-digit growth rates it has

SuKarne has hopes for further expansion. “We are trying to

enjoyed in the last 20 years. Its business strategy ensures high

enter the Middle East market with halal meat,” Vizcarra says.

margins. “We are in an industry with small margins on returns

According to a SuKarne press release, the halal certification the

but our integrated model allows us to ensure a higher return.”

company already has allows it to access a market with 2 billion

Diversification will only add to the company’s advantages.

consumers. To obtain a halal certification a company must

“Our first and most important market is Mexico. Nevertheless,

comply with specifications outlined in the Quran regarding the

we are always in the hunt for new opportunities.”


ADVISING THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR JUAN CARLOS ANAYA Director General of Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas (GCMA)

Q: What is the main differentiating value of GCMA

We make future projections based on historical issues such

compared to other companies dedicated to the same

as the seasonality of prices. A very important part of our

line of business?

work is to be the first to inform about what happens in the

A: GCMA was created in 1996 with the objective of

sector. Our clients include producers and organizations of

offering information services to the agricultural market

producers, grain consumers, marketers, transport agencies,

in light of the commercial opening that took place in

banks, state governments and the federal government. This

Mexico after NAFTA’s implementation. Our first service

means we analyze the whole production chain, from the seed

was to offer bulletins with information on prices – mainly

to the final price in store.

of maize, wheat and sorghum – to companies that were grain consumers, as well as to help the government

Q: Given this new political scenario, how can the national

with studies of the agricultural sector. GCMA supports

agricultural sector take advantage of all the free-trade

and advises companies, producers of all sizes and the

treaties opened by Mexico?


A: The arrival of Donald Trump to the US presidency has been an incentive for Mexico to look for other markets, although

We began our activities in the grain sector, but then we

Mexico already imports from countries like Brazil, Argentina,

jumped to the livestock segment and to the fruit and

South Africa, Russia, Ukraine and France. It is a matter of

vegetable segment. In this sector, GCMA is the only

market freedom, but the sector is so strong that it should not

company, with the government, that handles information

be afraid. The largest market for the US agricultural sector is

on production, demand and prices. This means that GCMA

Mexico, to which must be added the existence of the logistics

serves the entire range of the country’s agri-food sector

efficiencies between both countries.

with national and international information. GCMA has 92 customers and 40 employees who are responsible for

Q: What role has GCMA played in the growth of the

the following areas: analysis and information, consultancy

agricultural sector in Mexico since the founding of the

and studies and projects.

company? A: GCMA has played a leading role in the grain market’s

Q: What is GCMA’s protocol when obtaining and analyzing

order. Agricultura por contrato (Agriculture by contract),

the large volume of information that its clients need?

the model that is followed when marketing crops, was

A: We receive a lot of public information in real time.

developed by GCMA for the federal government and today

In addition, our analysis department is constantly

we remain its advisers. Producers always want to know

interpreting what is happening in other markets such as

who will buy their crops and at what price, so the objective

Chicago. We also collect information from companies,

of this model is to ensure the sale and price of the crop

which we interpret and send to our customers, and

from the sowing and Agricultura por Contrato guarantees

we have our own information that we get from people

these two variables. In addition, thanks to technology,

scattered throughout the country who send us data on

producers have a greater knowledge of what is happening

crops, climate, planting, demand and offer.

in markets like Chicago or Kansas City and GCMA has also played an important role to make this happen.

With that information, we generate our own bulletins classified by commodities, products or currencies, in which we also offer global perspectives, because this is a

GCMA is a consultancy with over 18 years’ experience and

global market. The government also publishes its figures

specialized in the agricultural sector. It contributes to the

and with that information we outline our perspectives on

development of commercialization strategies for producers,

each business area in which our clients are interested.

marketers, service providers and the government





Q: What are AgroBIO’s most important achievements in

is a successful case. After 20 years of having genetically


modified cotton crops in the country, a total US$384

A: When AgroBIO was founded, the country’s legislative

million has been generated in economic benefits. Back in

scenario was very different from what we are seeing now. Over

the 1990s, cotton was not a profitable business and was

the years, we have worked intensively with the government

almost abandoned. Thanks to modern biotechnology, the

to create a solid legal framework for the use of agricultural

crop gained a new dimension and today the adoption rate

biotechnology or genetically modified (GM) crops where

of genetically modified cotton is 95 percent.

scientific evidence is privileged. It has been a difficult task that has taken a lot of time, with several sectors involved in

While there is hesitation about growing GM crops, it is

the discussions, including civil associations and academia.

important to differentiate between crops. For instance,

Agricultural biotechnology is a sector that is highly regulated.

modified soybean is grown on between 15,000 and 20,000

In fact, Mexico’s regulatory framework involves seven different

hectares. Considering that the country imports about 93

governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture,

percent of the soybean that is consumed per year, I would

Ministry of Health, COFEPRIS, Ministry of Environment,

say that expectations for adoption are very high, yet

Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance and Public Credit,

some continue to resist the adoption of this crop. When

Ministry of Education and CONACYT. The involvement of so

it comes to GM corn, the discussion on whether it should

many regulators is proof of the sector’s complexity and the

be permitted or not is based on the fact that Mexico is a

several areas that are affected.

center of origin and genetic diversity and that corn itself is a genetically diverse crop. Health-related issues have nothing

Q: What is the state of the negotiations for normalizing

to do with it.

transgenic crops? A: In Mexico, genetically modified crops haven been

We understand the importance of Mexico being a

imported, commercialized and consumed for 20 years under

genetic reservoir for 59 different corn varieties, including

COFEPRIS’ authorization for food, feed and processing.

teocintle, a corn ancestor. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of

These products are not only used for human consumption

misinformation surrounding genetically modified corn that

but have a wide range of applications, including animal

generates resistance to its normalization.

consumption, cosmetics, textiles and petrochemical. For instance, transgenic corn has over 1,000 different

Q: Where is the balance between using this technology

uses in various sectors. Today in Mexico, there are 146

and more traditional methods?

genetically modified crops approved for human and animal

A: The key lies in coexistence. There is a wrong belief that

consumption, including maize, soybean, canola, tomato,

allowing genetically modified crops in certain regions of the

rice, alfalfa, cotton and potato.

country will end other traditional methods such as the native maize or organic crops. The Biosafety Law establishes the

When it comes to growing transgenic crops in the country

economic, technical and legal coexistence between both

the discussion changes. In this sense, it is important to

types of agriculture. Most of the planting of genetically

differentiate cotton, soybean and corn. The cotton crop

modified crops has taken place in the northern part of the country, in regions that are not considered centers of origin and genetic diversity for maize, such as Chihuahua,

AgroBIO MÉXICO is a civil association founded in 1999 that

Durango, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Sonora and Sinaloa. It is

groups the five largest agricultural biotechnology companies.

important to note that according to the Biosafety Law,

The main objective is to broadcast the benefits and potential

GM crops are not allowed in centers of origin and genetic

of agricultural biotechnology

diversity and protected natural areas.



Productivity, competitiveness and profitability rank high on

achieve. We provide technical assistance through the

the list of concerns that Mexico’s food producers grapple with.

entire process,” says Valdés.

Leading agricultural company Syngenta says technology and innovation can help but that the country itself needs to move

This technology transfer is supported through one of

beyond traditional crops. “This is what Mexico should be doing

Syngenta’s most important projects: The Good Growth Plan,

in a more accelerated manner: produce not for the sake of

an initiative that rests on six main pillars: making crops

producing but to effectively commercialize,” says company

more efficient, rescuing farmland, enhancing biodiversity,

Director General Javier Valdés.

empowering small farmers, keeping people safe and caring for every worker. According to Valdés, thanks to The Good

Syngenta has developed a long-term business plan that

Growth Plan tomato production per hectare has almost

incorporates the use of technology and innovation to tackle

doubled in the country’s center states. “Having farmers

the issues producers are facing. “We are completely focused

see firsthand the benefits of Syngenta’s products and

on research and development of new technologies and our

developments helps us strengthen our brand. The best

commitment is to prove to farmers that using our technologies

recommendation we can get is the one we get from small

and products generates an economic benefit for them, while

producers and farmers,” Valdés says.

also being green and sustainable,” says Valdés. Among the variety of products and technologies Syngenta The company’s product portfolio includes seed treatment

offers is the use of genetically modified (GM) crops. Though

and crop protection, among several solutions. The goal of

the commercialization and consumption of some GM crops,

these is to help producers obtain the most out of every crop

such as cotton or soybeans, is not forbidden in the country,

despite the threats that traditional agriculture often face,

the planting of GM corn has sparked an ongoing dispute

such as climate change and plagues. “Crop protection is a

because Mexico is considered a center of origin for maize.

priority for producers because an unprotected crop can lose

Despite the legal debate, Valdés says Syngenta’s technologies

up to 40 percent of its productivity. Our technologies help

are aimed at helping maize seed express its entire genetic

farmers protect their work from the moment they plant a seed

potential. “Biotechnology is just one more tool that producers

until they harvest healthy, high-yield crops,” says Valdés. The

can take advantage of. It is intended to simplify their life and

increase in severe climate conditions, such as drought or frost,

help them produce more per hectare.”R&D plays such an

also spurred Syngenta to develop technology that helps crops

important role in the work Syngenta does in Mexico that its

become more resistant to new climate scenarios.

center in Culiacan, Sinaloa, develops conventional vegetable seeds that are exported to Central America and the US. “We

Part of helping farmers become more productive includes

work in developing the characteristics the market demands,

helping them discern which crop has the most productive

such as color and shape. Every piece of technology and

and commercial potential. For Valdés, it is not a matter

innovation we develop is not only for Mexico but for worldwide

of producing a national crop such as corn across the

consumption,” says Valdés.

entire country but finding the crop that generates the most production and economic benefit, considering

Technology and knowledge-sharing works both ways,

the country’s climate and terrain. Such is the case of

particularly when the company detects a possible threat

sunflower seeds, which Valdés says have become more

to Mexican crops in other parts of the world. “According to

profitable than many other crops. Syngenta has been

the last National Agricultural Sector Census, a main concern

working with local producers to enhance their potential

of producers is related to technology transfer. We need to

by shifting to sunflower production. “This is the type of

support that. We want producers to know that Syngenta is

technological transformation that Syngenta expects to

an ally and partner.”


Habanero peppers plantation, Yucatan



For the last 27 years, Agroenzymas has been helping crop

One of its most popular products contributes to the root

producers by ensuring their products comply with international

formation of an established crop. This product came to

commercialization standards. The company specializes in

life in 2000 as a result of a root problem with grape vines

the production of bioregulators and bio stimulants that help

in Sonora. Agroenzymas’ product was able to solve the

plants flourish even when hindered by adverse climates or

issue. “This problem is very common when crops have

terrain. “Our bioregulators and bio stimulants help exportable

been established for several years. When this happens,

agricultural products in Mexico and other Latin American

producers tend to substitute the crop. With our product,

countries comply with international market requirements,”

we are recovering the crop’s productivity at a 10th of the total

says Sergio Acosta, CEO for Agroenzymas.

price it would cost to implement a new crop.”

Agroenzymas defines itself as a company focused on

Although agricultural innovations have had an important

research and product development, meaning that there

impact in the last century, Acosta says that the only

is constant communication between producers and the

agriculture-related advancements right now are those

company’s research team. “We have crop specialists

made by biotechnology. “Unfortunately, the development of

deployed throughout the main production areas for our

agricultural biotechnology is not as advanced in the country

focused crops, all throughout Latin America,” says Acosta.

as it should be. At Agroenzymas, we have been developing

“They address producers’ problems and determine if they

a biotechnological line and we are venturing into a market

can be solved with our existing products.”

that is progressing very slowly.”

But it is not an easy process. “It takes an average 10 years

The countryside and its crops are not only susceptible

from the moment we begin the research process until we

to innovation, but also fads. Such is the case of organic

are able to commercialize any product.” Acosta says a slow

agriculture. “When a country’s citizens have good purchasing

part of the process is getting the approval of COFEPRIS or its

power, they easily buy organic apples for one dollar per

similar dependency in other countries, where producers have

pound. However, when purchasing power decreases, people

to prove that the product does exactly what they say it does.

buy normal apples.” This situation prevents countries from

Once all the prior is done, then the regulatory department

specializing only in organic crops. Nevertheless, participating

for a specific country gives the green light for the product’s

in this trend can yield enormous economic benefits to


countries, Acosta says, pointing to Chile, where organic cherry plantations are finding a very receptive market in

“In the case of Mexico, approval processes for our industry

Asian countries.

can take up to two years,” Acosta says. Other factors that generate more delays are the commission’s excessive

Whether in the biotechnology or organic markets,

regulations, particularly those that place Agroenzymas at

Agroenzymas is ready to participate and despite the US-

the same regulatory level as pesticides. “Pesticides kill things.

generated economic and commercial uncertainty that has

We sell bioregulators, which are green products that are

marked 2017, Acosta is confident that reason will prevail.

completely innocuous to the environment and to human

“Unfortunately, any negative resolution regarding NAFTA

beings. We also sell vitamins that help plants and crops grow

will have a direct impact on our operations, which is why

and flourish when their development is hindered by harsh

we already have a plan B in place. Almost 60 percent of

soil, weather, water and sun conditions.”

our income comes from our operations within the country. Should the worst happen, we would need to double our

Regardless, the Mexican company does not shy away from

efforts in our international operations to shift the bulk of

the problems that impact the countryside’s productivity.

our income.”





Mexico must focus on two areas if it is to maximize its

exporters demand they modernize production to comply with

agricultural potential: technology and the modernization of

international standards,” says Pérez-Rasilla. “These players

its production, says Íñigo Pérez-Rasilla, Director General of

must move hand in hand to help farmers modernize their

SOFAGRO, a nonbank financial institution. “We are on the

production. You have to make it easy for them or they will

verge of a great explosion of untapped potential that will

never do it,” adds Pérez-Rasilla. “It is important to provide real

position Mexico as one of the largest food producers in the

and tailored solutions for their problems, even if the solution

world but we need to modernize our production methods to

is not traditional within the financial world.”

strengthen our position.” The lack of specialized funding for agriculture is not inherent Pushing producers to modernize and use newer technologies

to Mexico. Pérez-Rasilla says that every country’s agricultural

is easier said than done, particularly when the agricultural

sector faces the same basic challenges: climatologic

tradition is intertwined with the country’s history and identity.

conditions, plagues, dependence on international market

However, Pérez-Rasilla is confident that synergies between the

prices and changes in consumer trends and preferences.

government, large export companies and financing entities

“Financiers must understand the problems and adapt to

can accelerate the process.

these.” Adapting to changing conditions means that financing entities must always be aware of the number of factors that

Large producers have no problem modernizing and

can affect crop performance. “The countryside is subject to

investing in new production methods that would allow

a number of variables that farmers cannot control, such as

them to become more competitive and to export larger

international prices. We cannot take the easy way out and

quantities. Small farmers with less arable land and limited

simply foreclose.”

income tend to be more resistant to change. PérezRasilla says that farmers need to see a tangible benefit

The call for modernization comes as Mexico seems to

when transforming their production. “They need to have

be adapting to the new normal marked by uncertainty

incentives to change. Otherwise they will continue doing

regarding ties with the US but Pérez-Rasilla says the

things in the same way their grandparents did.”

agricultural sector has so far been immune. “Distributors and exporters are not as concerned about US politics. Their

Pérez-Rasilla says that in most situations subsidies do not

US clients continue to ask for the same product volumes. If

make sense but this case represents an exception because the

the US imposes a tax on Mexican agricultural products, our

final result would be to transform production. A coordinated

exports there might fall a bit but other markets will pick up

strategy between SAGARPA and financiers that includes

the slack.” In a worst-case scenario, Pérez-Rasilla says that

accessible interest rates and payment plans could give farmers

Mexico’s geographic location allows the country to export

the needed capital to modernize their production techniques

to Europe in a competitive way. “We export everything to

and become more competitive. “The Agricultural Trust Funds

the US because it is close and convenient.”

(FIRA) must also provide incentives for financiers by imposing lower interest rates on the loans these financiers receive when

Pérez-Rasilla believes that regardless of international

they finance a technology-related project,” says Pérez-Rasilla.

developments, Mexican agroindustry is positioned to become one of the most relevant players on a global level

Lack of access to capital is one of the most significant

and the arrival of new investors and global companies to

constraints that farmers often face but pressure from buyers

the Mexican scene is a reflection of that. “The thing about

and large exporters could prove pivotal. “Large exporters also

the countryside is that it is an inexhaustible source of

need to play an important role. It is more plausible for farmers

wealth; the more you invest on it, the better for everyone,”

to transform their production methods if their buyers and large

Pérez-Rasilla says.



Q: What factors led Banco Finterra to transform from a

to continue moving forward and become a world-class

SOFOL to a bank?

food and agriculture producer, farmers need to invest in

A: Banco Finterra began operations as a nonbank financial

land, equipment and infrastructure. We want to help our

institution focused on the food and agriculture sectors in

clients modernize their activities and invest in technology

Mexico. Our funding sources were primarily Mexican and

so they can become more efficient and competitive.

international developments banks such as, FIRA (Trust

The country also needs to continue to transforming

Funds for Food, Agriculture and Rural Development)

low-yielding grain farmlands to higher value-added

and DEG, a subsidiary of Germany’s KfW Development

production of vegetables and fruits, among others.

Bank. To maximize our potential as a financial institution in Mexico’s food and agriculture sector, we needed to

Q: How is Banco Finterra helping to boost access and

diversify our funding sources to include deposits and

inclusion in the banking sector?

have a highly competitive value proposition of financial

A: There is a great opportunity to grow bank financing in

services for our clients. Therefore, in 2014 we decided

the Mexican food and agriculture sector, which represents

to move forward on transforming Banco Finterra to a

approximately 10 percent of food and agriculture GDP.

bank and underwent the relevant tasks to do so, including

This is significantly lower than other countries such as

strategic planning, IT implementation and regulatory

Brazil, Chile and obviously leading economies in North


America, Europe and Asia. Many of Banco Finterra’s clients are in rural areas and, therefore, our financial

Q: The bank launched formal operations in January 2016.

services are helping to generate positive economic and

How does Banco Finterra service its target market?

social impact in many of these areas.

A: Banco Finterra has built a solid base of customers through a service model founded on quality, amiability and speed. Banco Finterra has 18 business offices strategically located in regions where food and agriculture activities are most relevant in Mexico. We recently introduced our internet banking platform and have begun providing clients with deposits and savings products. Q: What changes must Mexico make to boost its global position for food and agriculture production? A: Mexico is the third-largest agriculture producer in Latin America and the 13th in the World. In 2016, Mexico exported approximately US$28 billion in food and agricultural products, more than oil exports. Mexico is the world’s top avocado exporter, number two in tomatoes, third in chilies and peppers and fourth in berries. However,

Banco Finterra i s a financial institution focused on becoming the leading financial services provider for Farmers, Food and Beverage SMEs and Agri-Corporates in Mexico. It was created in 2004

Avocado plantation, Michoacan





Q: Diageo has been in Mexico for more than two decades.

acquired Tequila Don Julio and committed to increasing

How is the company positioned for growth?

advertising and promotional spending on the brand to

A: Mexico is among the 10 most important markets for the

further build its global presence and also to expand bottling

company. We have seven of our top 20 brands here and we

and water treatment facilities in Mexico, among other

have achieved the leading position in the industry thanks

activities. This plan, together with the acquisition costs of

to our whiskey brands and variants and the acquisition of

Tequila Don Julio, will bring Diageo’s expected investment

Don Julio in 2015. Our best-selling products are Johnnie

in Mexico to around US$400 million over five years. We

Walker Red Label, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Buchanan’s

also recently announced the acquisition of Casamigos, an

12 and Tequila Don Julio 70, but we have other popular

ultra-premium tequila that has been very successful in the

brands such as Zacapa, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Black

US. We are always looking for opportunities that strengthen

& White, Smirnoff, Ciroc, Ketel One and Baileys. We hold

our portfolio, either through acquisitions or by innovating

a leading market share in value of 30.7 percent in the on

with our brands to make sure we surprise consumers and

trade and 28.5 percent in the off trade. The spirits category

remain ahead of trends.

in Mexico represents an attractive opportunity and Diageo is well-positioned to capture this potential.

Q: What is Diageo’s role to address the market for illicit alcohol in the country?

Q: How has Diageo’s strategy to position the brand in the

A: According to studies, illicit trade in spirits in Mexico is

country evolved?

36 percent. As president of the Spirits and Wine Industry

A: Diageo is building a reputation as one of the best

Commission (CIVyL) in Mexico, we have led initiatives to

performing, most trusted and respected consumer products

address illicit trade and reduce it to OECD levels. Within

companies in the world. Regarding our brand portfolio, we are

this context, recently the federal tax revenue and consumer

prepared to be ahead of market trends. For example, whiskey

protection agencies and CIVyL, along with trade associations

has become an attractive product for Mexican consumers due

representing modern trade, wholesalers, restaurants and

to its good quality and internationality. The tequila market has

small businesses, signed a “Pact for Formality,” which is

also evolved and the consumer is now turning to premium

meant to address illegality and tax evasion in our industry.

products. In general, Mexico is becoming more formal, people have more purchasing power and seek quality; our brands

Q: How does Diageo contribute to the promotion of

offer this quality in different categories and products. We

responsible drinking?

are building a portfolio that has breadth and depth across

A: Diageo also has a leading role regarding responsible

categories and price points, and the correct distribution to

drinking in the country. Its program Actuando Mejor (Model

allow us to meet consumer demand for a range of products,

Cities) aims to improve the ways in which alcohol is sold

from standard scotch to super-premium tequila.

and consumed in Mexico. The program has reached more than 118 million people through campaigns, training and law

Q: What role do acquisitions play in Diageo’s strategy?

enforcement to reduce underage drinking, binge drinking

A: At the global level, we are always looking for fast-

and drinking and driving. Recently, Actuando Mejor has

integration acquisitions with growing brands. In 2015, Diageo

focused on reducing underage drinking by training people who sell alcohol and partnering with the Education Ministry of Queretaro to provide information to students about the

Diageo is a British alcoholic beverages company. Diageo’s

dangers of underage drinking and how to make healthy

brands include Johnnie Walker, Buchanan’s, Baileys, Tanqueray,

lifestyle choices. Police officers in 113 cities have received

Smirnoff and Guinness. In 2015, the company bought tequila

training through the program to help prevent alcohol-

maker Don Julio and established a bottling plant for exports

related car accidents.


VOICE, POSITIONING GENERATE BRAND LOYALTY ANTONIO MATIENZO Head of Amstel Light, Sol, Carta Blanca and Superior at Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Heineken

Q: How does Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Heineken position

which has permitted more people to be open to new

its brands in the market?

experiences and beverages like beer.

A: All brands must have their own voice and positioning, which is what makes Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma’s brands

Beer in Mexico has great potential and with every passing

unique, in particular Tecate. Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma

day we are building a brewing tradition. Beer is a product

would not have lasted 127 years in the market otherwise.

that generates moments for sharing between people and

Tecate, for example, is a brand that appeals to men, so

we have seen this reflected in the rising interest people have

what better than to define not only man to man how to

in beer and its particularities.

treat women, but also how to treat other men. That is how this marketing project was born, to fight violence against

Q: Most production of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Heineken

women. Even though other brands do not openly contest

is local. How do you manage distribution?

gender violence, we have run a series of trainings for our

A: We have six plants but soon there will be seven with the

brewery employees, looking to educate them, as we know

opening of Meoqui, Chihuahua. This new plant will be unique:

that sometimes there are problems at home.

a completely green brewery. We produce and export to the US, Central and South America and a little to Europe. Sol is our

Each brand defines which social battle it wants to fight. For

most global brand, as it goes to countries such as the Czech

example, Heineken targets intelligent consumption and is

Republic and Germany. In terms of sales, the US is our biggest

promoting not drinking and driving with Formula 1, while

client after Mexico. Additionally, we have a very important

Indio promotes free speech and no censorship. We want

distribution network that helps us to be present in all the

each brand to find its purpose and make that a reality.

country. We have been in the market for 127 years, which has helped us to develop an important experience in logistics.

Q: How has beer consumption evolved in Mexico? A: The beer market has really taken off in the past four

Q: Which new markets would you like to open?

years. We thought 2017 would be a difficult year, but

A: We are very focused on the Mexican market. However,

surprisingly the country’s economy continues to grow

we already have two Mexican brands in Heineken’s global

and so does our industry. Mexico is a diverse country,

portfolio, Sol and Tecate, which allows us to enter markets outside of Mexico. Tecate, was recently named global brand and we have started selling in Chile and Colombia, where it


have shown great interest and the brand has worked well 448


has been well-received. Countries such as the Philippines

* 1 Hectoliter = 100 liters

bringing to our portfolio to complement the premium-light


segment. It is sold in 123 countries in as many formats as you could imagine. Carta Blanca is one of our more regional


brands. We do not have plans to internationalize these






brands but to keep them as local brands. 136



in Europe and Brazil. Amstel is a Dutch brand that we are

Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Heinekenis a brewing group with a long tradition in Mexico. It comprises 13 brands and more than




Mexico Germany Russia

Source: Cerveceros de México. Cámara de la Cerveza.

20 products. The company has six plants and 16,000 employees. Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma became part of Heineken in 2010



TEQUILA MAKER SEES ULTRA-PREMIUM OPPORTUNITY FRANCISCO SOLTERO Strategy and Institutional Affairs Director at Patrón Spirits Mexico


Tequila is Mexico’s national beverage, as well as one of

premium segment represents fewer than 500,000 boxes

the great symbols of the country. Historically, its sales

but it is the segment that is seeing the most growth,”

were focused on the local market; however, globalization,

says Soltero.

the explosion of Mexican gastronomic culture and the evolution of production processes have made tequila one

Patron’s success is best measured in an international

of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages in the world.

context where the ultra-premium products sell around 3.5 million boxes per year, of which 2.4 million belong

According to Francisco Soltero, Strategy and Institutional

to Patrón, according to Soltero. “Consumers now

Affairs Director of Patrón Spirits Mexico, consumers are

recognize tequila as a spirit that offers the most sensitive

changing their habits and directing their purchases to

experiences,” he continues. In the US, the world’s leading

better-quality products. This has opened the door to new

importer of tequila, Patrón sells more than in Mexico.

opportunities in the ultra-premium segment of tequila

According to September 2017 data from the Tequila

brands. “The trend among Mexican consumers today is

Regulatory Council, Mexico produces 106.3 million liters

to drink better, not more. They know the regions, the

of 100-percent agave tequila, of which 67 million liters

categories and the impact that the production processes

are for export. Of these, 52.7 million are exported to the

have on the products they consume. When people drink

US although the UK, Western Europe, Russia, Australia

tequila Patrón, they experience different textures and

and Japan are also important markets for the company.

flavors, such as the crispy and fresh sensation that comes

Although not all the 100 percent agave tequilas are

up in the mouth,” Soltero says.

considered ultra-premium, the growth of this category is

The trend among Mexican consumers today is to drink better, not to drink more”

driven mostly for the more valuable products belonging to the ultra-premium segment. In the case of ultra-premium tequila, value comes from the production process. All Patrón bottles are produced in Atotonilco, Jalisco, where 1,600 employees participate in the process. Patrón started with one unit where the agave is cooked, the agave sugars are extracted, the liquid fermented and finally distillated twice. When the company

The premium and ultra-premium categories are

started growing, instead of changing the process or

composed of tequilas made with 100-percent blue

including technology, it built another equal infrastructure

agave. Consumption growth in these segments has

and duplicated their capacity. Today, Patrón has around

helped tequila to become the main alcoholic beverage in

12 distilleries at which more than 40 million bottles are

Mexico with 25 percent of sales in value and 15 percent in

produced by hand each year.

volume, according to market analysis firm Systematized Information on Channels and Markets (ISCAM).

Patrón's goal is to continue changing tequila consumption culture with new products and experiences. “In our

Patrón Spirits was founded in 1989 in California and the

products we have elements that need to be enjoyed with

tequilas produced by Patrón arrived to the Mexican market

calm and attention and this is how we started to create

nine years ago. Shortly thereafter, the brand identified the

this new culture,” says Soltero. He adds that influencers,

rapid growth of the ultra-premium segment in Mexico and

bartenders and hotel and restaurant owners want ultra-

the US. “In Mexico, between 8 and 9 million 9L boxes of

premium tequila because they understand the concept

tequila are commercialized every year. Of these, the ultra-

and experience that lie behind the product.



Q: How does the Mexico unit adhere to Dr Pepper Snapple

some programs to battle these diseases. As an industry, we

Group’s global strategy?

believe we are not the main cause of this health problem.

A: Dr Pepper Snapple is a global group with different

This tax has been imposed on us but I believe society now

affiliates across the world. Each is in charge with

understands that it neither addresses the main cause nor

distributing the group’s products and representing the

provides a solution for obesity and diabetes. It is not a

group’s ethical, business and professional principles. We

constructive tax and merely results in the consumer paying

are Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s second-largest affiliate

more for something they will not stop consuming because it

after the US. Grupo Peñafiel has four plants in Mexico and

is a part of the culture. We must work with professionalism

almost everything we sell domestically is produced here,

and integrity to try to find solutions.

with the exception of some products imported from the US, such as our large-sized Clamato juice or specific flavors of

Q: What specifically is the industry doing to influence healthy

Snapple teas. Peñafiel products are available in Mexico and


Central America and the company is the third-largest in the

A: The industry’s goal is to produce products suited to

Mexican beverage market. Peñafiel has a long tradition in

current circumstances and which address the consumer’s

the domestic market, which has helped position us in the

desire for health, welfare, entertainment and indulgence.

consumer’s mind as a local brand.

Our products are based on what consumers want, so we have to consider taste, enjoyability and producing

Q: What differentiates Peñafiel products from those of its

products with fewer calories. We are also focused on


motivating the consumer to partake in physical activity

A: The fundamental ingredient in Peñafiel products is

and to change habits.

mineral spring water, which has different physiochemical characteristics that allow us to provide a high-quality

Q: Sustainability has become one of the industry’s most

product. Our founder, José María Garci Crespo, use to

pressing issues. How do you ensure sustainability in your

say that the only hand that touches the mineral water we


use is God’s hand, because we take it directly from the

A: Peñafiel takes social responsibility very seriously. We

spring to the bottle. We also combine mineral water with

make it a point to consider our environment and the

other ingredients to elaborate our lemonades and flavored

communities in which we work and execute programs that

waters, such as Twist. Peñafiel’s mineral water is our main

benefit these communities. For 12 years, we have been

differentiator. We also have a diverse product portfolio,

certified by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi)

including Squirt, Crush, Schweppes, Clamato, Aguafiel and

as a socially responsible company. We participate in

Venom. Peñafiel strives to provide consumers with a variety

reforestation programs and volunteer activities in schools.

of attractive products.

Additionally, Peñafiel works to have a bigger impact by sponsoring the construction of children’s playgrounds,

Q: The government has imposed a tax on sugary drinks

and engaging with the community to preserve it. So far,

to help fight obesity and diabetes. How is this legislation

we have built four playgrounds across the country and

impacting Peñafiel and the wider industry?

we are looking to construct more.

A: Obesity and diabetes are long-term issues developed from a multitude of factors. The Mexican population’s eating habits and food culture are key among those. The global

Grupo Peñafielis the Mexico subsidiary of Dr. Pepper Snapple

beverage industry is quite large and Mexico is the second-

Group. It produces and distributes the group’s brands in

biggest worldwide producer and consumer of these drinks.

Mexico as well as Peñafiel products. The company has four

The tax provides the government a way to help finance

plants in Mexico and more than 3,000 employees





Got milk? In Mexico, apparently there is not enough. “There

brands sold in more than 100 countries and it is also the

is a 30 percent deficit of milk production in the country,

largest distributor of organic milk in the world. The company

while the European dairy market is producing more than

is the result of a fusion of two Scandinavian companies:

what the continent needs,” says Janus Skøt, General

MD Foods, from Denmark, and Arla, from Sweden. The

Manager of Arla Foods. He says Mexico’s dependence on

group has 60 manufacturing plants, each focusing on

milk imports represents a significant opportunity for the

the production of one category. In 2016, the grouo had

European company. “The consumption here is higher than

revenue of approximately EU$10 billion. Arla Foods’ value

the national production and Arla Foods is focused on filling

proposition to lead Mexico’s imports is to offer healthier

the dairy gaps in Mexico with innovative products to offer

and more natural products. “There are not many organic

healthy and nutritious options.”

products in Latin America. We want to offer products for a healthier community, without artificial additives, with less

At present, Europe accounts for 70 percent of Arla Foods’

sugar, fat and sodium,” Skøt says. Such is the case of its

current billing. However, according to Skøt, “there is not much

most innovative products: Kids milk, or the fortified milk

growth or demand in Europe.” Much of the global demand is

of its brand ABC Kids. “Our Kids milk has 26 vitamins and

located outside the EU and the company is able to distribute

19 percent fewer carbohydrates than other similar products

its products in these markets thanks to a cooperative of

in the market.” Also, the formulas for its Gold Lines include

14,000 farmers from the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany,

probiotics that help children’s digestion.

Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. Together, they produce 14 billion kilograms of milk per year, while the entire

The company’s growth strategy is based on producing more

national production in Mexico is 11 billion kilograms.

specialized dairy products that result in higher returns for the farmers. “We have enough milk. We are fine with the

In Mexico, according to the 2012 Ministry of Economy Analysis of the Dairy Sector, milk consumption is insufficient: 110 kilograms per capita

amount we produce, but now we are trying to maximize the value of this milk through the development of innovative products.” Skøt explains the price is very low and the return is not so big when commercializing a bag of 25kg of powdered milk, but when the same amount of milk is transformed into more sophisticated products like certain types of cheese, butter or milk, the price of milk per kilo increases in value. He believes, in the long term, this is a better commercial strategy.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends per capita consumption of dairy products equaling 150kg

Arla Foods is also competing with high standards that

per year. In Mexico, according to the 2012 Ministry of

guarantee the security of its production and distribution.

Economy Analysis of the Dairy Sector, milk consumption

“If the consumer is looking for a product that guarantees

is insufficient: 110kg per capita. According to FAO,

transparency along the value chain, we are the choice.”

many developed countries have established regulations

According to Skøt, this transparency is a result of the

to guarantee milk supply. As a result, their individual

cooperative model of leadership. “We are a cooperative.

consumption is more than 150kg and they are able to supply

The owners are the farmers who supply the milk to all the

for developing countries.

companies that belong to the group.” If something happens to one product, they can return to the farm where the milk

Owned by its farmers and considered the fourth-largest

was produced and report problems there. “We are not blind

dairy company in the world, Arla Foods has four global

to the most important part: the milk.”



Tetra Pak has positioned itself in Mexico’s fluid milk products

main goals. “Sustainability is not only recycling, it involves

segment but Tatiana Liceti, Managing Director of Tetra Pak

so much more. We work on a number of indicators to

Mexico, believes the country offers a number of untapped

reduce our environmental footprint.” She says that Tetra

possibilities. “In Mexico, we are focused on the dairy category.

Pak’s recycled packages have several uses that range from

Our product portfolio includes offers for solid food such as

pens and mousepads to the poles delimiting the ECOBICI

cheese but we need to focus on growing our presence in

stations area. Tetra Pak also holds the Forest Stewardship

new segments and expanding our footprint in those areas

Council (FSC) certification, which ensures that the paper

where we already are participants.”

used by the company comes from forests that comply with responsible and sustainable logging.

Expansion opportunities include juices, nectars and dairy products, particularly milk which is below internationally

While expanding to new opportunity areas to consolidate

recommended consumption levels. “When it comes to milk

Tetra Pak’s offer, Liceti adds that it has not neglected its

consumption, Mexico’s per capita intake is below what is

core business and is continually looking for new ways

recommended by the FAO” says Liceti.

to innovate. “The company manages a global strategy but we still need to work on customizing our product

While it is known for its processing, Tetra Pak provides

offering.” The analysis and development of products that

an array of services to its customers that incorporate

meet consumer trends positions Tetra Pak as a partner

technology and Big Data to improve their productivity. “We

for businesses from the planning stage, providing a wide

have a Conditioning Monitoring service that is constantly

array of alternatives for food producers from a product

measuring the efficiency of our clients’ machines. Data is gathered remotely and can be accessed at any moment by the customer, anywhere in the world. All this with just one click on a computer,” says Liceti. Technology is also implemented to provide remote maintenance services. “We are working with Holo Lenses, which technicians wear to remotely provide repair maintenance services. This makes processes faster.” By providing services to the entire production chain, Tetra Pak is positioned as a market leader and partner for food producers, a role that helps them comply with one of its

portfolio of over 8,000 combinations.

In Mexico, we help producers improve their efficiencies, which goes hand in hand with long-term sustainability” In Mexico, regarding consumer trends, Liceti says it is

core values: the quest for sustainability. “In Mexico, we help

impossible to establish a business strategy that does not

producers improve their efficiencies, which goes hand in

consider the busy lifestyle of the millennial generation. “The

hand with long-term sustainability,” she says. “Companies

on-the-go trend in Mexico is the direct result of how life has

and producers seek expert support to help with things that

changed in the country. Mexico is Tetra Pak’s second-largest

directly impact their cost-efficiency and the environment.

country for consumption of on-the-go products.”

For instance, some people are interested in getting support in water management. More than a consulting service we

After more than 65 years in the food industry, Tetra Pak sees

share knowledge.”

itself as a complete partner to its customers and clients. “We are a supplier that is integrated 100 percent into the food

Liceti says the company is on the path to complying with

production chain, from the early to final stages including

its environmental responsibilities, one of the company’s

distribution,” says Liceti.




The primary sector is the foundation of the economy and offers significant business opportunities. It is a matter of approaching the sector with the appropriate business model”


Rodrigo Domenzain, President and Founder of Amar Hidroponia

reach 1,000ha in the next five years. “We have developed two industrial parks to support our growth: 500ha in Leona Vicario in Quintana Roo and 800ha in Oxkuxcab in Yucatan.” Those locations adhere to a number of factors that range from human capital and expertise to favorable geographic and climatic conditions. “In Yucatan and Quintana Roo, we have developed the expertise for this crop and a model that incorporates economies of scale. Both states offer easy access to water and land is more economical than in other locations,” says Domenzain. Amar Hidroponia grows every crop in greenhouses

Two years ago, Amar Hidroponia determined it could

to manage peppers' growth and to ensure that

spice up the country’s agricultural industry with a

quality complies with international standards. “It is an

simple solution: franchising. Incorporating economies

environmentally friendly project that also aims to generate

of scale, the company developed a model for growing

a social impact,” says Domenzain. “We are providing jobs

and commercializing habanero peppers centered on

and generating social roots in local communities that are

franchising cultivable land. It now has 150ha and an

usually besieged by poverty.”

annual production of 60 tons of peppers, which company President Rodrigo Domenzain says is just the beginning.

Growing the crop, however, is only half the work. The other half is implementing a successful commercialization

“The primary sector – agriculture, fishing, mining, farming

scheme. “We realized that if we wanted to be successful

– is the foundation of the economy and offers significant

we needed to close the circle and ensure the successful

business opportunities. It is a matter of approaching

commercialization of our products,” says Domenzain.

the sector with the appropriate business model,” says

Almost 90 percent of Amar Hidroponia’s production is


sent abroad for commercialization and only 10 percent stays in Mexico. “Our largest market is in the US but we

Franchising is unique in the agriculture sector. “We started

are ready to make a foray into Europe, where we are

as a foundation and later evolved to a company. However,

targeting Germany and Italy, and into Asia, particularly

the true innovation came when we elaborated the first

the Chinese market.”

agricultural franchise,” says Domenzain. As with any franchise, Amar Hidroponia attracts investors who become

The efficiency of Amar Hidroponia’s production extends to

franchisees. “We ask for a MX$3 million investment, which

its export operations. Peppers are collected and delivered

in return includes 1ha of cultivable land, the planting of

to a distribution center, which arranges the products’

habanero peppers and the labor force,” says Domenzain.

export using both air and ground transportation. “We even have a warehouse in McAllen, Texas, that acts as a

For investors, the model is highly profitable because the

distribution hub for the US,” says Domenzain.

economies of scale generated by Amar Hidroponia mean low operating costs. “We are offering all our investors a

Although a significant portion of Amar Hidroponia’s

ROI in 18 months and the sale of 100 percent of their total

production is sent to the US, Domenzain is confident

production,” says Domenzain. Franchisees also have the

that the renegotiation of NAFTA will not affect its

option to be either fully involved in the production of their

operations. Regardless of the international political

hectares or vigilant from afar. “They can go online and

climate, Domenzain believes Amar Hidroponia’s business

review the crop’s performance, the use of fertilizers and

model has a lot to offer. “At the moment our only crop is

other statistics, all in real time,” says Domenzain.

habanero, but using greenhouses allows us to diversify our product portfolio. We are thinking about growing

The franchise model has allowed Amar Hidroponia to

other products, such as bell peppers or green tomatoes.

grow 150ha of habanero peppers with a total investment

We believe our model has the capability to disrupt the

of MX$450 million and Domenzain says the plan is to




Back in 1991, there was little interest in the Mexican countryside. Land ownership was a sensitive issue and no one could imagine the commercialization opportunities NAFTA would bring”

so they constantly audit their suppliers, making sure that

Enrique Portilla, Director General of Grupo Agros

handling of products, while C-TPAT regulations address

we do not employ children, that all workers have social benefits and that the work environment complies with safety measures,” he explains. Commercialization is not the only challenge for companies; exporting agricultural products also represents a hurdle. “In addition to constantly attending fairs to find new clients, you have to learn about logistics, obtain all the needed certifications and comply with FDA and C-TPAT requirements,” says Portilla. FDA regulations touch upon production, packaging, storage and the security concerns regarding the import of products. As strict as FDA regulations might appear, Portilla says

Good fortune and nature gave Mexico two of the most

that SENASICA’s requirements are similar in that both

competitive advantages any country could ask for: a

demand high-quality standards.

diverse climate that favors a wide variety of crops and a border with the world’s largest consumer market, the

An important key to success for companies looking for

US. Add in the start of NAFTA negotiations and Enrique

export opportunities is to produce all year round. To avoid

Portilla had the recipe for a new company. “Back in 1991,

the vagaries of climate, Grupo Agros has led the way

when we founded Grupo Agros, there was little interest in

in the production of greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce.

the Mexican countryside. Land ownership was a sensitive

“We were pioneers in greenhouse crop production. We

issue and no one could imagine the commercialization

have around 21ha of greenhouses. Although we might

opportunities NAFTA would bring,” says Portilla, Director

not be the largest company, we certainly led the way,”

General of Grupo Agros.

says Portilla.

Armed with the competitive advantages the country

Growing tomatoes in greenhouses permits Grupo Agros

offers, Grupo Agros began operating with two crops:

to have a constant supply of crops, which has facilitated

greenhouse cultivated tomatos in Queretaro and rubber

the task of exporting to the US. “We export 90 percent

trees in Chiapas. However, it was not long before Portilla

of our tomato production, of which almost 40 percent is

realized that the country’s natural advantages themselves

bought by Walmart,” says Portilla.

were not enough to succeed. “When it comes to growth, we have been very cautious. We have faced a steep

Grupo Agros’ business plan focuses on market niches,

learning curve and in the process we favored a long-

with lettuce being a good example. “We started growing

term equilibrium. We have sought high productivity that

hydroponic lettuce almost 17 years ago. Lettuce is

enables us to be competitive at an international level.”

a competitive market, so we have specialized in the production of products such as arugula, watercress,

Portilla says that most people believe that agribusiness

spinach, kale and basil.”

is just growing a crop but there is more than meets the eye. “It goes well beyond just planting and pruning.

To determine which products to specialize in, the

There are diseases that affect trees and crops, there are

company analyzed not only what products were fit for

several fungi and you have to know how to commercialize

export, but also which could meet with domestic demand.


Portilla says rubber trees are a case in point. “In the case of latex, there is no local production; it is all imported

An inability to sufficiently conquer these areas is one

from Malaysia. Grupo Agros has almost 3,000ha of rubber

reason many agricultural companies do not succeed,

trees and we have already acquired processors and

particularly when trying to export their products. “You

centrifuges. We add value to the rubber we obtain from

have to know your buyer and what are their main concerns.

the trees and generate latex. It is a niche where there is

For instance, Walmart is concerned about human rights,

no local competition,” says Portilla.





Q: What specific support does México Calidad Suprema

We provide training, technical guidance and certification

provide to Mexican producers of agricultural products?

audits, as well as support for very specific conditions, such

A: Our purpose is to facilitate market diversification and

as microbiology and pesticide analysis and compliance with

the commercialization of Mexican agricultural products.

religious certifications, such as those required for halal meat.

We provide farmers the needed tools to comply with the requirements of international markets in terms of certifications.

Q: How do you support small producers and farmers that

For instance, if they want to export to the US, Canada, the

want to compete in the international market?

European Union, the United Arab Emirates or any country

A: The main export crops we have in Mexico are represented

that requires certifications, we act as the channel to do that.

by small producers; such is the case with avocados, a giant industry that is mostly comprised of small producers with less than 5ha. All these small producers sell their products

México Calidad Supremais a federal government initiative

to packaging companies, which then export them. Almost

administered by the private sector. The initiative represents

all our export crops are represented by small producers

farmers and producers of agricultural products in the design and

who have become indirect exporters and this has helped

implementation of public policies

them obtain better income.


QUALITY DISTINGUISHES AVOCADO PENETRATION ARMANDO LÓPEZ Director General of the Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters from Michoacan (APEAM)

Q: What are the most common challenges faced when

We are working on other markets to have a significant

exporting avocados?

presence. Such is the case of China, where we still need to do

A: The most important thing when exporting avocados is to

some heavy lifting. In May 2017, we held workshops in Beijing

maintain the quality that has always distinguished the Mexican

and Shanghai with local import companies. We also need to

product abroad. Our main export destination is the US but

help them understand how avocados can be incorporated into

that does not mean that our presence is conditioned only to

traditional Chinese dishes, which is something we have done

one country. We have a market penetration of 95 percent in

before in other markets such as Japan.

Japan and 90 percent in Canada and our exports to Europe To have the fruit assimilated into foreign cultures, we have

are also bouncing back to previous levels.

established a number of alliances with restaurant chains. In the past few years, we have enjoyed significant accomplishments The Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters from

in terms of international product recognition. The alliance with

Michoacan (APEAM)is the largest representation for avocado

the Mexican Hass Avocado Importer Association (MHAIA),


to create Avocados from Mexico agency was a great help in





companies and all other industry players


this regard.


FOOD COMPANY MAKES ITS PRESENCE KNOWN IN BAJIO ULISES VERGARA Vice President and General Manager of Conagra Brands Mexico

The Bajio region has shown the versatility of its talent by

While production is important, Vergara says the company’s

hosting not only automotive and aerospace OEMs but

R&D center has put the plant in a position to generate new

also global food companies. Conagra Brands, one of North

products that cater to the needs and tastes of consumers all

America’s largest branded-food companies, has set its

around the world.


production plant and R&D center in the el Bajio region. “The best example of R&D in our product is our ACTII line. We Ulises Vergara, Vice President and General Manager of

have the classic flavors such as butter but we also incorporate

Conagra Brands in Mexico, says the company’s production

flavors that are unique to each region,” Vergara says.

facility in Guanajuato is among Conagra’s top sites. “Due to the sustainability and efficiency programs we have implemented,

This approach has helped make Conagra the leading company

our Mexican production facility ranks among the company’s

in each of the categories in which it competes. With an array

best plants.” Located in Irapuato, the plant produces almost

of products that range from microwave popcorn, barbeque

90 percent of Conagra’s total sales in the country and it also

and pasta sauces, cooking spray oil, ketchup and refrigerated

has the capability to manufacture products for other markets,

and frozen foods, the company’s goal is to cater to people’s

which for Vergara is one of the site’s most important features.

changing food preferences.



Cocoa was a Mexican gift to the world but today we only contribute less than 2 percent of the world’s cocoa production” Gerardo Díaz, Director General of Fábrica de Chocolates y Dulces Costanzo

main challenge is to give continuity to these memories by providing the same product quality, while also remaining cost competitive.” Maintaining cost competitiveness has proven to be a major challenge, particularly considering the fluctuations of the Mexican currency in the last two years. “Due to the exchange rate, walnut producers opted to export all their production rather than sell it locally, which considerably increased prices,” says Díaz. Cocoa supply has also led to higher costs. “Cocoa was a Mexican gift to the world but

After 87 years in the market, Chocolates Costanzo is a

today we only contribute less than 2 percent of the entire

tradition in San Luis Potosi, its home base. “When people

world’s cocoa production. Imports of cocoa are required to

talk about the traditions of San Luis Potosi, they think

supply the needs of the Mexican market.”

about two things, the famous enchiladas and Chocolates Costanzo,” says Gerardo Díaz, Director General of Fábrica

To avoid disappointing loyal customers, Díaz says the

de Chocolates y Dulces Costanzo.

company is now focusing on a business plan that combines production automation and diversification. Automation will

Gerardo Díaz recognizes that being a well-known brand

allow it to remain cost-competitive while using the same

poses a number of advantages, also some challenges.

inputs that have helped to conquer its loyal clientele while

“People in San Luis know the brand. They associate

diversification will help the company reach other parts of

Chocolates Costanzo with childhood memories, so our

the country.




Q: Grupo Hunan has increased its gastronomic offer to

of liquidating it. The fast-food business is an interesting

19 restaurants in less than 25 years. What strategies have

model but it is a volume business and it takes the same

contribted to this growth?

amount of time as a larger restaurant. If an opportunity of

A: We opened Hunan, our first fine-dining restaurant,

a great brand came to us we would definitely consider it.

in 1993 and it continues to register better numbers every month. Though we started in 1993, the bulk of

Q: What advantages does Grupo Hunan offer to brands

our growth began in 2009. An impressive number of

such as Mr. Chow and Nobu?

developers have contacted us to give preference to

A: If I had to describe our relationship in three words, they

Grupo Hunan restaurants. In this industry, location is

would be: trust, credibility and reputation. Grupo Hunan’s

extremely important. Our commitment is to have the best

credibility is the result of hard work and that has been

locations, providing our customers with easy accessibility.

rewarded by our customers. Reputation is also extremely

Though we are proud of our growth, we do not rule out

important, since it is basically all we have; if we fail one

inorganic growth from an acquisition; it is something we

of our partners, the next will not trust us. We are good

are considering.

partners, good businesspeople and we continuously invest in Mexico.

Q: What is Grupo Hunan’s value proposition for the Mexican gastronomy scene?

Q: Glisco Partners has invested an undisclosed sum in

A: In the last 10 years, Mexico City has radically

Grupo Hunan. What investments are you expecting to take

transformed its gastronomy industry and competition in

on with Glisco Partners?

the fine-dining and casual-dining segment has increased

A: The investment from Glisco was the result of almost

substantially. We are an industry in full swing but with

a year and half of negotiations and took almost eight

a level of maturity that allows Mexico City to easily

months to close the deal. Glisco Partners entered the

compete with New York, Berlin, Paris or London. We

company with a capital injection and helped us establish

believe that the gastronomy niche has significant growth

a number of good practices to boost our operations and

potential. As of today, in Mexico City we have 19 business

institutionalize a family-owned structure. The participation

units and we have a pipeline of six new openings in the

of Glisco Partners allows greater credibility, especially

next 24 months: five in Mexico City and one in Cabo San

with financial institutions. Its participation in Grupo Hunan

Lucas, which is a very attractive market. We believe that

permits business diversification.

it is worth exploiting a second level of Grupo Hunan in Cabo San Lucas.

Q: How does Grupo Hunan find the balance between the sector’s need for innovation and the quality that

Q: Grupo Hunan is characterized by its high-end offer.

characterizes your offer?

What are your plans to expand your offer and attract a

A: What we want is to pamper our customers. We believe

larger consumer base?

that personal service is essential and we have realized

A: What we do best is attend the fine-dining segment. We

that all the training we have done in customer service

used to have a fast-food segment but we are in the process

has yielded benefits. Our staff plays a crucial role when it comes to the development of customer loyalty. We are always looking to provide a cozy, relaxed atmosphere

Grupo Hunanis a Mexican restaurant operator that specializes

with friendly architecture and excellent food and service.

in fine dining. Founded in 1993, the company has 19 restaurants

We try to sell an all-around experience: food, service,

in Mexico City, including international recognized brands such

price and quality. We do not make restaurants, we create

as Mr. Chow and Nobu




One misstep in business can be tolerated but several can be

The strategy of attending the unattended first was also

catastrophic. In the restaurant industry where owners are

implemented when choosing regions to commercialize

often not industry insiders, a lack of professionalism and

the software. “We started in cities that were not that

modernization can cause a domino effect of bad decisions

attractive for the big technology companies, like Campeche,

that bring the company down, says Farique Cetina, Founder

Morelia, Durango and Chihuahua,” says Cetina. National

and Director General of software development firm National

Soft’s approach paid off and 15 years after it launched

Soft, adding that technology can help.

Soft Restaurant, 26,000 establishments in Mexico and countries such as Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and

“Many restauranteurs are not industry professionals and

Costa Rica use the software. Its clients in Mexico include

make several mistakes that affect the survival of the

smaller operations like Hot Dogs Ramírez, chains such as

business. Technology can help them reduce the learning

Applebee’s and Wing’s Army and high-end restaurants

curve and increase their chances of success,” says Cetina.

like Winston Churchill and Bellini. For Cetina, this is an

National Soft has developed software that can contribute

important differentiator. “Big software companies only

to the modernization and better management of small and

attend the needs of the top of the pyramid. Our offering

medium-sized restaurants in Mexico and elsewhere.

covers the entire range of the pyramid.”

The company’s Soft Restaurant software aims to help SMEs in

National Soft’s growth is the result of a good product that

the restaurant sector improve their performance and survival

solves a need and which has adequate distribution channels.

rate. Soft Restaurant cannot solve every problem faced by

“We realized that SMEs still acquire products through

SME restauranteurs; it is designed to help avoid the factors

computer distributors, so we partnered with them to also

that play a crucial role in the demise of new businesses.

distribute our software,” says Cetina. This strategy allowed the company to improve the operations not only of SMEs

Today, the use of software for restaurants is very common

but also the distributors. “In the technology distribution

but Cetina says that 15 years ago it was a much different

market the only differentiator tends to be price, which

landscape. “There used to be this misconception that only

leaves distributors with extremely low utility margins. Our

big companies could afford the prices of a specialized

product gives them the possibility of reconversion. They

software. SMEs had to use general selling points or Excel

go from selling products with no added value, to offering a

sheets.” National Soft developed a product that was both

specialized product and services for the restaurant sector.”

affordable and groundbreaking for SMEs. “If we wanted the product to be successful, we had to develop something

Although the sector has enjoyed substantial growth in

within a price range that SMEs could afford. It became a

recent years, it remains susceptible to poor practices and

matter of breaking the myth of modernization,” says Cetina.

the winds of change. “The sector still uses management practices that are not professional, which leaves restaurants

The focus on SMEs was crucial for National Soft because

vulnerable to any sort of crisis. A market contraction or

they represent the bulk of the restaurants in Mexico.

personnel rotation can take a toll on them,” Cetina says.

According to data from INEGI’s National Statistic Directory

While the democratization of technology helps, not much

for Economic Units, a total 549,632 businesses are

can be done if restaurants are reluctant to make the

registered in Mexico in the food preparation segment. Of

investment in the first place. “Restaurants in big cities

those, 532,511 businesses employ 10 people or less. “Our

are more willing to invest in technology but there is still a

philosophy has always been to attend the unattended

significant part of the country that is not convinced of the

market first. If we did a good job with SMEs, we assumed

importance of investing in the professionalization of their

that larger restaurant chains would follow,” says Cetina.

services. We still need to convince them of the advantages.”


San Francisco de Asis church, Cuetzalan, Puebla



In recent decades, Mexico and tourism have formed an indivisible alliance. The sector, a leader in terms of influence on the national economy, has enjoyed continuous growth thanks to the country’s natural beauty, state intervention, free trade agreements and private investment, both locally and internationally. Today, tourism accounts for 8.7 percent of national GDP and generates 9 million direct jobs. According to the World Tourism Organization, Mexico ranks 8th in the number of international tourists received and 17th for attracting foreign currency.

However, the challenges are many, including diversification of destinations, modernization of facilities and construction of new infrastructure. The goal for the future will be to expand Mexico’s tourism narrative beyond the sun and beach locations and start talking about Mexico as a historic, cultural, adventurous, gastronomic and entertainment destination, ready to comply with the expectations of a new generation of tourists. Moving toward this, the New Mexico City International Airport will double the capital’s capacity to receive travelers. In this chapter, experts from the tourism sector will talk about their initiatives to increase investment in infrastructure and improve the promotion of Mexico in the world.



ANALYSIS: Diversity of Destinations, Better Infrastructure Needed


INFOGRAPHIC: Mexico Climbing Global Rankings


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Enrique de la Madrid, Minister of Tourism


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Aristóteles Sandoval, Governor, State of Jalisco


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Miguel Márquez, Governor, State of Guanajuato


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Pablo Azcárraga, CNET




VIEW FROM THE TOP: José Adames, Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gerardo Murray, IHG


INSIGHT: Javier Arce, Hoteles City Express


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Ernesto Coppel, Grupo Pueblo Bonito Hotels and Resorts


INSIGHT: Carlos Couturier, Grupo Habita


INSIGHT: Agustín Sarasola, OHL Desarrollos México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Rolf Meyer, United Airlines


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Rafael Díaz, Resorts Advantage


INSIGHT: Ricardo Montaudon, RCI



DIVERSITY OF DESTINATIONS, BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED Mexico is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world and rising, but to maintain this momentum it needs to strengthen and diversify its tourism offer to build a sustainable industry. This means better infrastructure, skilled talent and a diversity of destinations


Building a sustainable tourism industry in Mexico requires

Highlighting cultural areas of interest can also boost areas

infrastructure, talent and the development of new

that lack beach attractions. Guanajuato, which is attracting

destinations. The investment provides dividends in the form

tourists to its cultural offer, has become the sixth-most

of employment creation and the betterment of communities

visited state in Mexico and the first among those that do

and quality of life. In 2017, the UN’s International Year of

not have sun and beach destinations. “We do not have

Sustainable Tourism Development, the country solidified its

beach landscapes or forests, but we can offer culture. The

ranking on the global tourism charts (see infographic next

state has two cities on the list of World Heritage Sites,

page), but to continue its upward swing, areas away from

Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, and five Pueblos

traditional beach hotspots should also feature in Mexico’s

Magicos,” says Miguel Márquez, Governor of Guanajuato.

tourism offer.

DEVELOPING COMMUNITIES “The country has done an impressive job promoting its beach

Maintaining Mexico’s attractiveness means acknowledging

destinations, but we have to do a better job in promoting

the quality of tourism services, which calls for an investment

urban destinations and the Pueblos Mágicos,” says José

in talent and infrastructure that impacts destinations and

Adames, Director General of Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City.

their communities. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the STC’s investment in infrastructure is mostly geared toward

Tourism is having a palpable impact on the economy,

increasing connectivity and reducing travel times and cost,

notching nine consecutive quarters of gains above the

which is where the New Mexico City International Airport

national GDP as of October 2017. The industry represents

(NAICM) will have a major role to play when it comes online,

8.7 percent of GDP and in 2016 about 35 million people

and even before.

visited the country. The biggest infrastructure project in Mexico, NAICM requires Diversifying Mexico’s tourism offer, which is highly

an investment of MX$186 billion and will have capacity to

dominated by sun and beach locations, is a priority

receive 70 million travelers by 2020, twice the current

for creating a sustainable industry. Seventy percent of

number. It will also generate 450,000 jobs.

international tourists arriving to Mexico visit the Riviera Maya and Los Cabos. According to the Tourism Sectorial

The private sector also is investing in infrastructure through

Plan 2013-2018 this has led to a centralization of the tourism

projects such as marinas, cruise liner piers, convention

industry and high-impact urban development projects.

centers, sports venues and malls. However, it is not all about the money, says De la Madrid. “To drive investment, it is

The reality is that Mexico has historic and cultural

necessary to establish an attractive institutional framework

destinations in states such as Guerrero, San Luis Potosi,

on issues such as regulation, security, environment and

Queretaro, Chihuahua, Veracruz and Yucatan, which are

fiscal policy.”

not well-known and, therefore, do not attract the attention of private and public investors. But the federal and state

In terms of talent, the sector must train better professionals

governments are moving to tap into the potential of these

to remain competitive in the face of a changing tourist

areas. There are new tourism offers in the Baja California

profile as the country seeks to attract travelers from

wine region, in the tequila area of Jalisco and around the

beyond longtime mainstays the US and Canada. “Due to

Yucatan haciendas henequeneras. But success may depend

Mexico´s strategic location, the US market is one of the

on how well these regions adapt to the needs of a new

most important, but there are many other markets that

generation of tourists. “Today, travelers are more interested

could contribute demand. However, to make the offer

in having in-depth knowledge about their destinations and

more attractive we need better-trained professionals to

not just spending time inside a hotel,” says Enrique de la

deliver great service,” says Gerardo Murray, Vice President

Madrid, Minister of Tourism, adding that the country has

of Brands and Marketing for Mexico, Latin America and

everything necessary to take advantage of this trend.

the Caribbean of The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).


MEXICO CLIMBING GLOBAL RANKINGS During the first four months of 2017, destinations

Mexico occupied 8th place in 2016, up one position from

worldwide received 319 million tourists. That figure

2015. According to SECTUR, the industry represented 8.7

represented a 6 percent increase from the same period

percent of GDP in 2016, while the occupancy rate was

the previous year, according to the UN World Tourism

60 percent, seven points better than the year before,

Organization (UNWTO) Barometer. With 35 million visitors,

according to DataTur.


Chinese Travelers Globally in 2016

The Asian Challenge

Ranked Eighth Globally

• Expenditure grew by

In 2016, Mexico received 35 million tourists, jumping one place in the WTO global ranking, to become the eighth most-visited country. France

12% y/y to US$261 billion.

tourists abroad rose

US 2


6% (to 135 million).


• Among the top 25




nations visiting Mexico,



China ranks 21st

Italy UK




Germany 6 Mexico Thailand Turkey


• Number of Chinese









US$19.6 billion








40 million

„„US „„Europe „„CA/Caribbean „„South America „„Canada „„Asia

in receipts from tourists in Mexico, the 14thhighest globally.





Canada South America

passengers used AICM, topping LATAM in 2016

CA/Caribbean Europe US



















of GDP By Oct 2017, tourism had recorded nine straight quarters of growth above national GDP






















„„National 595,570



















































Sources: World Tourism Organization. Canaero, Sectur





Q: What can be done to boost tourism investment in

the SCT generate benefits for the industry by increasing


connectivity, reducing transfer times and lowering mobility

A: To drive investment, it is necessary to establish an

costs. The New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM)

attractive institutional framework on issues such as

has no budget from SECTUR but there is no doubt this

regulation, security, environment and fiscal policy. We

project will boost the sector. This is also the case for urban

need investment in basic infrastructure from the public and

equipment projects of local and municipal governments.

private sectors, as well as policies to promote destinations

The private sector also invests in infrastructure through

and ensure a permanent flow of investment from lodging,

projects such as marinas, cruise liner piers, convention

transportation and entertainment companies. Investments

centers, sports venues and malls, among other projects.

can be increased by creating added value in the tourist experience, such as an attractive gastronomic offer, guided

Q: What strategies can be applied to attract visitors from

tours, cultural and sports activities or theme parks. Value

regions such as Asia or emerging countries such as Russia?

can be added to any type of tourism: business, health

A: New technologies allow us to develop direct and

or meetings and conventions. Today, travelers are more

targeted campaigns for a specific country or region.

interested in having in-depth knowledge about their

Improving the country’s connectivity is a priority since

destinations and not just spending time inside a hotel, and

advertising campaigns do not work if tourists cannot

we must be prepared to take advantage of this trend.

reach their destination. We believe the key elements to diversify tourism are investment in infrastructure, an

Q: What are the main challenges facing the development

air transportation market with efficient and competitive

of the tourism industry in Mexico?

operators and a modern regulation. Ease of travel is a fourth

A: The tourism industry in Mexico is so large and diverse

element, by making migration and customs formalities

that the challenges are different depending on the location.

more efficient and less restrictive. This can be achieved by

However, the main challenge is to remain attractive in a

increasing bilateral agreements on visa waiver programs

changing world with an increasing number of competitors.

and by automating customs procedures.

To achieve this, some elements are necessary: an innovative attitude to introduce the products tourists

Q: How can the tourism industry improve the social

seek, infrastructure that allows us to receive tourists with

development of communities in Mexico?

demanding and diverse objectives and more destinations

A: Through the development of the tourism industry we

to provide more options and generate benefits for more

can bring growth and wealth to more communities in

Mexicans. All these elements will help build a robust and

Mexico, as tourism impacts a community with employment,

successful tourism sector.

infrastructure development, provision of basic services and environmental protection.

Q: What efforts have been made in infrastructure to boost the sector’s growth?

President Peña Nieto’s vision is to strengthen tourism to

A: The Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) has a budget

create economic growth and to generate development

allocated to meet specific needs in tourist destinations

opportunities for the Mexican population. He believes

that runs under a program in which local authorities

tourism contributes to the creation and growth of the

contribute a proportionate amount. These budgets are

middle class in regions with tourism potential. However,

determined by the Congress through the Federal Budget

to experience this impact it is necessary to involve the

but the investment in infrastructure that the tourist sector

members of the community. This is the objective of the

requires is bigger, so the sector benefits from investment

program Conéctate al Turismo, which helps SMEs connect

from other entities. For example, investments made by

with players in the industry to become service providers.

Todos Santos, Baja California Sur


Q: What strategies are being implemented to develop the

keeping an open sector with healthy competition between

potential of future tourist sites?

service providers stimulates creativity and innovation. We

A: It is important for each destination to identify its

have innovative proposals on adventure and sports tourism,

vocation, its main attractions and how to create a product

theme parks and health and wellness, but staying on top

that is commercially attractive to the tourist. That is how

of the tourist mind goes beyond a renewed narrative, it

Baja California’s wine region, the tequila area in Jalisco

needs substance.

and the route of haciendas henequeneras in Yucatán have developed so well.

By highlighting our cultural and gastronomic wealth we can attract more visitors; the Día de Muertos parade in Mexico

The creation of thematic routes was the growth path for

City is an example of what can be achieved. At the same

those destinations which by themselves would hardly have

time, it is important for communities to identify with the

an impact. This is the idea behind the Mayan route in the

sector and recognize how it opens opportunities for them

southeast, the circuit of colonial cities in the center of the

to improve their lives. This is how we can permanently

country and the independence route in The Bajio region.

guarantee a quality service, despite trends and changes.

Branding also helps increase tourism in locations that have

In the end, the possibility of creating added value is directly

a particular kind of attraction, such as Pueblos Mágicos.

related to the service.

Q: How can the tourism industry offer products with greater added value?

Enrique de la Madrid is a UNAM graduate, with a Master’s in

A: As with any other sector, the tourism industry is subject

Public Administration from Harvard University. He has been a

to changes. We have seen that the offer has evolved from

Federal Deputy and Director General of Financiera Rural. In

beach holidays to more sophisticated options. In addition,

2015 he was named Minister of Tourism




Q: How is the government of Jalisco working with the private

A: It is a complex challenge. There is a large community of

sector to ensure the tourism industry's development?

Japanese in the El Bajio region and for them the nearest

A: In 2013, we reached an agreement called Agenda Única

beach destination is Puerto Vallarta. We are working on

de Competitividad (Sole Agenda for Competitiveness)

attracting this community by encouraging people in Puerto

between the government, the private sector, universities

Vallarta and Costalegre to learn Japanese, understand their

and innovation and research centers. In the case of

culture and so on. We believe this will help entice more

tourism, we came to the conclusion that the industry has

tourists from Japan. With other Asian countries, it has been

been successful because we employ a trust-deed model,

somewhat complex but we are exploring alternatives.

in which taxes from tourism are managed through trusts, such as the Puerto Vallarta trust and the trust for the

Q: The federal government has created several promotional

Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara. Thanks to this model, we

campaigns such as Visit Mexico and Mexico, a World in its

are experiencing successful growth rates. In Puerto Vallarta,

Own. How does Jalisco participate in this narrative?

the hotel occupancy rate is 98 percent during the high

A: These campaigns have helped us a lot, attracting

season and on average, occupancy rates are 71.6 percent

investment and support for all our programs. Jalisco

during the low season. We have two international airports

has participated in everything the federal government

that are growing above average, behind only Mexico City

has done for tourism. One success case is the beach at

and Cancun. Very soon, we will have a new port terminal

Cuastecomates, a town that promotes inclusiveness for

to receive ships and cruises that will further boost Puerto

people with disabilities. The town has equipped the beach

Vallarta’s growth.

with specially adapted furniture, accessible bathrooms and signs in braille, among other facilities.

Q: How attractive is Jalisco to investors in the tourism industry?

Another program that has worked is a campaign we created

A: In addition to its natural, historic and cultural richness,

alongside the state of Nayarit in 2013, which was called

Jalisco offers the idea of the Mexican personality, tequila

Vallarta-Nayarit. By boosting the region, we have increased

and mariachi. We have appealing destinations that do

our visitor numbers. We are now trying to replicate these

not only sell beach and sun but also mountains. Business

efforts with Colima through a regional campaign for

tourism also plays an important role; six out of 10 world

Manzanillo-Costalegre. As part of this project, we are

expos in our country take place in Jalisco. Investment in

planning to change the name of the Manzanillo Airport to

hotel services has increased almost 30 percent in the last

Manzanillo-Costalegre Airport. The Mexico Tourism Board

five years and our tourism offering includes boutique hotels

and SECTUR have extended their support for all these

and estates and cultural and sports tourism. We also have


Lake Chapala, the country’s largest lake, beaches and a varied climate across the state.

Q: How has Jalisco incorporated its Pueblos Mágicos into its tourism offering?

Q: Tourism to Jalisco is dominated by US and Canadian

A: We have five Pueblos Mágicos and expect to have more

visitors. What is the state doing to attract other tourists?

in the coming years. Tequila is one of the most important. It has boutique hotels and world-class spas. Mascota is another Pueblo Mágico. Located in the mountains, it offers

Aristóteles Sandoval, the Governor of the State of Jalisco, is

unique, magical vistas with a maple forest nearby. Tapalpa

a Mexican politician affiliated with the PRI party. He has also

is another Pueblo Mágico in the mountains. We have great

been councilor, local congressman and mayor of the city of

riches in the state and we want to expand the number of

Guadalajara, the state's capital

municipalities that qualify as Pueblo Mágico.



Q: How does Guanajuato compete against other tourism

A: We have invested around twice of what was invested in

destinations in the country?

the last few years: between MX$500 million and MX$600

A: It is important for us to position Guanajuato as the

million per year. So far, more than 160,000 families depend

country’s main tourist destination. We do not have beach

on tourism in our state and the sector is growing at a 12

landscapes or forests, but we can offer culture. The

percent rate every year. When this administration started,

state has two cities on the list of World Heritage Sites:

Guanajuato was the eighth-most visited place, today it is

Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. We also have five

the sixth. The federal government supports us with only

Pueblos Màgicos: Mineral de Pozos, an abandoned mining

MX$15 million per year, a low figure if we compare it with

town that has been rescued through tourism; Salvatierra,

the MX$30 million that it provided before.

the first colonial city in Guanajuato with many Spanish influences; Yuriria, a beautiful city with a lake that was

Q: How is the state promoted to attract ​​investment and

the first hydraulic construction in the Americas; Jalpa de

to build stronger relationships with countries besides

Canovas, home of the Braniff, the pioneers of aviation in

the US?

Mexico; and Dolores Hidalgo, where the independence

A: The Foreign Trade Promotion Coordinator (COFOCE)

movements were born. In addition, we have archeological

has been working in Guanajuato for 25 years. This

sites with pyramids: Coporo, Cañada de la Virgen,

coordination is older than ProMéxico and has helped us

Plazuelas and Labor de Peralta, and tourist routes like the

broaden our scope of trade. COFOCE is a permanent

convent route and the tequila route. Besides its tourist

effort that works on all continents because diversification

sites, Guanajuato offers a great variety of cultural events.

is key to our growth. Twenty-eight countries are investing

We have the Guanajuato Gastronomic Festival, where we

in Guanajuato, including Japan, the US, Germany and

have received international and national chefs; we host

France. The US is our main market and it will continue as

the Vendimia Festival in August, where 80 percent of

such. The market is constantly moving and the reality of

visitors are tourists; and the state celebrates an automobile

trade and industry overshadows intimidating speeches,

rally, the international Cervantino Festival and Expo

such that 50 percent of what we export goes to the US.


AgroAlimentaria, the most important agricultural fair in Latin America and one of the best in the world. All this has made Guanajuato the most important brand in cultural tourism in Mexico. We are the sixth-most visited place


in Mexico and the first after sun and beach destinations.

3.1 million Q: What challenges do you face in meeting the state’s

total tourist arrival

tourism promotion goals?

1.09 million

A: We need more hotel capacity to receive guests. The

tourist arrival by air

33.5% International

66.4% National

airport is not large enough and besides cultural tourists, we receive a lot of business tourism from the automotive sector. The airport has increased its capacity from 800,000

Source: Ministry of Tourism State of Guanajuato

passengers to 1.6 million in the last three years. However, we must accelerate and increase investment to enlarge the airport and we need to increase our number of hotels.


Miguel Márquezis a Mexican politician affiliated with the PAN. He has served as Governor Auto of the parts state of Guanajuato since

Q: How much is invested in tourism and what opportunities

2012. He has also served as local congressman and Ministrer

will help the industry grow in Guanajuato?

of Social and Human Development for the state of Guanajuato

terminal production



Loreto, Baja California Sur



Q: What role does the tourism sector play in Mexico’s

A: There must be a change in the Fiscal Reform. We live in

economic development?

a vicious cycle where if a tourism destination is successful,

A: Mexican tourism is cyclical. The 2008 financial crisis

the municipality and state are allocated fewer resources to

greatly impacted the sector but since then it has enjoyed

support the sector. The state and municipal governments

five consecutive years of double-digit growth. Tourism

suffer because the money collected in taxes is absorbed by

revenue totaled much more than that of oil and gas exports.

the federal government and it leaves only a small proportion

Tourism was the only sector to register a surplus in 2016,

for the development of the area.

which amounted to US$9.3 billion. This will only lead to problems since four to five days of the Q: Why has investment in tourism increased so drastically

week destinations are at full capacity. We need to develop

in the last five years?

a new fiscal incentive for tourist investment deduction. The

A: In 2016, Mexico received more than 35 million international

Dominican Republic has grown dramatically in the last few

visitors but it also hosted more than 80 million domestic

years thanks to a governmental program that encouraged

tourists. Tourism will continue to grow in the years to come,

and supported investment in tourism. It developed a program

generating more than US$19.5 billion in foreign revenues. The

where the companies that invested received tax deductibility

industry has invested over US$86 billon in the last five years.

for 10-20 years. Much of the investment that was coming into

It is the industry that invests the most in Mexico.

Mexico moved to the Dominican Republic for these reasons.

We are constantly opening new hotels. Each of the hotels we

Q: What is the main factor that is holding back the

construct requires an investment of at least US$50 million.

Mexican tourism sector?

There is a curious disconnect between tourism and other

A: Mexico is a difficult country to develop because it

industries in that a US$20 million investment in a project in any

continues to be extremely bureaucratic and has too many

other industry is newsworthy, whereas in tourism that amount

formalities. Often, the requisites of the federal government

does not represent even one development. Mexico has great

are not aligned with those at state and municipal levels,

tourism potential for both leisure and business and we are

which results in a delay in investment due to a lack of

beginning to think twice about how we are approaching it.

continuity. But the future looks bright. Our steady growth will continue to motivate players to change the sector’s

Q: What does Mexico need to do to reach its tourism

business model and incorporate more efficient schemes


that will allow us to boost growth. The potential market

A: The sector needs to diversify, opening new markets

is huge, with more than 200 million Americans traveling

other than the US and Canada and moving away from its

within the US while only around 20 million come to Mexico.

dependency on its beaches. North American countries

The country can only grow from here but right now it is in

will continue to be the most important contributors to

a transition period where tourism has been improving yet

Mexico’s tourism development in the future but we should

it is not given the recognition it deserves. We are moving

complement this with higher market penetration from other

to maturity and will continue to professionalize processes

countries. If we do not invest, our numbers will remain

with the goal of taking full advantage of the market.

stagnant at 35 million tourists for years to come. The lack of a large airport in Mexico has been an enormous bottleneck for the industry.

CNET is made up of 13 national chambers and associations of of private institutitons that represent the entire tourism

Q: How could the regulatory framework and fiscal incentives

sector. One of CNET’s main objectives is to improve Mexico’s

be improved to attract more investment?

tourism image



CREATING EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES MIGUEL CANTÚ Director General of the Corporation for Touristic Development of Nuevo Leon (CODETUR NL)


Q: Nuevo Leon has traditionally been seen as an investment

A: One project in particular will help to formalize tourism

destination. What strategies is CODETUR following to also

in Nuevo Leon: the De la Boca dam, which is an asset that

position the state as a tourism destination?

we have yet to capitalize on. It is a really nice place but

A: We are working on a campaign called Nuevo Leon

lacks the regulations and development required to make

Extraordinario, which offers visitors extraordinary

it a tourist destination. It is a long-term development, led

experiences in a number of areas, including sports, nature,

by the Ministry of Economy and Labor of Nuevo Leon with

culture, health, adventure, urban and well-being, which

support from the federal Ministry of Tourism. It is expected

is basically medical tourism. It also targets meetings and

to cost over MX$2 billion.

reunions. The purpose is to showcase the state’s best tourism assets.

Q: How can Nuevo Leon capitalize on the business tourism that the state usually receives?

Adventure tourism also aims to highlight the state’s natural

A: We have three particular objectives regarding these

resources and eco-tourism activities that can be found in

visitors. The first is for them to return with their families.

the southern part of the state. Our urban experience is

The second is to convince them to stay an additional night

particularly important because it highlights our metropolitan

when they come on business trips. Our third objective is

areas and caters to our business tourism, which makes up

more related to the local population. People from Nuevo

around 70 percent of the state’s visitors. We are using social

Leon travel a lot, so we want them to travel around the state

media to promote the campaign. However, our efforts to

and get to know all we have to offer. We are also developing

promote tourism in the state do not stop there. The private

our Pueblos Mágicos offering through several projects that

sector is also an important participant in this effort since

will boost the visibility of these towns.

it is the main generator of investment and employment in the industry.

Q: Is there a particular area that has potential but which the state has yet to capitalize on?

Q: What impact have these efforts had on tourism rates?

A: In Mina, there is an archeologic area that we want to

A: The number of tourists to Nuevo Leon increased 16

position as a tourism destination. The zone has been

percent in the first six months of 2017 when compared

protected by the National Institute of Anthropology and

to the same period in 2016 and the arrival of passengers

History (INAH) and we want this area to be designated as

to Monterrey airport increased 9 percent during the

a protected area by UNESCO. The existence of petroglyphs

same period. This growth has been accompanied by

in the state represents a breakthrough in the sense that

the opening of new flights and destinations. One of the

the northern region of the country usually does not have

most representative examples is the direct flight that

archeological features.

Aeroméxico has just launched between Monterrey and Seoul, South Korea.

Q: What challenges do you see for the consolidation of the state’s tourism sector?

Q: What infrastructure developments will help boost the

A: The main challenge is to increase investment. We know the

tourism industry?

industry is expanding and that one of the best ways for the industry to continue growing is to continue investing in it, but the investment has to come from both the public and private

CODETUR NLis a decentralized public organism working under

sectors. Unfortunately, federal budget funding has been fairly

Nuevo Leon's Ministry of Economy. It is in charge of designing

limited in the last few years. Nevertheless, we believe that in

and coordinating public policy strategies for the promotion

four years we will have positioned Nuevo Leon as a tourism

and development of the state's tourism sector

center with a well-known and appreciated brand.



Q: What are the main challenges and opportunities Four

Q: What strategies has Four Seasons implemented to remain

Seasons encounters in Mexico?

the top choice for travelers?

A: The most important challenge, and probably the reason

A: In 2016, we completed the renovation of our Mexico City

why there are not that many Four Seasons in Mexico, is that

hotel, which included the modernization of its appearance

destinations must support luxury hospitality. This challenge

and design. We have opened a new restaurant, Il Becco,

differs from other Latin American countries where the most

which is recognized as one of the best Italian restaurants

significant hurdle is sometimes public policy, which makes it

in the city and we also added a new bar, Fifty Mils, which

more difficult for us to develop projects. Mexico is friendly

was recently recognized as one of the best bars in the world.

with Four Seasons; we have been in the country for 23 years,

Our Zanaya restaurant was also named among the Top 100

so having public policies that promote the development of

best restaurants in Mexico. This new gastronomic offer has

these projects is a great advantage.

positioned us not as the old Four Seasons but as a new hotel that maintains its reputation.

Q: How does Four Seasons innovate while at the same time continue to offer its traditional high-quality service?

We continue focusing on providing exceptional treatment for

A: Luxury travelers look for something that is fairly

our guests; that is our added value, regardless of who we are

consistent: the treatment they receive and the feeling

competing with. The most important thing is to anticipate the

they get whenever they arrive at a luxury hotel. This is

needs of each guest, since the small details are what make

the DNA of what we do and it will never change. However,

the difference between a luxury hotel and its competitors.

millennials and newer generations have a different mindset in terms of brand loyalty. Social networks have

Q: How can the industry foster the growth of the sector?

changed the way we communicate with our clients so

A: The country has done an impressive job promoting its beach

we have been forced to evolve. Technology has been an

destinations but we need to do a better job in promoting city

important focus for the brand, which is why we developed

destinations and the entire Pueblos Mágicos offering. Of all

an app with a chat where people can ask anything and

the Pueblos Mágicos in the country, San Miguel de Allende

we immediately answer. Another change is that you

has done the most to become well-known. These efforts need

cannot promote the hotel just by showing pictures of

to be replicated in the rest of the town and in Mexico City.

the rooms, the restaurants or the spa. Today, it is not about promoting the hotel; it is more about promoting

Q: What are Four Seasons’ plans in the short term and

the destination, what makes that place different and

what role do you want to play in showcasing a new face

what culinary experiences are available. People want to

of Mexico?

experience the culture.

A: In a medium term, Mexico will be the country with the greatest number of Four Seasons in the world after the US

In addition, Airbnb has changed everything. The

and China. The idea is to take advantage of the country’s

question we are facing is how to compete against these

momentum. Four Seasons will continue betting on Mexico’s

new players. They are not Ritz Carlton or St. Regis, our

tourism potential by developing its hotels and positioning

traditional competition. These changes have forced us to

Mexico City as the new place to visit.

adapt so we can continue being relevant. Still, I can say that our competitive advantage will always be how we treat people when they arrive at the hotel. Regardless

Four Seasons Hotels and Resortsis a global hotel chain

of technology or hotel facilities, guests pay for the way

focused on luxury hospitality, Four Seasons is present in 43

hotels make them feel and that is something that will

countries with 105 properties. The company excels in the

never change.

management of hotels, resorts and residential clubs



FORTY-FIVE YEARS UPGRADING GUEST SERVICE GERARDO MURRAY Vice President of Brands and Marketing for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)


Q: What role does Mexico play in IHG’s global strategy?

detecting destinations that could benefit from having hotel

A: We manage 12 hotel brands and seven are present in

services from international and well-recognized brands,

Mexico, including luxury brand InterContinental, business

providing confidence to travelers. In Mexico, we have hotels

hotel Crowne Plaza and our most popular brands: Holiday

in the most important cities but we also are present in the

Inn and Holiday Inn Express. Mexico is also the only Latin

most popular resort destinations.

American country hosting Hotel Indigo, our boutique hotel brand. We also have our two extended-stay brands,

Q: Corporate responsibility is a core IHG value. How do you

Staybridge and Candlewood. Mexico is one of the most

apply this to the communities in which you are located?

important markets for IHG in Latin America because the

A: IHG focuses on promoting sustainable development

country has advantageous conditions for our business model.

in the communities in which we work. Among our social

We brought the first Holiday Inn to Mexico over 45 years ago

responsibility programs is the IHG Academy, through which

and today we have over 135 hotels in the country.

we make strategic alliances with educational institutions. We develop a combined training and professional development

Q: What business strategy has IHG followed in Mexico?

program with the institution.

A: Franchising has been the most common model in our global operations. We have very few assets around the world

Q: In what ways can the public and private sectors promote

but in Mexico we have found many talented operators and

the development of the tourism sector in Mexico?

we are comfortable working with them. These operators,

A: By promoting infrastructure. We must ensure that

such as Grupo Presidente, Fibra Inn and Grupo Milenium,

we have adequate connectivity through roads, airports

among others, have realized the value of the franchise.

and airlines. We are committed to bringing new hotels to new destinations; however, there is need for the right

Q: What are your most important requirements for companies

infrastructure capacity. Due to Mexico’s strategic location,

interested in opening an IHG hotel in Mexico?

the US market is one of the most important but there

A: We have a development department that directly

are many others that could contribute demand. As an

works with those interested in licensing with us. Once

example of how seriously we at IHG take this, we have

they approach us, this department develops a study and

developed a program called China Ready, in which we

suggests the best product or brand for the project. If the

teach our people simple but valuable concepts for the

building is not yet built, we will guide them with the design

Chinese market. In the Bajio area, you will find some of

and provide them access to the most recent construction

our billboard ads containing phrases in Mandarin. It is

and design guidelines.

important to be ready for a market that is very interested in Mexico.

Q: What cities have become attractive for hotel development and what demographic trends have you

Q: What megatrends has IHG discerned and what actions


are you taking to capitalize on them?

A: We keep in mind the different travel needs our guests

A: Today, technology is an important factor, so it is

have. Our development teams are focused on searching and

necessary for hotels to provide guests with the right connectivity. This has empowered us to upgrade the service provided at our hotels with a fast and secure

IHG is a British company that operates several hotel brands

connectivity, while using our loyalty program IHG Rewards

internationally. It is one of the world’s leading hotel companies

Club, with over 100 million members worldwide, to deliver

in terms of number of hotels. Seven out of its 12 brands are

personalized experiences to our guests while they check

present in Mexico

in and stay in one of our hotels.


BUILDING HOTELS IS ONLY HALF THE WORK JAVIER ARCE Chief Development Officer of Hoteles City Express

For any hotel developer, constructing the hotel is just half the

automotive route in the Bajio region and an oil and gas route

work. The other half is ensuring the building’s profitability

in the Mexican Gulf. The NAFTA route was later revamped

and in turn, the company’s growth, says Javier Arce, Chief

with the opening of new hotels alongside the Pacific Coast

Development Officer of hotel chain Hoteles City Express.

that targeted the transportation of perishable goods between the US and Mexico.

Arce believes there are two main factors that hinder growth. The first is land ownership and location, which plays an

“We want our clients to think that if they need to travel to any

important role in a hotel’s profitability. The second and more

business city in Mexico they will surely find a City Express.

difficult challenge is related to permits and regulations. “There

Except to Guerrero and Morelos, we are in every state of

are locations that encourage investment through the agile

the country. We operate 125 hotels and we are opening one

expedition of all needed permits but there are others where it

almost every 6.4 weeks. This makes us the hotel chain with

has become more difficult. For instance, in Mexico City getting

the strongest growth in Mexico and Latin America,” he says.

all the necessary permits can take up to six years.” One particular aspect of the company’s business model Profitability, he adds, starts with the building’s design. “Adding

stands out: sustainability. The company’s commitment

details increases costs, something that directly impacts the

extends beyond the environment to touch upon

hotel’s rates and profitability. Every component of the building

preservation of culture and traditions as well as active

needs to be efficient, keeping maintenance expenses low.”

involvement with local communities. Its Biosphere Responsible Tourism Certification for the entire hotel chain

In only 15 years, the brand has evolved enough to cater to the

is the proof, Arce says. “We have several LEED certifications

needs and likes of business and pleasure tourists in 63 cities

as well as Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies

in Mexico and three Latin American countries, Costa Rica,

(EDGE) certification, but Biosphere Responsible Tourism

Colombia and Chile, while also displaying a deep commitment

is the only certification that is aimed exclusively at the

to local communities and the environment.

tourism sector. City Express is the only hotel chain that is in the process of certifying all its sites.”

Arce says proper growth planning and the hotel chain’s service offering have been factors for the brand’s quick development.

Armed with rapid expansion and its inclusion in the BMV

“As a company focused on the business traveler, we wanted to

Sustainability Index, Arce is confident of City Express’ future,

grow along the most important business routes in the country.

even with political uncertainty pouring in from north of the

But there are certain business routes that coincide with

border. “With or without NAFTA, the US market will not

pleasure tourism. In these cases, affordable rates, combined

disappear. Our business community needs to diversify and

with our holistic service approach in terms of quality, have also

the creation of the new Special Economic Zones (ZEE) will

made us a good option for these tourists,” says Arce.

boost the development of places such as Lazaro Cardenas, Manzanillo, Salina Cruz, Coatzacoalcos and Tuxpan.”

Tourism companies often refer to the regions in which they establish operations as “routes,” which reflect the main

For the time being, City Express continues betting on Mexico,

industries that have impacted those areas.

and on its automotive route in particularly, thanks to the establishment of Japanese and German companies in the

The company’s bet on the growth of Mexican business

zone. “We are a 100 percent Mexican company, founded and

routes started with the NAFTA route, which stretches along

operated by Mexicans. We believe in the country and we

the country’s key highways leading to the US and used to

will continue moving forward with Mexico. We are deeply

transport imports and exports. This route paved the way for an

committed,” Arce says.





Q: What strategy is behind Grupo Pueblo Bonito’s growth?

tool, particularly for those who have a house they do not

A: We have always favored the same strategy: offering a top-

use that much. However, I do not think that it is impacting

quality product and honesty in our sales. These two priorities

the time-share industry that much.

have earned us the prestige we enjoy around the world. The attitude of our people has also been key and is a direct

Q: How can best practices implemented in destinations

reflection of management’s attitude.

like Los Cabos be transmitted to others like Mazatlan, which is a lagging destination?

A company’s leadership must set the tone for the entire

A: The development of a destination such as Los Cabos

business and that is something I have worked tirelessly on;

adheres to the fact that it is one of a kind. From its

having a positive attitude and being committed to the client

inception in the 1950s, it was branded as expensive. It

and to the job.

was a destination that received former US and Mexican presidents, which gave Los Cabos a certain exclusivity

Q: Pueblo Bonito hotels are well-known for their luxury all-

that other destinations in Mexico lack.

inclusive concept. How has this concept and other trends changed the luxury hotel experience?

This combined with the boom of other destinations such

A: For several years, we were wrongly opposed to the all-

as Cancun or Ixtapa made Mazatlan a trailing destination.

inclusive concept because it had a negative image and was

By the time Pueblo Bonito opened operations in Mazatlan,

associated with a low-value proposition. However, the concept

it had already been branded as a cheap destination.

has evolved. For Pueblo Bonito, adherence to the all-inclusive concept in its operations has permitted us to diversify the

Another factor that adds to Los Cabos’ success is the

total income of our companies. Before the implementation of

nationality of its visitors, since tourism is 99 percent

the all-inclusive strategy, 90 percent of our guests dined at

from the US while in Mazatlan tourism is divided between

restaurants outside the hotel. Now, they all dine in the hotel.

national and US tourists.

Real estate in Los Cabos generates around US$1 billion in operations

Q: Mexico is among the top 10 countries visited in the world but income from tourists is comparatively low. How can the industry boost that? A: It depends heavily on the destination. For instance, in Los Cabos, the real-estate sector is extremely expensive and generates US$1 billion per year, without considering the time-share business, which must be around US$800

The time-share concept revolutionized the touristic

million. On a weekend, Los Cabos easily receives 50

industry in Mexico and as a result the country has enjoyed

private jets coming from the US. In Los Cabos, the main

occupancy rates and incomes that are higher than in

source of income is not hotels but real estate.

other places. It is true that we cannot stop trends such as Airbnb but we are not that affected. It is a very useful

Q: What should be the touristic priorities for Mexico in the coming years? A: We need to keep offering quality across the entire

Grupo Pueblo Bonitois a Mexican chain of luury hotels that

sector: hotels, restaurants, real estate and so on. We

in 2017 celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Group has eight

need quality but we also need to work on controlling the

hotels, five in Los Cabos and three in Mazatlan. All properties

international perception of Mexico. With these two things,

offer hotel and timeshare services

we can position the country as a top destination globally.



Tourism is on the rise in Mexico and if hotels want to be

operations are 100 percent self-sufficient. We only invest in

successful, they will stand a better chance if they are unique,

hotels created and developed by us,” says Couturier.

suggests Carlos Couturier, managing partner of Grupo


Habita, pointing to his group’s hotels as an example. “Every

Its approach to hospitality is easily transferred to the

hotel is different and designed according to its location,

group’s international setting. Says Couturier: “Foreigners

environment and community,” he says.

are attracted by the philosophy of uniqueness, kindness, Latin style and especially by our anti-franchise ideal.” This

Grupo Habita has been the leader in the Mexican boutique

has motivated the group to expand operations and make

hotel market for 17 years, with 12 hotels in the country: five

plans to develop five projects in 2017: Los Angeles, Austin,

in Mexico City, two in Veracruz and one in Acapulco, Puebla,

Mexico City, Puebla and La Paz. The group is also interested

Monterrey, Guadalajara and Puerto Escondido. The group is

in exploring the possibilities of entering Cuba and Canada.

also expanding internationally, including destinations such as New York and Chicago.

Grupo Habita will continue collaborating in the growth of the industry by attracting tourists who value quality and

For the Mexican hotel group, promoting the growth of the

appreciate good customer service and authenticity. “For

country’s tourism industry is a priority, especially given the

2017, we want to continue consolidating, improving what

implications for future generations. In 2016, the country

can be improved, earn trust and contribute to making a

received 35 million international tourists, according to

better Mexico for future generations,” says Couturier.

SECTUR, a nine percent increase from what was registered in 2015. The industry understands that tourism can help consolidate Mexico’s economic and social growth. Last year, Mexico received more than US$19.5 billion in tourism activities. The occupation percentage of the 70 touristic centers in the country was 60 percent, seven points better than in 2015. Of the tourists, 76 percent were local and 24 percent international, while both beach and city locations improved their bookings and tariffs over the previous year. In 2016, 70 percent of the beaches were occupied and 64 percent of big cities, according to DataTur records. To grab its share of the growing industry, Grupo Habita’s investment strategy has focused on creating hotels that have different personalities. Each of its hotels is unique, Couturier says, with its own name, architecture, decoration and chef. However, they share the aggregated values of a focus on details, strategic location, authentic mood and the absence of monotony often present at chain hotels. To achieve this goal, Grupo Habita chooses its locations by instinct and usually looks for places with flavor and potential in less developed areas. The company partly attributes its growth to the valuable support of local partners who are responsible for providing area know-how. “Our hotel

Hotel Escondido, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca




Cancun has instant name recognition but another area is

The Mayakoba brand has relied heavily on three pillars: long-

nipping at its heals, not just in tourism but also in economic

term planning, integration and environmental protection, and

growth. Playa del Carmen is only 30km away from Cancun

Ciudad Mayakoba is relying on these elements for success.

International Airport but the development potential,

“When planning a city, having a long-term master plan becomes

particularly in infrastructure, is outshining its famous

essential,” says Sarasola. “The goal of Ciudad Mayakoba is to

neighbor, says Agustín Sarasola, Director General of OHL

create a community regardless of purchasing power through

Desarrollos México. “Playa del Carmen is bound to become

the existence of quality public services and spaces.” Sarasola

a big city. In addition to being the capital of the Riviera

also points to the development’s environmental focus, which

Maya, its expanding population is leading the city to larger

has become a Mayakoba trademark. “Ciudad Mayakoba

than expected growth.”

is based on a series of biological corridors that allow the

Playa del Carmen is bound to become a big city. In addition to being the capital of the Riviera Maya, its expanding population is leading the city to larger than expected growth”

preservation of nature, flora and fauna.” However, it is the relationship established with local authorities and the municipality of Solidaridad, the district where Playa del Carmen is located, that will ensure the project develops as expected. “Our relationship with the municipality is key. It has to approve the master plan and develop the needed infrastructure for basic services, education and roads,” he continues. Sarasola says the hardest challenge has been finding a group of partners to work alongside OHL Desarrollos México. “We have a business model that is associative, meaning that we do not develop 100 percent of the projects. We share the

OHL’s interest in Playa del Carmen is based on the two

development with partners that have to comply with our

sectors that are experiencing the largest growth: tourism

quality standards.”

and infrastructure. Its tourism project has already made a name for itself: Mayakoba Resorts. Located just 6km

While Ciudad Mayakoba is fairly advanced, Sarasola says

north of Playa del Carmen, Mayakoba Resort’s business

that the plan envisages a 10-year period before it is 100

model includes luxury hotel brands such as Banyan Tree,

percent complete. “Our expectation is to have people living

Fairmont, Rosewood and Andaz. But another project has

in Ciudad Mayakoba by 2018 and in approximately four

the potential to reshape the area. “We have detected an

years to have developed 75 percent of the project.”

increasingly younger population in Playa del Carmen in need of infrastructure and services and that is what we

While Sarasola believes that Ciudad del Carmen still

want to deliver with Ciudad Mayakoba,” says Sarasola.

offers significant opportunities to continue developing the Mayakoba brand, he says that the country's touristic

Ciudad Mayakoba encompasses the construction of 17,000

potential makes other destinations also interesting. “We

new houses, along with hospitals, schools, sports facilities

have analyzed the possibility of investing in Riviera

as well as cultural and commercial spaces and a university

Nayarit or Los Cabos, as we believe that these two places

over a 400ha area. Sarasola says that in just one year, they

offer interesting opportunities to repeat a project like

have sold 1,200 houses, accounting for 25 percent of the

Mayakoba. We do not rule out finding partners to develop

housing sales in Playa del Carmen.

in these locations.”


MORE FLIGHTS, BIGGER PLANES OPTIONS FOR SATISFYING DEMAND ROLF MEYER Managing Director, Mexico and Latin America Sales of United Airlines

Q: How big a player is Mexico in United Airlines’ long-term

these kinds of connections. The aviation industry in Latin

sales strategy?

America will grow more than in the rest of the world. The

A: Mexico is United Airlines’ second-biggest market in

average growth of this industry in Latin America is 4.6

terms of operations outside the US. We operate flights to

percent, while growth in the Mexican market is expected

64 destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean with an

to be 4.7 percent. The agreement between the American

average of 1,000 flights a week. Of these, 550 are to Mexico.

and Mexican governments provides more options for flight

Mexico City is the only destination connected with all seven

destinations. Before this agreement existed, only two

hubs in the US: Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles,

foreign airlines were allowed to fly to the same destination.

Chicago, Newark and New York.

Lifting this limitation will boost competition and provide customers with a greater number of offers to choose from.

United Airlines continuously analyzes its routes to determine when to increase capacity. When we notice growth in

Q: What are passengers looking for when choosing

demand in a market, we either schedule more flights for this

United Airlines?

destination or use a larger aircraft. For instance, five years

A: First of all, our network. Most United Airlines’ passengers

ago we started flying seven times a day from Monterrey

are business travelers as 80 percent of our routes are to

to Houston. As demand grew, we added five more flights

the main worldwide business centers. With the onboard

for a total of 12 daily flights on this route and one in the

Satellite Wi-Fi, business passengers appreciate being

Monterrey-Chicago route. Shortly after, we started to

able to connect anywhere they are so that they can solve

operate 14 weekly flights. United flew 70-seat airplanes in

problems before arriving to their destination. In other

this market but as demand grew, we replaced these with

segments, demand for certain services depvends largely on

76-seat aircraft. This measure meant an increase of almost

the kind of passenger at hand. But all passengers regardless

10 percent in the number of available seats per flight.

of the type want to reach their destination safely and to wait the minimal time possible.

Q: What are the most important routes for United Airlines in Mexico?

Q: How is United Airlines facing the saturation of the

A: Cancun is our busiest airport outside the US. During peak

Mwxico City International Airport (AICM) and what does

season, we operate up to 40 daily flights. In Mexico City, we

it expect from NAICM?

have up to 16 flights a day and all our operations are mainline

A: The number of slots at AICM are limited, but United Airlines

flights. In Queretaro, we fly three daily flights using 76-seat

is fine with the number of slots it holds. Replacing smaller

aircraft and in Leon we grew from one to two daily flights

aircraft with bigger planes has enabled the airline to increase

to Los Angeles. Last year, United added a new flight to the

and even double capacity. For instance, changing from 75-

Aguascalientes-Houston and San Luis Potosi-Houston routes.

seat aircraft to 146-seat planes almost doubles the number

This was done largely to further connect the automotive

of available seats per flight. Also, increasing the number of

industry as air traffic between Europe, Asia and the US

operations and destinations from cities close to Mexico City,

related to this sector has grown.

such as Puebla and Queretaro, reduces the need for customers who live there having to fly from Mexico City.

Q: What are your growth expectations for flights between the US and Mexico in the long term? A: In fact, the entire Latin American market continues to

United Airlinesis a major US airline and the third-largest in

grow, not just Mexico. Of the 20 most important cities in

the world when measured by revenue. It flies out of nine airline

Latin America, only 43 percent have direct flight services,

hubs in the US and Japan and is a founding member of Star

while 100 percent of the important European cities have






Q: Resorts Advantage provides back office services for the

several platforms with different offerings and even though we

tourism industry. What particularities have to be considered

can offer suggestions regarding each product, in the end we

when providing these services?

have to comply with our clients’ specifications. In most cases

A: The most important element is to always provide quality

the structure remains the same but there are always changes

services. As the intermediary between the hotel and the

that need to be made to comply with the expectations of our

guest, we have a tremendous amount of responsibility since

clients, the hotel and the guests.

we represent the most prestigious hotel chains in the world. Hotel guests need to feel from their first call that they are

Q: How has the incorporation of newer technologies changed

receiving the service they expect. Meeting this expectation

Resorts Advantage’s business model?

entails a number of factors: simplicity in the reservation and

A: Technology has introduced the dynamic of rapid

payment processes and the provision of recommendations

changes. That is why we work constantly to stay up to date

for different destinations. We have to provide them with this

and to stay ahead of those changes. For instance, younger

variety of information. These are the sorts of services that

generations do not like to use the phone, so we have to

determine whether a client decides to stay with the same

offer them digital contact options. This generational change

brand for their next vacation.

in preferences led us to migrate the bulk of the services we offer. This is where the challenge lies: being able to provide

Q: How does Resorts Advantage contribute to improving the

the client with the options and technology that they require

business performance of its clients?

to use our services.

A: We provide an integral service, with a specialization in vacation properties, although this is not our only focus. Our services include the development of call-centers, teams


dedicated to customer service and teams focused on supporting sales made by our clients, whether time shares or hotel chains. Hotel guests indirectly end up being our clients

43.5 million

because we represent hotels and we end up managing the

tourists in 2016

individuality and personality of the hotel, which means that we have to tailor our services to fit each brand that we manage.

26.2% Foreign


61.5% of Hotel Occupancy in


Mexico 2016 Q: What challenges does a company like Resorts Advantage


usually face? A: As a company, we must adapt our services to the specifics of every experience we offer, meaning that every hotel chain designs packages with different benefits and services. We have to adapt to every product and comply with its personality and requirements and at the same time, we must always provide an integral service. A single client can have


47 million tourists in 2017


Auto parts Foreign terminal production


63.2% of Hotel Occupancy in


Mexico 2017 Resorts Advantage  is a tourism company specialized in providing back office services for hotels and time-share companies. They handle reservations, payments and collections as well as post-sale services

Source: Results of Tourism Activity, July 2017, SECTUR % OF PARTICIPATION ON AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IN 2015

Auto parts



A few years ago, hotel owners were not keen on the idea of implementing timeshares at their properties. However, they now see timeshares as future hotel occupancy paid upfront” Ricardo Montaudon, President and Executive Director for Latin America of RCI

Montaudon says it is important to select a destination that has a significant inflow of visitors, so it can generate new enrollments and exchanges. The other important factor to consider is related to the legal details surrounding properties. “You can only affiliate developers and not marketers, since the latter do not have any real rights over the development and it is the developer who has the real ownership and right to sell; however, marketers are a key part of the developer for the business to be successful,” continues Montaudon. Regardless of RCI’s strong market foundation and brand recognition, Montaudon acknowledges that technology has enabled the entrance of disruptor companies that cater

One key to creating a successful product is differentiation.

to the millennial market. “Instead of being developers,

However, when dealing with an intangible product, the key

they are becoming a distribution chain offering a different

is to create a differentiated experience around it. RCI has

experience from ours,” he explains. However, Montaudon

made its core business the creation of a loyalty program

is confident RCI will remain a leader despite these new

that focuses on providing unique and different vacation

companies. “Disruptors will keep coming, but I believe that

experiences for each of its affiliates. “When you buy a

the market will continue growing and changing.”

timeshare, you are not buying real estate; you are buying vacation insurance, which is paying for vacation experiences

When it comes to offering one of a kind experiences,

upfront,” says Ricardo Montaudon, President and Executive

Grupo Vidanta, RCI’s largest developer in Latin America, is

Director for Latin America of RCI.

taking the lead with a new project in Nuevo Vallarta. The project is expected to open in 2018 and will feature the

The initial experience of timeshares was concentrated on

first-ever Cirque du Soleil theme park. The idea is for people

the idea of having a vacation “house” while sharing the cost

to immerse in a different world, combining entertainment

of the product, its maintenance and use, says Montaudon.

and experience.

This meant that regardless of where you lived, you had a house in the paradisiacal location you had chosen. The

Choosing Nuevo Vallarta as a destination is no coincidence.

model was successful at first but like any other business, to

In 2015, the city received over 2.5 million tourists and

keep afloat it needed to innovate and offer new experiences

this inflow is estimated to double in the next five to 10

to its affiliates. “Flexibility of use and the way we can

years. Montaudon notes that these types of projects

structure the business have evolved hand in hand, from the

are key to ensure a flow of tourists. “We are seeing a

initial exchange feature created by RCI to points programs.

transformation. The beach is no longer the destination,

Even the all-inclusive model has given timeshares a new

but a complement.”

dimension.” Part of the change can be credited to economic revenue Part of what has helped RCI stay ahead in the industry has

generated by timeshare visitors. “It is a business with an

been its ability to capitalize on the experiences it offers

assured regular customer. Whenever there is a natural

to its affiliates. “Our business model consists of several

disaster, such as hurricanes, timeshare owners are the first

parts. One is enrolling hotel developments. Whenever we

visitors to come back to the destination. They have an

enroll a new hotel it has to pay an affiliation fee that covers

economic impact on everyone: taxi drivers, hotel bell boys

inspections and additions to the marketing materials. The

and restaurant owners.”

other part of the strategy depends on the sales made by the hotel to members. If the member is happy, he or she will

RCI has kept up in a fast-moving world, overcoming the

upgrade their membership and use the exchange program,

challenge of placing timeshares as an innovative product

paying a fee for every exchange,” explains Montaudon.

for vacationing. As Montaudon says, “nobody wakes up and decides to go out and buy a timeshare. It is our job to

While it is easy to select destinations such as Cancun or

make sure people see the value of the product and of the

Los Cabos, other destinations might not be as obvious.

experiences we can provide.”


PEMEX platform, Bay of Campeche



With vast untapped hydrocarbon reserves, increasing demand from a growing population and economy and a new regulatory framework, Mexico is quickly becoming one of the most exciting markets for oil and gas companies along the entire supply chain. Despite production declines of more than a decade, PEMEX remains Mexico’s oil and gas heavyweight. But its decades-long monopoly is over and new private and international companies are entering Mexico’s upstream market through CNH’s licensing rounds, while others have started to capitalize on midstream infrastructure and downstream gasoline distribution opportunities. PEMEX itself has set a clear path forward with a five-year business plan to stabilize and boost reserves and production.

Concrete results defined 2016 and 2017. The completion of the country’s first deepwater licensing round was the highlight of Round One, and the industry now awaits for the second deepwater round with optimism. Australia’s BHP Billiton became PEMEX’s first-ever partner through a farmout. In 2017, Cheiron Holdings Ltd and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG became PEMEX's partners for two onshore farmouts, and 2018 will see PEMEX's second deepwater farmout for the NobilisMaximino field.



ANALYSIS: Historic Firsts As Landscape Shifts


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Minister of Energy




MAP: Awarded Blocks


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Carlos Zepeda, CNH


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Héctor Moreira, CNH


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Carlos de Regules, ASEA


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Javier Hinojosa, PEMEX E&P


VIEW FROM THE TOP: José Antonio Escalera, PEMEX E&P


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Timothy Duncan, Talos Energy


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Iván Sandrea, Sierra Oil & Gas


INSIGHT: Javier Zambrano, Jaguar E&P


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Hernández, Industrias Energéticas


MAP: Licensing Rounds 2018


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jesús Lamas, Schlumberger Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Bruno Lima, Halliburton


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Carlos Murrieta, PEMEX Transformación Industrial (PEMEX TRI)


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Stefan Lepecki, Braskem IDESA


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Guillermo García Alcocer, CRE





HISTORIC FIRSTS AS LANDSCAPE SHIFTS Mexico’s oil and gas revolution continued unabated in 2016 and through the first half of 2017. The country’s unfolding Energy Reform bore fruit across segments and resulted in historic firsts: the first deepwater round, the first farm-out and the first foreign IOC to strike oil in the country’s shallow waters There is no doubt that since 2014’s Energy Reform, the

allocation of eight out of 10 available blocks to an impressive

industry has undergone a profound transformation.

range of IOCs, NOCs and independents.

The end of PEMEX’s near 80-year monopoly over the


country’s hydrocarbon reserves and its transition into a

Along with the eight blocks awarded in the round, the same

productive state enterprise has resulted in far-reaching

day marked PEMEX’s first-ever farm-out, which involved

consequences for every part of the oil and gas value

the deepwater Trion block, won by Australian operator BHP

chain; from upstream exploration and production,

Billiton. Taking on 60 percent of the share, BHP will enter into

to midstream logistics and downstream refining and

a production-sharing agreement with Mexico’s NOC to exploit

gasoline commercialization, and all associated business

the block, which has 3P reserves totaling 485 million barrels of


crude oil equivalent. To win, the Australian heavyweight bid an additional royalty rate of 4 percent, on top of the 7.5 percent

As well as each segment’s specific highlights, the Ministry

base rate, and offered a US$625 million after tying with BP.

of Energy updated its oil and gas energy policy in February 2017 to reflect changes in the industry since the document


was first published two years ago. The overarching document,

One area of concern is Mexico’s crude oil production, which

titled “Five-Year Plan for Exploration and Production of Oil

has been in decline for over a decade. In 2016 total production

and Gas Bids 2015-2019,” announced a standardization of the

averaged 2.155 million b/d; a drop of 5 percent on year. As

process that dictates how Mexico’s oilfields are auctioned to

of Sept 2017, total production averaged 1.92 million b/d.

private companies.

Production of crude oil has seen a steady decrease since peaking at 3.383 million b/d in 2004.

LICENSING ROUNDS With the completion of Round 2,3, a total of 72 E&P contracts

“The only solution for PEMEX to reverse its 12-year production

had been signed, including three farmouts between PEMEX

decline is to seize all the opportunities the Energy Reform

and a third-party operators. After getting off to a sobering

offers. This involves seeking out private investment and

start with shallow-water Round 1.1 in 2015, which saw only

productive partnerships,” says Ernesto Marcos, Founding

two out of 14 contractual areas awarded, things started to

Partner of Marcos y Asociados.

look up with Round 1.2, when three out of the five shallowwater blocks up for grabs were awarded to three bidders: one


independent and two consortiums. One notable difference

Increasing oil exploration and production is the main objective

between the two rounds was the fact that Round 1.1’s blocks

of Five-Year Plan, with a target of stabilizing PEMEX’s

offered only exploratory potential, while Round 1.2 was an

production at 2 million b/d. Aldo Flores, Deputy Minister of

extraction round, increasing certainty and reducing risks for

Hydrocarbons believes this is already achievable. “The target

vying companies.

for 2017 is around 1.94 million b/d, so with the private sector’s contribution to production we should reach close to 2 million

One more farm out with PEMEX is scheduled for January 2018: NobilisMaximino

b/d,” he says. He is backed up by the results of the deepwater round, which attracted an estimated investment of US$34.4 billion over the next 35 years from the private sector. The private sector’s participation is accelerating at an impressive rate. By March 2017, a total 4,329 miilion boe of the country’s prospective resources and 273 million boe of its 2P reserves had been auctioned off through Round One, representing 4.9 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively, of all available resources under state control. Should the process

If Round 1.3 was a goldmine for national companies, Round

continue at the same rate, Flores says, it would take between

1.4 was the equivalent for international businesses. Mexico’s

20 and 40 years to get through all of Mexico’s identified

first-ever deepwater licensing round lead to the successful


NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION The year 2016 saw Mexico’s average daily natural gas production drop to 5,825mmcf/d, the first time in a decade that production was below 6,000mmcf/d. In the



2013 20 December

last quarter of 2016 it dropped even further, reaching

The Energy Reform is approved by the Senate

4,580mmcf/d. By the end of 2016, natural gas production originated almost evenly between onshore and offshore fields, with 49 percent and 51 percent produced from each

2014 21 July

PEMEX becomes a Productive State

type of field, respectively.


The Senate approves the rules by which Enterprise

11 August

The Secondary Legislation is issued ASEA is created

As well as falling production, Mexico’s reserve replacement

PEMEX law is issued

ratio had been in decline year on year since 2012, before

Mexican Petroleum Fund (FMP) is

rising in 2016 to 62 percent, up 7 percent on the previous


year. Still, the figure remains low compared to previous years, especially compared with its 10-year peak of 129

13 August

PEMEX is assigned 83% of 2P reserves

percent in 2009. For every 10 barrels of oil Mexico produced in 2016, just

and 21% of prospective reserves 28 August

its crude oil output. To remain sustainable, the rate must be 100 percent or over. In Mexico’s case, it will have to be above to address the debt it has racked up in the past year,

2015 15 July

Results of Round 1.1 are published

4 September

Round 1.1 contracts are signed by

given that an average of 32.75 percent of its hydrocarbon reserves have not been replaced since 2013.


CENACE is created CENAGAS is created

over six were discovered. The deficit between the two does not bode well for a country desperately trying to increase

Round Zero results are published

winners 30 September

Results of Round 1.2 are published

17 December

Results of Round 1.3 are published

Operators entering through CNH’s licensing rounds will be looking to Mexico’s already well-established oil and gas


supply chain to not only provide essential products and

7 January


services but also to meet local content quotas and, in the case of IOCs, gain regional knowledge and experience.

Round 1.2 contracts are signed by

10 May

Despite the projection that more work will be coming its

First set of Round 1.3 contracts are signed by winners

way in the future, Mexico’s oil and gas supply chain has various challenges to confront, including compliance with

25 August

signed by winners

international standards, recovery from PEMEX’s payment and activity slowdown and from the wider oil price crisis.

Second set of Round 1.3 contracts are

5 December

Results of Round 1.4 are published

13 December

Results of TRION farm-out bidding

All this while learning the ropes of a newly opened market and PEMEX’s updated process for awarding service

round is published

contracts. 2017


28 February

While a new supply chain is beginning to develop, PEMEX’s

First Round 1.4 contract is signed by winner

refineries are still presenting old challenges. Mexico’s crude processing capacity at its PEMEX-owned refineries at Cadereyta, Madero, Tula, Salina Cruz, Minatitlan and

3 March

Contract for TRION farm-out is signed

8 March

CENAGAS publishes Round Zero results

Salamanca has decreased dramatically since the start of

for Open Season

the 21st century as the state-owned oil giant has faced problems related to maintenance of its aging infrastructure

10 March

signed by winners

and has also struggled to maintain its oil production steady from maximums reached in 2004. Another challenge is in

8 May

CENAGAS publishes Round One results for Open Season

the form of unplanned shutdowns at PEMEX’s refineries, 65 percent of which were due to unreliable hydrogen sources.

Remainder of Round 1.4 contracts are

Sources: PEMEX, CNH





Q: What is the Ministry of Energy’s perspective on the

marketing of oil, private participation will allow us to

results of Round One and which parameters are used to

expand the existing infrastructure and strengthen the

measure its success?

country’s energy security.

A: In spite of the volatility of international crude oil markets, the results obtained in Round One were

Q: What is the expected result from the decision to allow

successful, transparent and highly competitive. With

companies to nominate areas in Round Three?

the four bidding rounds and the first PEMEX farm-out

A: We expect to receive feedback from those that have

concluded with Trion, we have achieved a result of 70

shown interest in tenders and to ultimately increase the

percent of the available areas awarded, well above

number of blocks to be auctioned, based on technical

the registered rate in the region. In addition, the best

justifications regarding potential production. The industry

conditions have been guaranteed by the state, which

selects areas in which it is interested in carrying out

will be receiving a 60 percent average profit during

exploration and production activities and proposes the

the commercial life of the contracts. The US$49 billion

configuration of areas with a greater surface area to

investment commitment by the 48 companies from 14

reduce geological risk. With the information received

countries reflects the confidence of new operators in the

and the technical support of CNH, the Ministry of Energy

Mexican bidding system, which has also been recognized

analyzes the nominations to include them in the tenders,

by international experts.

considering the investment strategy of the industry and the viability of the projects.

With the seven licensing rounds and three PEMEX farmouts concluded, we have achieved a result of 75 percent of the available areas awarded

Q: What are the objectives of the licensing rounds planned for each year? A: One of the objectives we have in hydrocarbons is to create a diversified industrial system, in which companies of different sizes, origins and specialties coexist. Under this premise, we have carefully designed the rounds so that every tender targets specific goals, either to boost the domestic industry, such as Round 1.3, or to attract

The Energy Reform opened the hydrocarbons industry to

the world’s largest oil companies that have the proven

private participation and achieved certainty in the rules,

ability to venture into deep and ultra-deepwaters, as in

transparency in the allocation of contracts and in tenders

Round 1.4.

and free competition for both PEMEX and private operators. Private investments are expected to complement those

For the remainder of this administration, we will design

that PEMEX has been making over the past seven decades

two new tenders for Round Two: one in deepwater and

to access deep, ultradeep, unconventional and mature

one in unconventional onshore. We will then start Round

fields, in which Mexico has resources that it was previously

Three, which will include a tender for shallow waters and

unable to take advantage of. In transport, storage and

conventional onshore areas and another for deepwater and unconventional onshore areas.

Pedro Joaquín Coldwellhas been Mexico’s Minister of Energy

Q: Why prioritize exploration areas with reserves over

since the start of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in

pure exploration areas for future licensing rounds?

2012 and has overseen deep changes in the country as a result

A: In Mexico, the production of crude oil from mature

of the Energy Reform

fields represents between 40 percent and 60 percent

The Five-Year Hydrocarbons Plan 2017-2021 incorporates the following improvements over the Five-Year Plan 2015-2019, which will facilitate the selection of blocks:


1. Area to be tendered: grows by 2 percent, compared to the previous round. It goes from 235,000km2 to more than 239,000km2. 2. Prospective resources: increased by 10 percent, from 38.884 billion to 42.681 billion boe, distributed across all the oil basins of our country. 3. Block size: is now standardized by project type. For deepwater, the area is 1,000km2, 400km2 for shallow water, 300km2 for conventional onshore areas and 200km2 for unconventional onshore areas. 4. Nominations: All oil areas will be open to industry nominations. To facilitate the nomination of areas, the Hydrocarbons Undersecretary developed an interactive map, which will allow companies to identify and propose the areas that are of interest to them. The map will be available to interested parties during the predefined deadlines for each tender.


of total production. Due to our urgency in reversing the

that the current regulatory framework allows to enhance

decline in production, tenders have focused on areas

the development of the assignments it was granted in

where we know there is better potential for success. This

Round Zero. It can now compete, in equal conditions and

is why we follow the logical path to tackling this problem

on an equal footing, with other private companies and oil

through seeking to increase reserves with exploration

Majors entering Mexico for the oil areas that the state is


putting up for auction.

There may now be exploration in areas with more data

Q: What will be done to accelerate the migration of

available just as there may be exploration that involves

COPFs and CIEPs and what role should this play in

greater risks due to lack of information that would reduce

reversing Mexico’s declining oil production?

those risks. However, it is important to note that this does

A: The migration of the existing exploration and production

not mean that there is no value in other areas but until

service contracts: Financed Public Work Contracts

now we just could not carry out the proper evaluations

(COPFs) and Integral Exploration and Production

with the data we had at hand.

Contracts (CIEPs) to the new modalities of Hydrocarbons Exploration and Production Contracts definitely allows

However, the operations of the new companies in Mexico,

PEMEX to establish more profitable alliances. Moreover,

the new information obtained by exploration companies

they allow PEMEX to establish alliances with those players

and all the new eyes looking at Mexico allow us to glimpse

who normally only act as contractors, allowing it to share

new horizons. This new environment will compel us to turn

risks, technology, skills and knowledge.

to those areas in which new potential is detected based on new information and naturally to take another step: to

The migration of these contracts has entered a stage of

expand exploration into frontier areas.

greater mutual understanding between PEMEX and its contractors. In addition, a number of operational issues

Q: What is the Ministry of Energy’s perspective on the

have been addressed that were not originally considered

progress made by PEMEX in its transformation into a

because PEMEX controlled all processes from exploration

productive enterprise of the state?

to commercialization, a situation that is very different

A: The new legal nature that the Energy Reform granted

under the new contractual scheme with a new partner.

to PEMEX laid the foundations of a more modern, competitive and a stronger company. Now, the NOC is

These alliances are focused on allowing PEMEX to

free to choose the business priorities that its directors

counteract the natural decline in field production

feel would have the potential to generate the greatest

and at the same time accelerate the pace of reserves

economic value and to partner with other companies to

replacement. All these contracts are in known, developed

share geological risks, attract capital, human resources

and in some cases even mature areas, where raising the

and state-of-the-art technology to consolidate itself

levels of production and reserves replacement can take

in the international market. PEMEX is efficiently taking

place over a period of months, which is why it is crucial

advantage of all the investment tools and opportunities

to complete these migrations.


BUILDING ON ROUND ONE TO SPEED UP, SCALE UP JUAN CARLOS ZEPEDA President Commissioner of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH)

Q: How is CNH building on the results from the bidding

Q: What is the industry’s main suggestion for increasing the

rounds and preparing to move forward?

competitiveness of the bidding rounds?

A: At the moment CNH is right in the middle of the transition

A: Through different conferences, seminars and panels, we

from innovation to standardization of its bidding rounds. We

have received industry feedback centered on one suggestion:

finished Round One, which was successful, and now we want

that CNH could and should scale-up the bidding process. This

to build upon that experience. From what we have learned

means that we should offer more rounds and especially include

through this round and from industry feedback, we believe

more blocks in each round. Our goal now is to implement

we can speed up and scale up the investment process and

that advice, mainly through two elements. Firstly, we want to

make it more efficient. So far, CNH has put 55 contracts up

increase the acreage we offer through the licensing rounds.

for bidding and we have awarded 39. We have 49 companies

Through Round One, CNH offered an acreage amounting

involved, including PEMEX, from 14 countries. CNH is now

to 30,000km2. Brazil offered more than four times this in its

working on 2017’s shallow-water Round 2.1, to be held on June

last bidding round, although it is a much larger country than

19, 2017. The blocks involved are not all in very shallow waters,

Mexico. Colombia, on the other hand, is much smaller and

with some reaching more than 300m in depth, which requires

has less hydrocarbon potential than Mexico but it offered six

submersible rigs rather than jackups. There is a lot of interest,

times what Mexico did in its last round. Looking at the US,

with 27 companies already signed up. On Jul. 12, 2017, we held

comparing the Gulf of Mexico on both sides, it is offering more

two onshore bidding rounds and we ran three farm-outs for

than nine times the amount we are.

PEMEX, one in shallow water and two onshore. PEMEX has already announced another deepwater farm-out, which we

Q: How will the standardization for prequalification impact

will also begin working on.

companies interested in bidding on the licensing rounds? A: Compared to other countries, our prequalification process

Q: What has been learned through Round One regarding the

is very thorough. We check financial strength, net worth,

royalty rate and investment plan balance in bids?

balance sheets, technical capabilities, contracts held in other

A: It is the Ministry of Finance’s responsibility to define the

countries, safety and environment standards and even ask

weighting given to royalty rates and proposed workplan.

for a special file to assess the lawful origin of the resources

Through the four stages of Round One, the Ministry of

they intend to invest in Mexico. Up to now, companies have

Finance has tipped the weight towards weight commitment

gone through this prequalification process every time they

and away from royalties. That was a very smart move because

wanted to bid. We are going to untangle the prequalification

the biddings are not for a fixed object but for different future

from the bidding process itself. At any point in the year,

projects. A company may bid a low royalty rate so it can

companies will be able to approach CNH and request

develop a huge project, while another could bid a high

prequalification for one of the four categories: onshore

royalty rate and just take advantage of the most profitable

conventional, onshore unconventional, shallow water and

part of the field. As the government arm responsible for

deepwater. After prequalifying, the companies will receive a

the state’s fields, we want them to be developed fully and

certification confirming they have certain capabilities, valid

to maximize the recovery factor. We do not only want the

for five years. They will only need to update CNH with their

maximum royalty possible but also the biggest projects.

financial statements and any other relevant updates.

Finding the correct weighting between these two variables is an ongoing process but we are heading in the right direction. In Round 1.4 more emphasis was on the number

The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH)was set up as

of proposed exploration wells. The result was successful,

a result of the Energy Reform. Its duties include the handling,

ending with four promised deepwater exploration wells in

regulation and oversight of the oil and gas bidding rounds in

addition to the Trion farm-out.





1 3







19 10


2 5


17 b




Bid R1-L1 R1-L2 R1-L3 R1-L4 Salina R1-L4 Perdio R2-L1 R2-L2 R2-L3

Source : CNH


1 2 20 18


5 12





8 2


4 4 167


3 4


4 11 10 7






7 2







14 7


4 15

11 10

9 25


11 13

6 10








Area (km2)

Winning Bidder




Talos Energy(o), Sierra Oil and Gas and Premier Oil


Shallow water




Talos Energy(o), Sierra Oil and Gas and Premier Oil


Shallow water




ENI International


Shallow water




Pan American Energy(o) and E&P Hidrocarburos


Shallow water




Fieldwood Energy(o) and PetroBAL


Shallow water




Diavaz Offshore

Poza Rica-Altamira





Sistemas Integrales de Compresión(o) in consortium with Nuvoil and Constructora Marusa






Consorcio Manufacturero Mexicano






Grupo Diarqco

Cinco Presidentes





Strata Campos Maduros






Diavaz Offshore






Servicios de Extracción Petrolera Lifting de México

Cinco Presidentes





Construcciones y Servicios Industriales Globales






Compañía Petrolera Perseus





Ingeniería, Construcciones y Equipos Conequipos Ing(o) in consortium with Industrial Consulting, Desarrolladora Oleum, Marat International and Constructora Tzaulan

Poza Rica-Altamira






Renaissance Oil Corporation






Consorcio Manufacturero Mexicano






Grupo Diarqco






Canamex Dutch(o) in consortium with Perfolat de México and American Oil Tools

Cinco Presidentes





Renaissance Oil Corporation






Roma Energy Holdings(o) in consortium with Tubular Technology and Gx Geoscience Corporation






Servicios de Extracción Petrolera Lifting de México

Poza Rica-Altamira





Strata BPS






Renaissance Oil Corporation

Poza Rica-Altamira





GS Oil & Gas






Strata Campos Maduros






Grupo R Exploración y Producción(o) in consortium with Constructora y Arrendadora México






Compañía Petrolera Perseus






Tonalli Energía

Poza Rica-Altamira





Renaissance Oil Corporation






China Offshore Oil Corporation






Total(o) and ExxonMobil






Chevron(o), PEMEX and INPEX






China Offshore Oil Corporation






Statoil(o), BP and Total






Statoil(o), BP and Total






PC Carigali(o) and Sierra Oil and Gas






Murphy Oil(o), Ophir, PC Carigali and Sieera Oil and Gas






PEMEX(o) and DEA Deutsche


Shallow water




PC Carigali(o) and Ecopetrol

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




ENI México(o), Capricorn Energy and Citla Energy

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




PEMEX(o) and Ecopetrol

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




Capricorn Energy(o) and Citla Energy

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




ENI México

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




Repsol Exploración(o) and Sierra Perote

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water




Lukoil International

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water


Validity (Years)

Bid Date

Signing Date

Additional Royalty (%)

Increase in Minimum Work Program (%)

Tiebreaker Payment (US$ million)

Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing














































































































































































































































Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Production Sharing







Contract Type






2.1 2.1

Area (km2)

Winning Bidder




ENI México(o) and Citla Energy

Salina del Istmo

Shallow water


Total E&P(o) and Shell


Shallow water




Iberoamericana de Hidrocarburos (o) and PJP4






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Sun God(o) and Jaguar E&P






Iberoamericana de Hidrocarburos(o) and PJP4






Newpek Exploración y Extracción(o) and Verdad Exploration






Newpek Exploración y Extracción(o) and Verdad Exploration






Iberoamericana de Hidrocarburos(o) and PJP4






Jaguar E&P





Shandong Kerui(o), Sicoval MX and Nuevas Soluciones Energéticas






Jaguar E&P






Jaguar E&P






Jaguar E&P






Shandong Kerui(o), Sicoval MX and Nuevas Soluciones Energéticas

Salina del Istmo





Shandong Kerui(o), Sicoval MX and Nuevas Soluciones Energéticas

Salina del Istmo





Carso Oil and Gas

Salina del Istmo





Carso Oil and Gas

Salina del Istmo





Jaguar E&P






(o) Operator, ( c ) Consortium - see appendix for the full Company name of the members Source: CNH



Q: What is the biggest challenge for the continued

the owner can negotiate directly with the companies that

implementation of the Energy Reform?

want to extract the oil. People are not aware of this change

A: The status quo has lasted for so long it is engraved

and neither are the judges who may be asked to adjudicate

in people’s minds, making it extremely hard for them to

cases in which a conflict arises because negotiations fail.

change. We need to make them understand that everyone

Even when talking to private companies they sometimes

has a role to play in the new environment, otherwise it will

still think the production will be sold directly to PEMEX

not work. But some people are not prepared to take on

but that is not the case. The opportunities are far greater.

those roles. One example is the discovery of oil. Before,

To address this issue, CNH is taking advantage of every

when an owner discovered oil on his or her land it meant

opportunity it finds to talk about the Energy Reform and

the state would use the land at a fixed price. Now it means

the new rules, conditions and opportunities it brings.

Increase in Minimum Work Program (%)

Tiebreaker Payment (US$ million)

Validity (Years)

Bid Date

Signing Date

Additional Royalty (%)

Production Sharing







Production Sharing


























































































































































Contract Type

Q: Do you think a new administration taking office after

a national industry. With Round One we have attracted

next year's elections could stall or even reverse the reform?

much more investment than PEMEX could ever secure

A: Mexico is a nation with very strong institutions. That said,

on its own and allowed for the use of state-of-the-

the Energy Reform is now entrenched in the constitution

art technology on Mexican soil. In this regard, we can

and the only possible way to reverse it is if two-thirds

consider Round One a success. As for the creation of

of both chambers of Congress and a majority of state

a national industry, we have seen the emergence of 28

legislatures vote in favor of doing so. The biggest harm a

different Mexican companies, which is already a small

new administration could inflict would be to make it harder

success. Major success will be accomplished by some of

for industry players to follow the regulations. Even in such

those companies when they move to the big leagues and

a case, the reform could not be withdrawn. Because of the

compete against major international companies. For that

huge destabilizing impact such a move would have on the

to happen we need time, and a number of companies

country, I do not see a possible scenario in which a new

will undoubtedly fail along the way. Success must be

administration could even get close to reversing the Energy

measured in proper and objective ways, with short-term

Reform by using regulatory frameworks against it. In general,

actions that have long-term implications. When viewed

all the different parties have different priorities for the Energy

this way, the Energy Reform can be considered a success.

Reform, be it in local content or investment requirements to name some examples, but they all support it. The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH)was set up as

Q: How would you measure the Energy Reform’s success?

a result of the Energy Reform. Its duties include the handling,

A: The Energy Reform had three main objectives: to

regulation and oversight of the oil and gas bidding rounds in

attract investment, to attract technology and to create





Q: ASEA is 2 years old and fully up and running. What have

In the past two years we have published close to 30 different

been the milestones of the regulator’s development?

technical regulations that are risk-based and nonprescriptive.

A: Two years ago we were given the challenge of building

At the end of 2016 we published all the regulations for

and designing a new regulator from scratch. We started

upstream operations, including deepwater in the Gulf of

out by defining how to cope with the massive mandate

Mexico, which allowed for an active participation in Round

of regulating, authorizing and supervising all matters

1.4. The rules, mainly inspired by international best practices,

concerning safety and environmental protection for the

were understood and accepted by the market. We have also

whole hydrocarbon value chain. We formed a strong

made good progress concerning risk-based inspections.

philosophy and well-defined mission to guide our decisions, which involved guaranteeing individual safety and

Q: What are the priority areas in for the oil and gas industry

environmental integrity while at the same time providing the

in terms of safety?

industry with long-term certainty about the rules and their

A: Offshore and refineries are the priority areas. We have

enforcement. Around that mission, we designed a model to

deployed aggressive mitigation programs to address the

manage risk. In this industry, risk must be managed to avoid

main risks associated with those operations. After analyzing

accidents and control pollution.

those risks, we came to the conclusion that our current model is working well and effectively. Close to 15,000

We designed this model around five different risk-

projects have crossed our desks and I am glad to share

management pillars. The first was preemptive: the obligation

that none are currently delayed. We successfully avoided

of every operator to work under safety and environmental

this by adopting our initial mission to guarantee safety and

management systems. The second was the obligation

environmental integrity but at the same time being aware

for everybody to have sufficient financial guarantees to

that our role is to provide certainty about the rules. The proof

cope with the consequences of potential accidents. Third,

of our success lies in the almost US$70 billion the industry

we addressed the issuing of nonprescriptive technical

has already committed to Mexico.

regulations that would target goals and performance. The fourth pillar of our model was risk-based inspection. This has

Q: How did ASEA manage the processing of so many

to do with recognizing that although it would be possible


to verify every piece of the country's 60,000km of pipeline

A: By mid-2016 the Ministry of Finance authorized an increase

we needed to be strategic and actually go where the risks

of 150 people to expand our execution capacity. That was a

are. The final element was a philosophy around enforcement

relief but still not enough. Manpower is only part of the story

aimed at incentivizing better performance as opposed to

as new systems, databases and regulations are also important.

putting people in jail.

A relevant example is how we improved turnaround times for approving gas stations. In April 2016, 40 percent of gas station

Q: What is your proudest achievement of the past two years?

permits were delayed in our system and the environmental

A: One thing I am particularly proud of is the fact that

assessment took 120 days to complete. Now, after we put

we have managed to stay focused on our original risk-

together a brief report regarding the environmental impact

management mission. One of the main milestones was

of a gas station, it takes only 10-20 days to process.

the issuing of our environmental and safety management system regulations and the issuing of regulations concerning financial guarantees. Everyone is starting to

ASEA, Mexico’s National Industrial Safety and Environmental

comply with these rules, which are two cornerstones of our

Protection Agency for the hydrocarbons industry, is in charge

risk-management model. The third is technical regulation

of disseminating regulations and enforcing compliance of

oriented to performance.

public and private-sector companies involved in the industry





Q: In what specific ways is PEMEX E&P (PEP) working to

Q: How will the delay with CIEPs and COPFs migration

reverse its 12-year production declines?

impact PEMEX’s production?

A: We are now trying to focus all our technical and financial

A: The CIEPs and COPFs contracts we hold with private

efforts on increasing the profitability of the fields we were

companies on various fields represent no more than two

assigned through Round Zero. Regarding the production

percent of the national production of oil and they are not

decline, first we are trying to stabilize production and then

representative of much of the reserves either. There is a delay

increase it, for both oil and gas. The way to do this is by

in the process itself but the process is a learning curve and

increasing our efficiencies and focusing on more strategic

we are adjusting to the new obligations CNH and the Ministry

projects. The international oil price affects PEMEX a lot,

of Energy are demanding of us. We have never done this

putting into limbo our decision-making process at times. If

before so the regulatory and execution details are a work

our goal is to be profitable, low oil prices can cost projects

in progress. We are about to migrate the first contract:

and work. This is beyond the company’s control.

Santuario, which we share with Petrofac.

Q: What is PEMEX looking for in a partner for the Ogarrio

Q: What role will farm-outs and alliances play in PEMEX’s

and Cárdenas-Mora farm-outs?

future production?

A: We are looking for technology. Ogarrio and Cárdenas-

A: We are aligning with the business plan, which is all about

Mora have reached the point where they need secondary

reversing the production decline by taking advantage of

and enhanced oil recovery mechanisms. They also

the opportunities brought about by the reform. Our goal

demand investments. We want a partner that has already

is to arm ourselves with technology, capital and execution

successfully developed IOR/EOR projects in similar fields

capabilities and we can do this through the various farm-

and that has the financial strength to provide capital. Ayín-

outs. Those involve exploration and extraction contracts.

Batsil is the field involved in our upcoming shallow-water

For some of the fields we were assigned in Round Zero we

farm-out. We discovered Ayín in the 1980s, but have not

require the support of a partner to help cover the financial

done anything to develop it. This is because it is at a water

or technological elements.

depth of more than 180m. Q: What is PEP’s plan to take advantage of Mexico’s PEMEX has developed such shallow-water capacity

untapped unconventional resources?

leaving no question about its capabilities in execution and

A: We are waiting for the regulations to be released

development. But we have only gone 140m deep. We are

regarding unconventional operations. It is a huge opportunity

looking for a partner that has worked in depths of more

for PEP with respect to development of unconventionals.

than 150m to learn from its experience and keep developing

ASEA, CNH and the Ministry of Energy are taking into

efficiently this type of field. PEMEX discovered Batsil in

account different industry voices in the regulations that

2015 at a water depth of 80m, so we have added this to

will drive unconventional development. This is not only a

the farm-out to increase its attractiveness. We want to

huge opportunity for PEMEX but also for the Mexican state.

become stronger and continue as leaders in shallow-water

We will enter unconventional bidding rounds and look for


alliances to accompany us on this venture, like in deepwater. The big discoveries are going to be in these two areas.

Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is the most important company

Q: Does PEMEX see itself becoming an IOC?

in Mexico, an international reference in the field of hydrocarbons.

A: First, we are changing from being a monopoly to being

Its activities involve the entire production chain, from exploration,

just another industry player. We definitely have the capacity,

production, industrial transformation, logistics and marketing

the manpower and the resources to manage it.



Q: How has the boom in available multiclient seismic data

A: Last year PEMEX discovered more than 1 billion boe

impacted PEMEX’s exploration strategy?

in resources but of that only around 680 million boe

A: PEMEX made important investments acquiring 2D and

could be considered possible reserves, leaving the rest as

3D seismic data, which was of course bound to the capital

contingent resources because they contain a lot of gas and

approved by the government. One of the most important

are currently uneconomic. Even though they cannot be

activities was represented by the seismic campaign from

considered reserves, we know the resources are there and,

2010 to 2015 in which PEMEX got around 100,000km2

by applying proper technology, processes and increasing

of 3D seismic, out of which 30 percent is wide azimuth,

efficiency, those resources may in the future turn into

allowing PEMEX to understand the zones with high-salt

reserves. It is a slow process but we see those possible

complexity in the Perdido area. Those 30,000km led

reserves discovered turning into probable and eventually

to the Trion discovery in 2012, turning it into the first oil

into proven reserves in the future.


reservoir in ultradeep Mexican waters ever discovered. But that was not the only discovery brought by that 3D seismic

Trion and Nobilis-Maximino are both exploration and

survey because the gathered information was also used for

appraisal projects that could turn relatively fast into

the bidding of Blocks 1, 3 and 4 in Round 1.4. A more in-

development projects. Doing a farm-out of an exploration

depth study of the data also led us to discover the Doctus

area or a discovery has the advantage of sharing the risk

reservoir in 2016.

with another company, as well as accelerating activities by joining forces to move the project to appraisal and/or

In the north, we are acquiring a new 3D survey to turn the

development. In deepwaters, we only have possible reserves

wide azimuth seismic we already have into a multi azimuth,

and it may take several years to appraise the discovery and

therefore improving the images under the salt. So far all of

then sanction a development project in order to get probable

these studies have been acquired by PEMEX, but we are

and proven reserves. To ensure the integration of more

also entering the multiclient scheme with an eye on evolving

probable and proven reserves in the short-term, PEMEX is

together. Through these actions, PEMEX expects to offer a

focusing onshore and in shallow water, where the process

higher value in those areas.

usually faster and takes between two and four years.

The 3D wide azimuth allowed us to see the Doctus

Q: What ambitions does PEMEX E&P have for next year?

opportunity last year, which has around 150 million boe.

A: If we drill the 30 wells we have in mind for 2017 we can

Nobilis is another extremely attractive discovery as it has

reach 1 billion boe, meaning that PEMEX will be aligned to

the thickest pay we have ever found in deepwater and

its Business Plan in which the base scenario is around 1.1

contains 43° API oil. We are also drilling the Nobilis-101 to

billion boe with an investment of MX$33 billion. Our work is

test an adjacent structure to the north. It is a challenging

focused on capturing the value of the Round Zero acreage

project because these discoveries are located in a water

to meet this goal in the short term and accessing new areas

depth of around 3,000m, but following the results we had

in bidding rounds to replace reserves in the medium and

with Trion and considering that Nobilis contains super light

long terms. PEMEX is looking to take full advantage of all

oil, we are confident the Nobilis-Maximino farm-out will be

the opportunities resulting from the Energy Reform.

a success. Both projects, Trion and Nobilis-Maximino, may create synergies to make prospects and the region more attractive for international companies.

Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is the most important company in Mexico, an international reference in the field of hydrocarbons.

Q: How is PEMEX working to increase the amount of

Its activities involve the entire production chain, from exploration,

reserves in Mexican territory?

production, industrial transformation, logistics and marketing





Q: How have Talos’ expectations for the two blocks it won

because of what it will tell us regarding future inventory.

in Round 1.1 with Sierra Oil & Gas changed?

We are using the exact same team to do the data imaging

A: Our expectations have actually increased over the

in the US and in Mexico. This is the kind of technology

last year. When we signed our Professional Services

transfer the Energy Reform is allowing by opening the

Contract with CNH for blocks two and seven in Round

market. There is a reason Wood Mackenzie named Zama

1.1 in the Southeast Basin, the regulators provided

one of the “15 wildcats to watch in 2015.” The well is not

previously shot seismic data, which lets us reprocess and

just important for us but also for the Energy Reform and

re-image it instead of having to conform to the current

Mexico because it shows that there is plenty of potential

product output. With this information, we are going to

in the Mexican fields.

drill the Zama-1 prospect, which is globally recognized by companies such as Statoil, Eni, Hunt and Murphy,

Q: What types of geology is Talos Energy focusing on

companies that also bid on the block.

for its blocks? A: We are aware of the potential of other areas, such as the

Talos' seismic imaging led to a discovery at around 21,500 feet subsea. The first well is flowing over 15,000b/d

cretaceous opportunities, but we are focused more on the upper, middle and lower Miocene, looking to understand where the salt edges are and where they intercept to find potential reservoirs and their boundaries. We want to ensure we can image and tighten up previous images to recognize subsalt and salt-flank potential and other structures. The work we have done so far shows the presence of quality

Before commencing drilling, we are improving the imaging

formations. One successful discovery was part of our

of salt bodies in the area because we recognized there is

Tornado project in the US Gulf of Mexico in 2016, carried

potential sub-salt. Remapping the contracted land position

out at a water depth of about 900m. To achieve this, we

after our reprocessing efforts has grown our inventory

used the same geophysical firm we are using in Mexico for

from two to more than 10 ideas, dramatically increasing its

seismic imaging that led to a discovery at around 21,500

resource potential. The first well is important because it will

feet subsea. The first well is flowing over 15,000b/d.

reveal the petro-physical and geophysical significance of these salt basins. One challenge we face is the geological

Q: What plans do you have for 2018 in Mexico?

age of the area. The upper, middle and lower Miocene is

A: Originally, we planned to drill Block 7 before Block 2

dominated by local salt, which lacks well control in Mexico

in 2018. We might drill another, separate prospect other

-- understandable given that the Mexican Southeast Basin

than Zama on Block 7 before turning to Block 2 but this

wells were built on a carbonate platform while those in the

could change as we continue to work on the reprocessed

US were built on salt-dominated systems.

data. Our lease lasts until the middle of 2019 and we want to test several independent prospects on each

For this reason, our Zama well is important on several

block before the end of the primary term. Depending

levels. Not just because of its prospective size but also

on the drilling results, we will see a significant level of activity between the middle of 2018 and middle of 2019, which will go well beyond the minimum work program.

Talos Energyis an oil and gas company based in Houston and

We want to be in the position of making sure we get the

focused on offshore exploration and production. Its expertise

right amount of data to back the government and file

includes a strong emphasis on asset optimization, exploitation

any appropriate extensions that show our commitment

and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico

for future work.



Q: What are the highlights of Sierra Oil & Gas' upstream

Block Five. Sierra also had the advantage of knowing

activities in the past year?

how the regulatory processes and economics work in

A: Sierra has become an important player in the offshore

Mexico, therefore having the ability to offer our partners

area. We consider it to be a major achievement because we

insight into how to work on their own processes. We

have managed to become number one in terms of blocks

see ourselves as an early stage developer, screener

assigned and net acreage. This has given us a level of

and technical partner and now that operations are

maturity and recognition in Mexico and across the industry.

about to start, Sierra can have a more supportive role, helping partners get established in Mexico by providing

Q: What were your initial concerns after winning two

experience and assistance.

blocks in the shallow-water Round 1.1? A: After winning blocks two and seven in Round 1.1 Sierra

Q: What are your thoughts about local content in the oil

immediately started performing environmental baseline

and gas industry?

work, seismic reprocessing and overall preparations to

A: It is hard to talk about local content in the exploration

drill. Now we expect to start drilling the first exploration

sector. Having only one shot to drill a well, investors want

well in the country, which is an important step for Sierra,

to make sure they have the security of working with the

its partners and Mexico.

very best international and local companies using the latest technology and equipment.

Sierra bid on Block 7 because it saw several strong prospects with the right quality. These prospects have

Local content is easier to implement in the production

even been categorized by consulting companies such

phase than the exploration phase, where activities are

as Wood Mackenzie as being among the top 10 global

more repetitive. Having said this, we will exceed the local

prospects in the oil and gas industry and I believe among

content required by the contracts by 15 percent.

the top five for oil alone. We started drilling Block Seven in May 2017 with a semi-submergible rig that worked the

Sierra is aware of the harsh conditions local companies

US side of the Gulf of Mexico. We started drilling a vertical

have been exposed to because of PEMEX’s budget. At

well to hit two targets. First results were available in the

the same time Mexico has become a very competitive

second half of 2017.

environment. Sierra Oil & Gas and its partners ran a tender for environmental studies for Block 7 and 2, inviting local

Block 2 is also pretty exciting. Although all our efforts and

and international players but sadly, prices from local

energy are focused momentarily on Block 7, we finished

companies were three times higher than those from

the Authority for Expenditure (AFE) for Block 2 by the

international companies. To solve this issue local content

third quarter of 2017, with the hope of being ready to

needs to be more proactive, ensuring it can compete both

start operations six months later.

in quality and price against international companies and most importantly, make sure to promote itself because

Q: What is Sierra’s role in the consortium with Murphy

most companies are not aware of the multitude of service

and Petronas that won a deepwater block in Round 1.4?

companies that are present in Mexico.

A: Everybody in the partnership contributed but Sierra’s strengths focused on commercial, technical and legal expertise. Specifically, Sierra offered an important source

Sierra Oil & Gasis focused on opportunities arising from

of regional knowledge to the group thanks to our dataset

Mexico’s Energy Reform. Its activities cover upstream and

covering over 60,000km of 3D seismic, which we believe

midstream with a team averaging 25 years of experience in the

was one of the decisive factors that allowed us to win

Mexican oil industry





As Mexico’s new oil and gas regulator CNH moves forward

next tenders, which he hopes will result in fewer “irrational”

to optimize the terms of each bidding round and learning

bids hindering the process.

from past successes and experiences, Javier Zambrano, 178

Executive Director of Jaguar E&P, believes collaboration

Zambrano does give credit to CNH for the transparency of

with participating E&P companies is vital to ensure its

Round 1.3. “If I had to rate the process on transparency, I

efforts are successful.

would give them a 10/10,” he says. His protests do not center on the way the process was conducted but on specific

His company, an independent Mexican exploration and

regulations set out in the bidding contracts, where he calls

production firm, was one of 40 that submitted bids for the

for more cooperation. “We all have to be more collaborative

onshore blocks up for grabs in Round 1.3 in December 2015. Despite failing to secure a block, many lessons were learned in what Zambrano describes as “an insightful process.” Although he is keen to highlight areas of improvement to maximize the rounds’ success, he emphasizes that Jaguar E&P remains dedicated to growth in the Mexican oil and gas market, predicting 2017 will be “the tipping point for the industry’s development.” The first issue Zambrano points out is the high royalty rates offered for the blocks in Round 1.3. “Jaguar’s target is to be a long-term player in the Mexican market but

and more proactive with feedback to CNH,” he says.

We all have to be more collaborative and more proactive with feedback to CNH”

Zambrano remains positive that the authorities are moving in the right direction by listening to players and modifying

that is not possible if you are paying 80 percent royalty

the terms based on their comments, albeit slowly. “Instead

rates to the government because it leaves no room for

of the baby steps we are observing, we need a quantum

future investment,” he says. Jaguar E&P’s obligations to

leap,” he says.

its stakeholders mean it must take the profitability and sustainability of any venture very seriously, he adds. For

Despite the problems, the company remains focused on

this very reason the company has been forced to explore

succeeding in the Mexican oil and gas industry. Jaguar E&P,

and deploy capital in Latin America and the Caribbean

he says, is working with the government and universities

despite being created specifically to capitalize on the

in Nuevo Leon to provide training and certifications for

promising potential of Mexico’s Energy Reform, a reminder

students wishing to enter the oil and gas industry. The

of the central role that bidding terms play in attracting

majority of its staff actively offer undergraduate and

investment into the country’s oil and gas market.

graduate level courses in institutions such as UNAM, which makes him worry less about a talent gap in the country.

“Round 1.3 saw ultra-high bids from different players who were likely taking advantage of the low walk-away costs and

“We built Jaguar from the ground up, and we are here for the

investment commitments just to learn more about bidding

long run,” Zambrano assures. Jaguar E&P is a relatively new

processes,” Zambrano says. He worries that, in terms of the

company, founded in 2013. It belongs to private equity fund

awarding variables, the limited weight given to the work

Grupo Topaz and is therefore financially secure. The promise

programs of awarded blocks threatens to derail the Energy

of Mexico’s oil and gas industry in 2017 makes Zambrano

Reform’s goal, which is ultimately to maximize the potential

optimistic about the year ahead. As Jaguar E&P looks for

of Mexico’s hydrocarbon resources. The company is pleased

partners who reflect its values of technology, talent and new

to see higher pre-qualification standards CNH set for the

ideas, he is convinced that the best is yet to come.



Q: How is Industrias Energéticas managing PEMEX’s

ensuring companies can bring their operations into our


territory. This will also create more jobs and infrastructure.

A: Industrias Energéticas is undergoing a profound organizational transformation. As a business, Industrias

The Energy Reform allows state-owned companies such

Energéticas went from being categorized as a micro company

as PEMEX and CFE to open their spaces and allow direct

to being a small company. We now have a building fully

negotiations with private clients. Industrias Energéticas

dedicated to business development, led by a highly trained

is taking advantage of this by offering two main working

and motivated team that is creating a company prepared for

schemes. The first is managing electric requirements directly

the challenges brought by Mexico’s Energy Reform. Since our

with final clients and recommending the use of specific types

business focuses on integral energy solutions, we consider

of turbines according to their requirements. The second

our human capital as our main asset. We offer constant

scheme is associating with CFE to propose an electric farm

training and social security to boost our human talent.

that distributes energy by using CFE's installations, also known as a porteo scheme.

Our main market used to be commercializing Capstone Turbine Corporation’s microturbines for safety and control

Q: How is Industrias Energéticas preparing for the future?

systems at PEMEX’s offshore platforms. When activity at

A: We believe that the current panorama involving a new

PEMEX started to decline a few years ago we had to expand

administration in the US, a decrease in the price of oil and

our client portfolio. The Energy Reform is completely

gas resources, the Energy Reform and a restructuring of

transforming the oil and gas industry and we decided to take

the main energy companies in Mexico create a perfect

advantage and expand our service offering and client reach.

mixture for an environment filled with opportunities. There

Thanks to private capital investment we are now working with

are also cultural challenges because people are not used to

18 potential clients in natural gas for compressors, chillers,

change and a new company selling electricity without CFE’s

regulating systems, instrumentation and engineering.

logo can create doubts and uncertainty among potential clients. To confront these challenges Industrias Energéticas

Q: What specific changes has Industrias Energéticas made

is incorporating the best human talent, technology and

to expand its service offering?

strategic alliances.

A: To expand our market we have gone from commercializing exclusively 1MW microturbines from Capstone Turbine

Regarding financing, we are working on implementing

to using turbines that range from 2 to 30MW through a

schemes that do not involve the company diluting its

partnership being negotiated with Kawasaki. The turbines we

ownership. Fortunately, we have received offers from plenty

previously worked with ran on fuel oil only but the new ones

of investors interested in our projects because they consider

can run on natural gas, which shows our commitment to the

our business model interesting and with a bright future.

use of cleaner technologies and the great potential we see in

We are participating in activities that ensure widespread

that respect. We have plans to equip our turbines with cleaner

knowledge regarding sustainability and energy security,

technologies, such as solar, wind and even maritime, as well as

which in the long run will be positive as clients develop a

combining them with the implementation of smart grids. We

more global and sustainable vision.

are located in the south of Mexico, in Merida, Yucatan, so we want to focus our attention on the southeastern region where there are fewer competitors and a more specialized market.

Industrias Energéticasstarted as a marketer of turbines for electricity production and is now offering fully integrated

In the long-term we want to expand and help offer the

energy services for both the private and public sector. Based in

country energy security that will facilitate its growth by

Campeche, it has 12 years of experience in the Mexican market



2 1


2 3






180 7





9 10







10 11 12 15

13 20


16 17 18




19 21





20 27

26 22



17 28






29 26



33 28 29




LICENSING ROUNDS 2018: THE FUTURE OF OFFSHORE EXPLORATION During the 2H17, CNH published the basis for Rounds 2.4 and

with 4,228 mmbcoe in prospective resources. Round 3.1 will

3.1, setting the table for operators to chase a piece of the still

be held on March 27, 2018 with 35 shallow-water exploration

unexplored shallow and deepwaters in the Gulf of Mexico.

and production blocks and 1,988 mmbcoe in prospective

Round 2.4 will take place on Jan. 31, 2018 and comprises a

resources. Both Rounds are design to revamp Mexico's

total of 29 deepwater exploration and production blocks

offshore exploration for the coming years.




Shallow water

Contract type: License

Contract type: Production Sharing

Validity of 35 years

Validity of 30 years

Bid Date: 01/31/2018

Bid Date: 27/03/18

Signing Date: Pending Block



Signing Date: Pending Area (km2)

Block 1




























10 11


Area (km2) 802
































Cordilleras Mexicanas





Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas

15 16

















Cordilleras Mexicanas





Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas



Cordilleras Mexicanas
















820 791

























Cuencas del Southeast






Cuencas del Southeast






Cuencas del Southeast



Cuencas del Southeast















Cuencas del Southeast



Cuencas del Southeast



Cuencas del Southeast



Cuencas del Southeast




Q: What technical and managerial capabilities has

country that drove our selection of the areas and the specific

Schlumberger developed during its 80 years in Mexico?

technologies to be used.

A: Schlumberger has acquired a broad knowledge of the 182

market, both below and above surface. We have developed

Our WAZ project has had a major impact in the market,

Mexican technical and managerial talent to assure that all the

helping support the promotion of the license rounds and

services offered by Schlumberger Mexico are aligned with our

helping our customers to make better-informed decisions

global standards. The combination of our global expertise

at the time of selecting the best area to bid in comparison

and R&D investment with our local experience is our most

with companies using the vintage data. We are planning to

valuable strength. We have partnered with PEMEX in many

reprocess nearly the totality of the offshore 3D data acquired

important projects and we are sure that we can help the new

historically in Mexico. In total, combined with our existing

customers coming to Mexico to reduce the learning curve and

WAZ, somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000km2

accelerate their results.

of seismic will be processed and reprocessed. We have acquired and processed 70,000km2 of new WAZ seismic and

I would also like to shine a light on our high-pressure and

reprocessed over 100,000km2 of vintage data. Undoubtedly,

high-temperature technologies for well testing. CERTIS is a

it is the largest-ever imaging and re-imaging campaign

high-integrity reservoir test isolation system that combines

embraced by a company in a single go.

many features of a conventional retrievable packer, including a built-in floating seal assembly that eliminates the need for

Schlumberger announced recently that PEMEX had signed

slip joints and drill collars to set the packer. On the other hand,

an agreement to license data from the WesternGeco

IRDV, is an intelligent remote dual-valve that combines two

Campeche wide-azimuth (WAZ) multiclient seismic survey

fullbore multicycle valves — a tester valve and a circulating

in the Salina del Istmo province in the southern Gulf of

valve — that can be cycled independently or sequentially

Mexico. The agreement also includes collaboration with

for increased flexibility. Within Production Group, the VDA

WesternGeco in the seismic processing phase of the project

(viscoelastic diverting acid) enables the stimulation of the

as well as for future technology collaborations.

oil and gas carbonate reservoirs, of reservoirs with multiple layers, long production intervals or permeability variation and

This multiclient contract is the first of its kind for PEMEX

horizon and vertical wells.

in Mexico and provides access to 3D WAZ seismic data in the province. The data license covers deep and shallow-

Q: How has the Energy Reform impacted multiclient

water areas in the basin close to prolific geological trends

opportunities in Mexico?

with well-established hydrocarbon systems, including the

A: All the multiclient investment originated from the

Cantarell and Ku-Maloob-Zaap reservoirs.

regulatory changes in Mexico and the Energy Reform that opened opportunities to new operators to participate in the

Q: How does Schumberger provide added value through

oil and gas business in Mexico. This market opening came as

corporate social responsibility?

a unique opportunity for multiclient investment, where we

A: Schlumberger’s core value of giving back to the local

could capitalize from our knowledge of the challenges in the

communities through a variety of different programs allows the company to aid those communities in which we are present. Through these programs we can bring progress

Schlumbergeris the world’s leading provider of technology for

and development to these communities and contribute to

reservoir characterization, drilling, production and processing

the education of young students. It is also an opportunity to

to the oil and gas industry. Schlumberger works in more than

give back in some way to society and very specifically to the

85 countries and employs about 100,000 people

communities in which we work and live every day.


COLLABORATIVE CULTURE PRODUCES RESULTS BRUNO LIMA Country Manager Mexico and Central America of Halliburton

Q: How is Halliburton set up in Mexico and what is your

detailed mitigation strategy. It has been an environment of

outlook after the first results of the Energy Reform?

open discussions and brainstorming, which demonstrates

A: The Energy Reform in Mexico has been a great opportunity

our commitment to collaboration as the key to reducing

for the oil and gas industry and Halliburton is structured to

costs and generating value.

systematically and actively collaborate with our customers in Mexico on their field acquisition plans, project definition

Another important set of discussions we are having with

and future execution. We have a deep understanding of

our customers is related to innovative commercial models

the Mexican market, which allows for early engagement

for integrated projects. We are looking toward leveraging

and collaboration with our stakeholders, encompassing a

existing Halliburton infrastructure to decrease our customers’

wide range of disciplines and job functions, from geology,

footprints and operational costs. We have seen results and

geophysics and engineering to operations, supply chain,

opportunities in a wide range of areas, which can be grouped

safety, regulatory compliance and management.

in various categories. The first is the de-risk of subsurface targets, the second is the proper project engineering and

Our collaborative culture has enabled Halliburton to capture

maximization of well construction rates and the third is

a significant share of the activity arising from the reform and

rigorous risk assessment processes and mitigation.

already being executed, while also increasing our footprint in the existing market. The differentiator for Halliburton has

One of the most useful outcomes of the collaborative

been our unbeatable performance – we are the execution

workshops has been the generation of a hierarchical

company – aligned with the proper deployment of resources.

and weighted analysis of risk, allowing the stakeholders

We have the best employees, proven application of

to prioritize the overall impact of any variable on the

technology and integrated service offerings.

project cost, schedule and quality. Once the optimum decision is defined, the project team works closely with

In Mexico, we are undertaking high-value, high-performance

every stakeholder to execute the plan and to implement

integrated projects in deepwater, shallow waters,

contingencies as necessary.

unconventional exploration resources and deep high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) land wells. The awarding

Q: What has been the indication from customers on how

of new blocks and the published results of exploration and

they will procure their projects?

appraisal activity are a substantial and positive sign for the

A: We have perceived a far more collaborative environment

Mexican energy sector as a whole and the diversity of players

from all customers, regardless of their size or nature, or

working on different types of prospects generates a new

whether they are NOCs, Majors, integrated or independent

avenue of opportunities for the Mexican energy industry.

companies. All customers are seeking some type of cost optimization to ensure the profitability of their projects. The

Q: How is Halliburton working to ensure the attractiveness

discussions on costs have resulted in great opportunities to

of Mexican assets at this point in the oil-price cycle?

reduce our footprint onsite and apply established learnings

A: We are supporting our customers by ensuring they

on best practices to fast-track the learning curve and ensure

receive the maximum value across their investments

higher performance improvements.

and also that all elements of the value chain are handled correctly. We are working with our customers, analyzing every single aspect of their projects, seeking optimal re-

Halliburton, founded and headquartered in the US, is a

engineering to lower upfront CAPEX and maintenance

renowned world leader in oilfield services and products,

costs. We carry out an aggressive review of all supply-chain

offering a wide array of solutions to upstream oil and gas

costs and latent operational risks, along with providing a

customers worldwide





Q: What are the main differences between the priorities

We have been reinforcing the timely fulfillment of our

for PEMEX’s refining activities before and after the reform?

operational programs and also of our maintenance and

A: Before the Energy Reform was enacted, regulation was

reliability programs. The safety of our personnel and of

restrictive for PEMEX. In contrast, now it will be easier

our process plants is our main concern. Priority is given to

to implement best practices and to execute investment

follow-up on every day agreements among different areas

projects in an accelerated way through joint ventures and

involved with production.

with business operating partners. PEMEX TRI’s strategy is based on these opportunities and it will be implemented

Q: What plans are in place to reduce nonscheduled

through safe operation of its assets, with an emphasis

shutdowns at PEMEX’s refineries in 2017?

on its economic performance. PEMEX TRI will assess

A: PEMEX’s first priority is to maintain safety indexes.

on a permanent basis the marginal contributions of its

PEMEX TRI has been facing operational difficulties for

operations, safety and preventive maintenance. We will

some years now and several efforts have been in place

increase operational discipline and processes reliability and

to curb nonscheduled shutdowns. However, these efforts

also implement highly profitable operational improvements.

have not attained sustained positive results because PEMEX TRI has not been able to consolidate its processes,

Q: What role will partnerships play in the revamping of

procedures and operational practices. Maintenance


and safety programs are geared toward reducing the

A: Partnerships and risk-sharing with third parties are

nonscheduled shutdowns index and to improve reliability.

strategic for PEMEX. All around the world we find this

We are implementing international standards to build

successful business model and PEMEX is looking to

predictive and preventive KPIs for timely decision-making

take advantage of it. We are looking for strong partners

that reinforces our plants reliability. During 2017 PEMEX has

willing to share operational and market risks, as happens

planned to invest US$265 million dollars (MX$5.03 billion)

everywhere in this industry. Risk management is well-

on its maintenance program.

known among companies in general and the energy sector is no exception.

Q: How has PEMEX’s downstream and midstream strategy been impacted by Open Seasons?

Q: What parameters are used to define the optimal

A: A basic assumption for the success of the Energy Reform

processing level, estimated at about 1.2-1.25 million b/d?

is the price liberalization to really have an open market. The

A: The fundamental decision is to process crude until

recognition of opportunity costs is a basic requirement in

the incremental margin is equal to the marginal cost of

the transition phase since open market prices will reflect

supplying the demand with imports. Among the measures

this in the future. This includes not only the price of the

being taken to reach this optimal level are operations

commodity but also the cost to serve or supply the different

profitability, crude oil prices, fuel prices, maintenance

markets of petroleum products. This is the way it works in

programs and available infrastructure to maximize profit or

an open competitive market.

profit for refineries, as measured by the variable operating margin calculation.

The other factor critical for the success of the process of liberalization of the Mexican petroleum markets is the open access to PEMEX’s existing infrastructure. As mandated in

Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is the most important company

the regulation, PEMEX is offering through the open seasons

in Mexico, an international reference in the field of hydrocarbons.

the available capacity in the different systems. Working

Its activities involve the entire production chain, from exploration,

together with other operators on existing infrastructure is

production, industrial transformation, logistics and marketing

the new model that PEMEX is beginning to implement.



Q: What has Braskem IDESA achieved in the Mexican market?

millions of tons of polyethylene, we have to develop a

A: Braskem IDESA is an association founded at the beginning

flexible and adaptable delivery process, including a variety

of 2010 to lead the Etileno XXI project. We started operations

of transportation methods, such as railroads, trucks or boats.

in April 2016, with our first plant transforming ethane into

Developing this network, for both imports and exports, has

ethylene using the cracking process. In mid-2016 we started

been a major challenge.

production at three other polyethylene plants, two of which focus on high-density polyethylene and the other on low-

Q: How does Braskem IDESA illustrate its commitment to

density polyethylene. As of April 2017, we have achieved 95


percent operability, when comparing average production to

A: We like to work with local content. During the

the nominal designed production, and have also introduced

construction phase of our petrochemical complex, we

our product to the local market, which is an important

focused on hiring and training people from the region. At


a certain point, we had more than 26,000 people working onsite. Armed with a premarket study, we started hiring

Prior to production we were importing products from

personnel for our future operations and bringing specialists

Braskem and other companies and selling them in the

from Braskem Brazil to train them. We started with a group

Mexican market. Now we are selling our own product. We

of 60 people from Brazil doing this task and now have fewer

faced some difficulties in achieving stability, mainly because

than 20 still in the country, which shows the skill of the

of bottlenecks at PEMEX plants, which made the pipeline

local talent pool and the positive way in which they have

unstable. To address the issue, our technical and managerial

accepted the challenge.

teams worked with their counterparts at PEMEX to ensure a constant supply.

Q: What are your plans for the long term? A: Thanks to our combined efforts we have achieved a

Q: What are the main challenges Braskem IDESA faces as

constant supply of ethane from PEMEX. Nevertheless, we

a producer?

are aware that PEMEX suffers from a lack of investment and

A: We face the challenge of convincing customers to replace

we understand how that could affect us. Having a long-term

the products they are accustomed to using with ours. Instilling

commitment to Mexico we are looking for ways to positively

in them the confidence to change requires that we exhibit

work together with PEMEX and other companies to ensure a

production stability and quality but that takes time. To speed

proper supply of ethane. To that end, we need an appropriate

up adoption, we incorporated potential customers and their

level of investment, mainly because of the lower oil prices

customers into our pre-marketing stage to understand their

and financial difficulties faced by the country. The Energy

needs, worries and expectations. This strategy has delivered

Reform is not tackling the problems the petrochemical

strong results and a high-quality product that is becoming

industry faces because the reform is mainly focused on

widely known in the market. Not many companies follow this

upstream. But we are confident that once the Energy Reform

approach because most petrochemical companies treat their

starts showing results the country will work to improve the

products as commodities, especially US companies that are

situation and we will be working together to create a positive

geographically far away from their clients. We try to work

result for the country.

with our clients as closely as possible, which has proven extremely important in the qualification and certification processes.

Braskem IDESAis an association of Brazil’s Braskem and Mexico’s IDESA, which was created in 2010. The association leads the Etileno

Another important challenge is the logistics of distribution.

XXI petrochemical project for the production of polyethylene and

With exports to over 40 countries and a production of

other chemical derivatives in the state of Veracruz




Q: What have been the highlights of CRE’s activities

good operating conditions. For now, the most reasonable

during 2017?

step would be for PEMEX to work in joint ventures.

A: A key achievement has been the gas price liberalization. 186

The original plan was to implement the change in 2018

Q: How will storage facilities be interconnected with gas

but the executive branch decided to accelerate the

station owners?

process and move it up to 2017. This decision proved

A: The US is a liquid market in terms of oil products. There,

to be positive because the market cannot be opened if

the owners of gas stations are different from those who

prices remain fixed.

own the storage facilities, a situation dictated mainly by market conditions and not by regulations. In Mexico, the

Although there were some problems, the Open Season

law stipulates the separation of these activities according

has been another highlight. The process took into account

to regulations from both CRE and COFECE. There can

best practices and market conditions but the complexity of

be some integration in terms of companies bringing and

the system posed an issue. We decided that it was best to

storing their final products via a certain system provider

temporarily halt the process to implement a simpler system

but we expect that in the majority of cases storage will be

proposed by PEMEX. It was relaunched in the middle of

allocated to multiple users. Those two models are possible

April 2017. Future Open Seasons will be more complex but

in Mexico.

we will use what we learned from this first Open Season. Companies have also been positive in their feedback.

Q: How do you expect the branding phenomenon to develop in Mexico?

Q: Which of CRE’s current projects will have the most

A: Branding is an interesting phenomenon in Mexico. BP

influence on Mexico?

has opened a service station that is the first of its kind

A: Storage capacity here is scarce. This is a big issue for

in the country. Consumers are interested in buying new

a sector that has to work with strategic reserves of 10 to

products and services and gas stations are adequate places

15 days. More storage infrastructure must be built. CFE is

to include convenience stores, dry cleaners or even banks,

working to switch from oil to natural gas as a prime fuel

from which companies can receive bigger revenues. It will

for its plants. We are working toward a way to use its fuel

be interesting to see how companies follow BP’s lead to

oil facilities. By doing so, PEMEX could double its storage

create a different product as well as offering extra services

capacity to six days from three in the coming years.

at gas stations. The gasoline business has small margins and companies must adapt to increase profits.

Private companies are also asking for permits to create privately owned storage facilities and we have awarded

Gas stations will not be selling only one brand. They will

some such permits on a first-come first-served basis, mainly

offer a broader range of products and we believe PEMEX

in the central region of the country but also in states such

has an opportunity to compete against other brands. Most

as Nuevo Leon, Chiapas and Yucatan. PEMEX will have to

probably PEMEX will become a white flag product provider

compete against and learn from other storage providers to

for gas stations by selling the two types of gasolines we

become competitive. It will have to offer attractive prices and

are accustomed to, without additives, in a more economic market. To allow for fair market competition, CRE has launched the Gasoapp, a smartphone application that

The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) is a government

allows customers to identify nearby gas stations together

agency in charge of oversight and ensuring regulatory

with the price of gas at that location. The app also allows

compliance in the energy and natural gas sectors in order to

users to report problems such as price discrepancies and

promote their efficient development

lack of fuel at a station.



Q: What does OXXO GAS hope to achieve with its new

to find a company that has both national coverage and


competitive prices.

A: This development is a big step for us. Our company has provided services and assets to sell fuel in Mexico

With the liberalization of the market, we make sure we have

for more than 20 years but having the first station with

frequent discussions with different associations and even

its own brand has been a historic moment. We have had

other businesses in the industry so we can understand any

the opportunity to evolve the brand to a more modern

new laws that emerge as the industry changes. It is important

identity, representing quality, dynamism, energy and

not only for OXXO GAS but also for other companies to


interact and exchange different points of view.

Q: How will OXXO GAS differentiate itself from other gas

Q: What is impeding Mexico from developing a gasoline

stations, especially with the arrival of Major companies?

market balanced between nationally produced and

A: OXXO GAS has been focusing on building trust with

imported gasoline?

consumers and increasing brand recognition. This is

A: PEMEX is still an important and strong player in many

important for us especially now that we have many more

regions. It is our supplier and owns all the infrastructure

opportunities to advertise our brand. When we open a

in Mexico but we also have to look to other providers to

new station, we want consumers to trust in our brand and

make sure we can offer the most competitive supply to our

know that they will receive quality products when they buy

clients. We are evaluating how best to import gasoline to

from us. Another point is our level of service. OXXO GAS

make the business more profitable and provide added value

is always looking to provide new services to our clients so

and quality to our customers.

they can get the most from visiting one of our stations. We are exploring and analyzing the cost effectiveness of new

Q: What are OXXO GAS’ targets for the coming five years?

businesses such as having a repair shop, car wash, auto care

A: We are planning to have about 1,000 gas stations around

products and other services.

Mexico, expanding our reach into states where we have little or no presence. Venturing into other fuels or industry-

Q: How does OXXO GAS face the challenge of Mexico’s lack

related segments such as commercialization, fuel storage

of infrastructure for the distribution of gasoline?

and distribution is a possibility. Our goal is to increase our

A: We are learning from other countries, talking to

sales around 30-40 percent per year.

companies in other countries and looking to apply those lessons as we search for ways to build new infrastructure

Today the operation of gas stations in Mexico depends

here. All current infrastructure is owned by PEMEX but over

to a large extent on equipment imported from the US,

the years we are going to see that change, creating new

which is subject to minimum tariffs. Changes to that could

opportunities for other private companies.

increase the cost of operations and maintenance of service stations. An uncertain economic scenario would challenge

Q: What types of alliances does OXXO GAS see on the

our industry to be more cautious about investments and


could even affect expansion plans.

A: We are looking into different options. There are many international companies assessing the possibility of entering the market and competing with PEMEX at

OXXO GASis the fuel division of Femsa. It has a network of 307

some point. We are having conversations with several

gas stations in the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Guanajuato,

companies to evaluate what would be the best alternative

Chihuahua, Aguascalientes, Queretaro, Jalisco, Quintana Roo

for us in each city under our scope because it is difficult

and San Luis Potosi



In November 1985, Mexico announced its intention to join the GATT, a move that was formalized in 1986. With this decision, the country fully entered a world that was starting down the path to globalization despite the Cold War that would separate the world’s superpowers until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The GATT deal was a giant step toward opening Mexico’s economy that would culminate in 1994 with the entry into force of NAFTA, whose renegotiation began in August 2017. At the same time, the country showed its resilience in 1985 after suffering the largest earthquake in its history in Mexico City. Rebounding from the devastating temblor, just one year later the country organized one of the best soccer World Cups in history.

In the intervening 32 years, Mexico has faced complicated economic crises, nationalizations and privatizations of some of the country’s most important economic sectors, political intrigue in Los Pinos, assassinations and even guerrilla revolts. However, the country weathered each storm as it grew and matured as an economy. Mexico: The Road to Stability is an overview of the major social, economic, political and sports events that have shaped the future of a country hoping to become one of the world’s Top 10 major economies by 2050.




The Sept. 19, 1985 earthquake that shattered Mexico City left an impact

September 19, 1985



that has lasted to this day. It resulted in the city's economic collapse but also showed the resilience of the Mexican people in the face of adversity

n Sept. 19, 1985, at 7:17 a.m., the earth groaned in

The earthquake brought not only physical

the Mexican state of Michoacan, on the country’s

but also economic collapse to the city. An

Pacific coast. Just two minutes later, Mexico City

estimated 150,000 to 200,000 jobs were

experienced one of the greatest tragedies in its

lost. Housing was in great demand, owing

history: an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale. It

to the large number of buildings destroyed.

seemed to go on forever and caused panic among the populace.

The following year, Mexico was to be the host

Homes, hospitals, hotels, schools, roads, government offices —

country for the 1986 World Cup of Soccer,

few buildings survived the great release of energy that came

with Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca as one of

from the coast and struck hardest in some of the city’s most

the major venues. For several weeks officials

traditional neighborhoods, reducing them to rubble. Even many

contemplated moving the event to Germany,

areas that survived that day met a similar fate on the next, in

but in the end Mexico presented a lesson in

an aftershock measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. Scenes of the

optimism, organizing one of the best World

disaster in the Roma, Obrera, Centro, Tlatelolco and Doctores

Cup events ever — although President De la

neighborhoods are the most Dantesque among the images

Madrid was booed during his speech at the

etched in the memories of the survivors.

opening ceremony.

In a matter of minutes, the city fell into chaos. Communication was

In 1982, Mexico began to emerge from the

cut off and 32 Metro stations were closed. There were growing

crisis. It had begun the difficult task of paying

problems with drinking water and electricity, and dozens of

an enormous external debt, and inflation had

fires broke out. More than 30,000 buildings were destroyed and

reached 117 percent. The material losses from

another 68,000 partially damaged. Television broadcasting was

the earthquake amounted to 2.39 percent of

cut off; information came over the radio, especially in the voice of

the national GDP and 10 percent of the GDP of

journalist Jacobo Zabludovsky, who became the eyes and ears of

the city. The earthquake was by far the most

the nation with his epic reporting, even while some international

expensive disaster ever faced by the Mexican

media were announcing the complete destruction of the city.

insurance industry, even more costly than the damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

The historic Hotel Regis, the Televicentro and the Nuevo León Building in the Nonoalco Tlatelolco housing project were destroyed as were the Hospital Juárez, the Hospital General and the Centro Médico Nacional. As President Miguel de la Madrid later noted, 30 percent of the city’s hospital capacity was lost. Field hospitals were set up and there was an outpouring of citizen cooperation, yet the dead multiplied throughout the city.


people died, according to the official death toll

Mexico needed international humanitarian aid to confront what looked like a war zone. After some initial hesitation, political leaders finally accepted offers from other countries and another 4,000 people were rescued from the rubble, some of them after

The date of Sept. 19, 1985 lives in the hearts

as many as 10 days.

of the Mexican people. Yet, despite the tragedy, the loss of life and the enormous

The government reported an official death toll of 3,192, but the

material damage, Mexico did not take long in

true number remains unknown. Two days after the earthquake,

overcoming the shock. Only a few years later

the international news agency Agence France-Presse reported

it became the economic, social and cultural

an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 deaths. The city’s crematoriums

reference point for Latin America, a place it

operated 24 hours a day for four days.

continues to hold today.




The 1986 FIFA World Cup started for Mexico four years earlier. In 1982, Colombia, the host designated since 1974, resigned because of its inability to comply with FIFA specifications. From that point on, a new batch of candidate countries was proposed: Brazil, the US, Canada and Mexico. In a unanimous 1983 decision, FIFA chose Mexico. The earthquake that shook Mexico City and numerous states in 1985 had jeopardized the event. FIFA even considered canceling it for the first time since World War II, but the World Championship went down in history as the best event to date. Ten cities (Mexico City, Nezahualcoyotl City, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Leon, Irapuato, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Zapopan) and 12 stadiums, anchored by the Azteca Stadium, hosted the matches. Mexico City saw Argentina lift the tournament’s trophy after beating Germany in the final. Argentina had eliminated England in the semifinals — the match in which superstar Diego Maradona played the hero with his infamous


“Hand of God” goal before scoring what many pundits consider the most beautiful tally in the competition's history and the game winner. For Mexico, the World Cup brought unprecedented international exposure and the country showed that it had overcome a catastrophe of incalculable magnitude. However, the national economy produced its own dramatic moments. The year closed with inflation at 105.7 percent, reaching 159.2 percent the following year, even though the first steps of commercial and economic aperture had been taken. The incorporation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed with two objectives: the market entrance of more foreign products to limit inflation and the importation of more foreign inputs to lower production prices.


interest rates seemed to present. On Oct. 5, the BMV saw



a day of euphoria as it reached a record high of 387,000 points. But in only a few hours, the reality of speculation came crashing down. From that day until Oct. 28, the stock market lost 50

fter the BMV collapsed in October of the

percent of its market capitalization due to uncontrolled

penultimate year of Miguel de la Madrid’s

sales. This coincided with the crash on the New York Stock

presidential term (1982-1988), the Mexican

Exchange on Oct. 19 — the infamous Black Monday. The

leader was responsible for initiating the

free fall was only stopped thanks to the intervention of

transformation of the country’s economic model, previously

the National Financial Authority (NAFINSA). However, the

based on the so-called “stabilizing development.” Following

damage was done and many amateur investors, hopeful

the domino collapse of world stock markets that began on

of rapid gains, lost everything. The slump happened two

Wall Street on Oct. 19, 1987, the BMV saw a drop of 16.5 percent

weeks before De la Madrid designated the PRI candidate

over the course of the month. The Mexican peso devaluated

for the 1988 elections: Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who

192 percent against the dollar between January and December

was one of the main figures of the so-called Mexican

1987, while the country witnessed 160 percent inflation.


Before October, Mexican authorities had been optimistic.

Forced by the circumstances, on Dec. 15, 1987, De

However, a group of enthusiastic people, without having

la Madrid and other social players signed the Pact

sufficient knowledge of financial markets, invested in the

of Economic Solidarity to establish anti-inflation

stock market to make the most of the good opportunity high

contingency measures and divide responsibilities.



September, 1988

n Mexico, the disappearance of a single


dominant party saw its official beginning in the federal elections that took place on July 6, 1988, although it started two years before

when an unprecedented split within the PRI

The "fall of the system" in the 1988 presidential

occurred, headed by figures such as Cuauhtémoc

election that brought President Salinas to power

Cárdenas, the Governor of Michoacan. Along

was marred by controversy before, during and

with Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, Ifigenia Martínez

after the ballot. No candidates recognized the

and Rodolfo González Guevara, Cárdenas

final result, and protesters poured into the streets

founded the PRD, the democratic branch of the PRI, with the aim of generating internal change to “rebuild democracy, recuperate

Federal Electoral Commission. Bartlett, now affiliated with the PT,

economic sovereignty and establish a culture

has always maintained that he lacked the capacity to intervene in

of solidarity.” The goal proved out of reach and

the count. He says that distrust was rampant in the corridors of the

led Cárdenas to abandon the party once it was

Federal Electoral Commission and that immediately extended outward

announced that Carlos Salinas de Gortari would

to political parties, the citizenship and the international community.

be the candidate. Outside the PRI, Cárdenas registered as a candidate for the Authentic Party

The election numbers were processed in the computation center of

of the Mexican Revolution (PARM) but ended up

the National Council of Population (CONAPO), but were not released

contesting the election as a candidate for the

until July 13, when the official results announced the triumph of Salinas

National Democratic Front (FDN).

de Gortari with 50.36 percent of the votes from across 300 electoral districts. Cárdenas took 31.12 percent and Clouthier 17.07 percent, while

The electoral process was questioned from

absenteeism reached 48 percent. None of the candidates recognized

the beginning by candidates such as Manuel

the final result, a decision that caused a series of demonstrations that

Clouthier of the PAN; Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, of

saw thousands of Mexicans take to the streets.

the Labor Party (PT), and Gumersindo Magaña of the Mexican Democratic Party (PDM). The

In his polemic autobiography published in 2004, former President

tension reached its most critical point when

Miguel de la Madrid admitted that the presidential elections of 1988

on polling night Manuel Bartlett, Minister of the

were rigged “for the good of the nation” and that three years later,

Interior, announced that the results would not

all ballot papers were burned to eliminate the evidence of fraud, a

be revealed straight away, requesting a recess

decision backed by the PAN. In terms of legislative power, the 1988

until 2 a.m. the following day. This was a political

elections meant the qualified majority in the Chamber of Deputies

moment that went down in history as “the fall

disappeared and that for the first time, the Senate had representation

of the system,” a phrase erroneously attributed

from opposing parties. The PRI lost 108 of the 300 electoral districts

to Bartlett, who was also the president of the

that were split between the PDN (86) and the PAN (22).



Miguel de la Madrid, announced the insolvency and liquidation of Aeronaves de México, citing alarming losses that were blamed on a recent strike of the ground crew and inefficient services. The solution was to immediately privatize the company. The operation took place in November 1988 amid presidential elections. Seven private investors and seven insurance

During the last year of the 1980s, Mexico’s two main airlines,

companies took part paying MX$250 million

Mexicana de Aviación and Aeronaves de México, registered

and renaming the company Aerovías de México

losses of around US$100 million. Although both were originally

(Aeroméxico). Mexicana was privatized shortly

private companies, the government had to intervene to rescue

after, at the dawn of Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s

them financially, taking operational control.

administration, when Grupo Falcón took control of the airline for US$140 million. The Mexican

The year 1988 was a complicated one for the Mexican

government kept 30 percent of the company,

aviation industry. In April, the government, presided by

having owned 54 percent since 1959.



The trend changed radically during the government of Carlos


Salinas de Gortari, who undertook an ambitious set of reforms to set Mexico as the head of the free market in Latin America. One of the main examples of denationalization during this process was the sale of Telmex, bought by Carlos Slim's Grupo Carso. In only a few years, the transaction made Slim

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Mexican government's

one of the richest and most powerful businessmen in Mexico

economic policy was aimed at turning the state into an

and globally. However, the Telmex deal was followed by a

instrument of wealth generation. The strategy involved

wave of criticism based on sparse regulation put in place by

a progressive increase in state property, resulting in

the government to avoid monopolistic practices once the

high levels of debt in later years. Eventually, this caused

company passed into private hands. Several media cast doubt

a drop in social spending and later the suspension of

on the sale after publishing that Telmex had been a profitable

external debt repayments and the nationalization

company in public hands, a statement that Salinas de Gortari

of the bank system, which caused a systemic and

denied. With Telmex in the hands of Grupo Carso, Mexico fully

unprecedented crisis in Mexico.

entered the mobile phone and broadband internet market.





he decade of the 1990s was one of great change



for the Mexican economy, starting in 1991 with the privatization of the country’s banks after

The inflation Mexico saw during the 1980s

their nationalization during López Portillo’s

caused such economic instability that in 1992,

government. Even though Carlos Salinas de Gortari was

President Salinas de Gortari recommended to

the force behind privatization measures, the process began

Congress the creation of a new monetary unit.

during the administration of Miguel de la Madrid, who had

This was accepted on June 22, 1992, and was

publically shown his disagreement with the decision. Rather

enforced on Jan. 1, 1993. From that day on, each

than reverse the expropriation, De la Madrid decided to create

new peso would be worth 1,000 of the previous

a mixed bank in which 30 percent of stock would remain in

currency. The aim, according to Banxico, was

private hands, while the government put liberal professionals

to “reduce the order of numerals in national

in management positions of these financial institutions.

currency to facilitate its comprehension and handling, to simplify cash transactions and to

The process led by De la Madrid also included the creation of

achieve a more efficient use of computational

the country’s brokerage houses that would be responsible for

systems and accounting records.” Banxico pegs

the management of public debt issuance. The restructuring

savings of printing new pesos at MX$195 million

of the traditional bank continued through a series of mergers

in the first three years, while from 1996 onward,

that brought the 60 banks that were present in Mexico in

annual savings were MX$85 million.

1982 down to 19: six offering national coverage, seven multiregionals and six regionals. In this context, Salinas de

The implementation of the new currency

Gortari began to privatize the commercial banks in 1989.

was carried out in three stages. The first

However, it was necessary to first carry out a constitutional

happened between June and December 1992,

reform that modified articles 28 and 123 to adapt working

focused on marketing the new pesos through

conditions at a bank to those of a private company.

advertisements and a diffusion campaign through mass media while the coins and bills were physically made. A second phase that started on Jan. 1, 1993, had the goal of

19 banks remained after series of mergers

progressively substituting the previous currency with new coins and bills branded with the serial number “N$.” In the third and final phase, the letter N in the serial number was eliminated, making the new pesos the only official currency.


possibility of integrating Mexico into the commercial block


formed by its northern neighbors. However, the first real

The implementation of the unique

The treaty had several objectives specified in article 102: to

treaty created a common market

eliminate commerce barriers and ease cross-border flow of

among the three signatories: Mexico,

goods and services between all three countries; to promote

Canada and the US

conditions of loyal competition within the free-trade zone;

step in the creation of NAFTA was taken on June 10, 1990, when the three countries agreed to establish a free-trade agreement that was formalized on Feb. 5, 1991.

to substantially increase investment opportunities in the


territories of the party states; to protect and value in an

lthough NAFTA was signed on Dec. 17,

effective and adequate manner intellectual property rights;

1992, with unlimited validity starting on

to create efficient procedures for the application and

Jan. 1, 1994, the Mexican Senate ratified

fulfilment of the treaty, for its joint administration and for the

the instrument on Dec. 8, 1993, after it was

solution of controversies and to establish guidelines for later

passed by the Canadian Parliament in June 1993 and the

trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation to amplify and

US Congress in November 1993. It was an important year

improve the agreement’s benefits.

for a historic agreement that meant the total elimination of customs barriers between the three countries over the

With the ratification of NAFTA, Mexico sought to promote

course of 15 years, as a way to face growing competition

increased access of Mexican exports to the US, its main

from Japan and the EU. China was still far from being the

trade partner. At the same time, the country looked to

agent that would later revolutionize global commerce. In

define an attractive mechanism for foreign investment

1993, two complementary agreements were signed on

that would enable the generation of increased and better

the protection of workers and the environment.

employment that supported macroeconomic stability, a goal largely cherished by the most recent PRI governments. For

NAFTA signified the end of a series of commercial

Salinas, NAFTA represented the peak of his government

negotiations that Mexico and the US had began in

and an achievement that would place him among the most

1822 and that started to bear fruit in 1831 and 1832.

prestigious international mandataries in history. Along with

During the final years of the 19 century and the first

George Bush (then President of the US and followed by Bill

decades of the 20th century, bilateral commerce was

Clinton in 1993) and Brian Mulroney (Canada’s Prime Minister

maintained in spite of the obvious asymmetry that

between 1984 and 1993 and succeeded by Kim Campbell),

existed between both economies and the absence of

Salinas showed the world the path Mexico was taking toward

a regulating treaty. The situation changed radically in

definitive modernization.


1942 in the middle of World War II, when both nations signed a new general commercial agreement that remained valid until 1950 and that was not renewed. From that moment on, Mexico based its development on strong state intervention in its economy to boost the country’s industrialization through the substitution of imports. But reality struck in the 1980s, sending the country into an economic crisis caused by collapsing oil prices, uncontrolled inflation and public debt, the drop in GDP and an industrial slowdown. This complicated situation led the government to an abrupt turnaround that calmed the markets in 1986. With Miguel de la Madrid in power, Mexico’s incorporation into the GATT was achieved. The story of NAFTA goes back to 1988, when the governments of the US and Canada signed a bilateral agreement that aimed to favor the commercial liberalization of both economies. The recently elected President Carlos Salinas de Gortari saw then the




However, negotiations with the EZLN would be the job of Salinas’ successor. The candidate designated by the PRI to succeed him as president was Luis Donaldo Colosio who, in a meeting for the 65th anniversary of the party’s foundation on Mar. 6, 1994, made clear his intention to fight political vices. On Mar. 23, 1994, in the middle of the presidential campaign,

As 1993 drew to a close, Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s administration

Colosio was assassinated at Lomas Taurinas in

could presume to have made notable economic successes, such as

Tijuana, Baja California. Another crime shook

the reduction of inflation, the growth of exports and the imminent

the country six months later. On Sept 28, José

incorporation of Mexico into NAFTA. However, 1994 went down

Francisco Ruiz Massieu, Salinas’ brother-in-law

in history as a transcendental year for Mexico because of the war

and PRI’s General Secretary, was murdered.

declaration from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and


the assassination of two men close to the president: Luis Donaldo

By March, the conflict in Chiapas and the two

Colosio and José Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

murders had shaken the markets and led to a significant drop in Banxico’s international

While Mexico, the US and Canada inaugurated NAFTA on Jan. 1, 1994,

reserves. Capital fled the country, the exchange

the EZLN, a mainly indigenous guerrilla group, took up arms in Chiapas’

rate was artificially maintained around MX$3.37

Lacandon Jungle against the federal government. Insurgents took

per US dollar and Tesobono debt — a government

the municipal houses of San Cristobal de la Casas, Altamirano, Las

bond that guaranteed payment in US dollars

Margaritas, Ocosingo, Oxchuc, Huixtan and Chanal in a demonstration

— rose uncontrollably. Most of the federal

of guerilla power that irritated Salinas de Gortari. Clashes between

reserves were lost from March to November.

guerrillas and the military went on for two years until the signing of

By December, further peso devaluation was

Indigenous Culture and Rights Agreements in 1996. Normalization

imminent. The country was gearing up to what

came in 2005 with the sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle.

is now known as the “December Mistake.”



But a series of factors were snowballing, including a deep deficit in the country’s current account, an enormous dependency on capital flows stuck in financial assets, the overvalued peso, speculative attraction of foreign capital and a drastic fall in international reserves and capital, not to mention the impact that the US recession from the beginning of the 1990s had on Mexico. The crisis materialized in 1995, with Ernesto Zedillo now at the

The worst crisis since the 1930s.”

presidential helm. Salinas called it the “December Mistake.” Zedillo was

That is how Banxico referred to the

obliged to devalue the peso during his first days in office to stop the

recession that scourged the Mexican

hemorrhage of dollars that took the exchange rate from MX$3.4 per

economy from December 1994 to well into

dollar to MX$7.2 per dollar. During January 1995, a series of measures

the following year and that for many analysts,

were implemented, including an increase in VAT from 10 to 15 percent

signaled the definitive end of a middle class

and a 12 percent increase in the minimum wage, in addition to a

that was also digesting the political and social

reduction in government spending of 10 percent. This was followed

events of 1994. Originated in Mexico, the crisis

by further measures in October 1995. Efecto Tequila also impacted

was baptized Efecto Tequila (Tequila Effect).

the financial sector, which at that point was facing a brutal increase in the amount of nonperforming loans due to an unprecedented spike

Red flags were raised months before the crisis

in interest rates. Worried about the magnitude of the Mexican crisis,

broke out, as data indicated the country was on

the US government and several international organisms sent rescue

the verge of yet another economic recession.

packages. This did not avoid the economic consequences on other

President Carlos Salinas de Gortari was in the last

countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, which faced a cut in the flow of

year of his term but in spite of grave indicators

new loans due to international fear that what was happening in Mexico

decided to not devaluate the peso, thus avoiding

would extend to the rest of Latin America. The situation did not last

an unpopular measure right before leaving office.

long, and in 1996 the region got back on a growth track.


the presidency of IFE’s General Council fell on the shoulders of the


Minister of the Interior, which meant it lacked autonomy. In July 1996, President Ernesto Zedillo announced a “definitive” electoral reform that was born 18 months before when the president and the four parties with parliamentary representation — PRI, PAN, PRD and PT — signed the National Political Agreement. In it, all parties assumed the burden

With a single hegemonic party since 1929, Mexico

of establishing the necessary conditions of trust to resolve electoral

took too long to build the necessary structure

matters in a democratic manner, as well as ensuring the legality, equity

to modernize a stagnant electoral system. The

and transparency of the electoral processes. The 1996 reform created

first try took place shortly after the historical

a new Federal Code of Institutions and Electoral Procedures that

“system failure” of the 1988 elections that led to

would strengthen IFE’s autonomy by completely unlinking it from the

Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s presidency and forced

Executive Power. In addition, it turned the Federal Electoral Tribunal

authorities to carry out several constitutional

into a specialized organ of the Federation’s Judicial Power, gave

reforms. Two years later in 1990, the Federal

maximum electoral authority to IFE and established open elections

Electoral Institute (IFE) was created. However,

for the appointment of the Governor of the Federal District. 197

1998 1997




uring and

the the


1980s 1990s,



continually rising

economic wave that culminated in 1995. The recently privatized national banking sector became insolvent, unable to handle an unprecedented increase in nonperforming loans. Coupled with the lack of experience of the banks’ new owners, the generation of car loans, speculation and the lack of supervision from the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) led to an unsustainable situation. A sloppy bailout was arranged through the Banking Fund for the Protection of Savings (FOBAPROA). The bailout managed to stop a foreseen collapse of the Mexican financial

Mexico made a great advance for democracy in the country’s

system but it cost the country

capital in 1997 by instating the right to choose the city’s head

14.5 percent of the national GDP.

of state with the modification of article 41 of the Constitution.

In December 1998, the Congress

This person would be in charge of public administration but

created the Institute for Bank

with restricted powers. The PRD's Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas was

Savings Protection (IPAB) that

sworn in on Dec. 5 by President Ernesto Zedillo. In 1997, a series

absorbed the obligations of the

of changes took place that in 2013 culminated in the decision

controversial FOBAPROA. When

to give autonomy to the capital.

IPAB took charge, FOBAPROA’s banking liabilities amounted to MX$552 billion.



Mexico, both in matters of commerce and investment, as well as in political dialogue.” Thus, the region became one of the most important commercial partners for the country’s growth and one of the two protagonists of the first free-trade agreement between

As the 20th century came to a close, Mexico

the two continents.

took a step further in liberalizing its economy by signing a free-trade agreement with the EU

The objective was to liberalize all industrial goods, mainly crops

and complementing the treaty established in

and services (telecommunications, financing, energy, tourism and

1994 with the US and Canada. The agreement

environmental services), in addition to improving market access for

was signed in Lisbon by President Ernesto

exporters on both sides of the Atlantic. Free trade of certain goods

Zedillo, Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio

was banned, such as used vehicles or products derived from oil.

Guterres, and President of the Council of

Regardless, the main aim was exceeded and according to 2015 data

Ministers of the EU Romano Prodi, President

from the presidential office, bilateral commerce between Mexico

of the European Commission. According to

and the EU has grown 243 percent since 1999, while Mexican

Zedillo, the EU could be “a strategic ally for

exports have increased by 286 percent.





t took some time for the world to understand the transcendent nature of what happened on July 2, 2000 in Mexico. On the other hand, Mexicans, went to bed that night knowing

that the following morning they would live in a more democratic and diverse country. Vicente Fox, presidential candidate for PAN, ended 71 years of PRI domination by taking the elections that the Carter Foundation defined as “almost perfect” and with the highest popularity rating in the history of all Mexican presidents. Through an impeccable political transition, Mexico was once again undertaking a new path to modernity in which the PRI, losing for the first time since 1929, admitted defeat with democratic maturity. Long forgotten were the marred elections of 1988.

despite PAN’s crushing victory, the party did not gain control of the Congress, where both PRI and PRD gained more seats. This

Fox, former Governor of the state of

situation filled Fox’s term with uncertainty as he was forced to

Guanajuato and former President of Coca-

seek pacts to make his proposals a reality. The new president had

Cola in Mexico, took over from his predecessor

widely promised to center his foreign policy efforts on reaching

Zedillo, who had been the first PRI member to

a migration agreement with George W. Bush, currently in the

open the door to internal democracy. Zedillo

White House. But his efforts were cut short by the Sept. 11, 2001

created primary elections in a party that until

attacks and by his administration’s outright objection to the

then had chosen candidates from the top

Iraq War, which he made obvious during a session of the UN

of the pyramid. He established an electoral

Security Council. Despite the failure in negotiations, Fox was

reform that took its first steps with legislative

the first president to vigorously look for new migratory norms

elections in 1997 and that culminated with

with Mexico’s northern neighbor, with which he often deliberated

the historic election of July 2, 2000. However,

during his term in office.


White House. It occurred on Sept. 5 of the same


year, just six days before Al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, DC. The invitation was aimed at regularizing the legal status of at


least 4 million Mexicans living in the US through

ince Bill Clinton, the president who signed NAFTA, no US

an integral migration reform that Bush, who did

president had such close relations with Mexico as George

not have the support of the Republican Party, was

W. Bush, who in his first electoral campaign declared the

willing to second. The “full enchilada,” as defined

necessity of maintaining a friendly relationship with the

by Chancellor Carlos Castañeda, included

country’s southern neighbor. Extroverted and of conservative ideology,

regularization of Mexicans with more than five

his personality fit with that of his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox,

years of residency, tripling temporary work visas,

as well as having walked a similar path through the private sector

border security agreements and measures to

before becoming governor of their states (Texas and Guanajuato,

prevent the smuggling of undocumented people.

respectively) and later reaching the presidency of their countries. Bush and Fox were scheduled to meet again a President of the US, Bush

month later, but Sept. 11 turned the world into a

was invited by Fox to a summit held on June 16, 2001 at his ranch

different place and the friendship between them

in Guanajuato, the date of the US first attack against Iraq in the 21st

was not enough to push the Mexican’s agenda

century. Fox also became the first world leader to visit Bush in the

onto the American’s list of priorities.

Just a month after becoming the 43





THE HOUSING BOOM At the beginning of his term in office, Vicente Fox presented his National Housing Program 2001-2006, through which he promised to build 750,000 houses per year. He reorganized the National Housing Fund for Workers (INFONAVIT), the

Barely a year and a half after rising to power

Housing Fund of the Institute of Social Security and Social

in historical elections, Vicente Fox, the first

Services for State Employees (FOVISSSTE) and the National

president from the opposition party in over 70

Fund for Popular Housing (FONHAPO) and created the

years, enacted the Federal Law on Transparency

Federal Mortgage Society (SHF) as a bank for real estate

and Access to Public Government Information,

development and the National Housing Council (CONAVI)

which became active on June 12, 2002. The

that connected the government and society for all housing

seasoned mandate-holder needed to strengthen

affairs. By the time the PRI returned to power in 2012, the

his position as a democrat, looking to re-

amount of housing loans and subsidies was 114 percent higher

establish the relationship between society and

than during the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo and a total of

government. The new law became the first piece

7 million new homes had been built. However, many of them

of federal legislation to regulate transparency

were shoddy, overdue and often abandoned by their owners.

and made clear reference to what was set out

Shortly after the PRI returned to power, President Enrique

in article 6 of the Constitution, which enshrined

Peña Nieto published his National Housing Plan to reorganize

the right to information for all Mexicans. This

loans and subsidies and prioritizing vertical housing. The

unparalleled mandate enabled any person,

announcement led the Habita Index on the Mexican Stock

independent of his nationality, to request any

Exchange to drop by almost 4 percent.

document with public information from the federal authorities, including the presidency, the Attorney General’s Office, the legislative and judicial powers and autonomous organizations such as Banxico, the Federal Electoral Institute and the National Commission for Human Rights. The 2002 law was repealed on May 9, 2016, when new legislation was enacted.


houses to be built per year





POLITICAL IMMUNITY FOR AMLO In one of the most memorable political-juridical battles in


recent years, President Vicente Fox and Andrés Manuel López

he year 2004 saw a great deal of

Obrador, at the time Head of State of the Federal District,

ups and downs in the Mexican oil

squared off in 2005 over a seemingly innocuous point: a

industry. During the first quarter, it

venue located in Santa Fe, a flourishing area southwest of

was announced that oil production

the capital city’s center that many reputable corporations

had reached a record 3.38 million barrels per

had made home, in addition to malls, private hospitals and

day. The increase in production was mostly due

luxurious residential buildings.

to the Cantarell field, a deepwater reserve off 200

Sonda de Campeche and one of the most active

The story began in November 2000 when the then Head

in the parastatal’s history. Exploitation started

of State of the Federal District and PRD member Rosario

in 1979 and in 2004, with a production of 2.13

Robles, only a few days away from handing over the torch

million barrels per day, it was contributing 63

to fellow PRD-affiliate López Obrador, expropriated a 15ha

percent of the country’s total extraction and was

section of land called El Encino in Cuajimalpa. The goal was

considered one of the most important oil fields

to build roads that would benefit the Santa Fe community, in

in the world. Another significant contributor

particular the ABC Medical Center that would benefit from a

was Ku-Maalob-Zaap, an oil-producing complex

direct access route. Only a few months later, the owner from

discovered in the same region in 2002.

whom the piece of land had been taken sued the capital’s government and called for an amparo to halt construction.

From the second quarter of 2004, Cantarell

The amparo was granted but not respected. On May 17, 2004,

entered a free fall that continues to this day.

the Attorney General’s Office directly accused the new Head

Lack of investment and intensive exploitation

of State, López Obrador, of disregarding a legal order for

of the well were the two main reasons for

not respecting the amparo and requested the Chamber of

this downturn, coupled with the parastatal’s

Representatives to remove his political immunity to put him on

disinterest in new reserve discoveries. PEMEX

trial. Almost a year later, on April 7, 2005, the lower chamber

did not care about the well’s return either,

unanimously voted in favor of the removal of immunity.

meaning that the speed with which oil reserves were replaced did not match sold units. In 2004,

This process was perceived as a showdown between the

the crisis reached a point where for every four

federal and local governments, causing a split in Mexican

barrels of oil sent to market, less than one was

society, especially among the capital’s inhabitants. On the

added to national reserves.

one hand were those that saw the process to remove López Obrador’s immunity as an excuse to reduce his chances of

Currently, all hopes for the Mexican oil industry

winning the 2006 presidential elections, in which he was one

are pinned on the Energy Reform carried out

of the two main contenders. On the other were those from

by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Tenders for oil

PRI, PAN and all sectors that saw his ascension to power as

fields as part of the liberalization of the sector

a danger for Mexico. The head of state’s sympathizers took

promise renewed activity that will enable the

part in a large demonstration on April 24, 2005, known as the

country to produce 3 million crude barrels per

“March of Silence.” It is estimated that over 1 million people

day in 2018 and 3.5 million in 2025.

set off from the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City and headed to the Zócalo, the city’s main square.

3.38 million barrels per day

Surprisingly for many, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it would not go through with the legal proceedings against the PRD presidential candidate. “In spite of the corpus delicti and the probable responsibility of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the crime attributed to him, currently there is no penalty that exactly fits the case.” Thus, the file was closed.




elipe Calderón Hinojosa became President of Mexico on Dec. 1, 2006, after winning one of the narrowest elections in the country’s history. In

the elections, held on July 2, 2006, the PAN candidate obtained a minuscule difference over his rival Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the PRD candidate. Equality in results was so tight that the candidates had to wait for the verdict to be published on July 6 by the IFE. Calderón, Minister of Energy during the presidency of Vicente Fox, became the second PAN president since the party broke the 71-year PRI leadership in 2000. The controversy was the center of the election night and the following days, when the recount took place. Calderón’s term in office began with the establishment of a head-on attack on organized crime on Dec. 11, 2006, when in Michoacan, the president's birth state, he announced what would later be known as the War on Drugs. In economic matters, Calderón’s presidency saw the lowest level of inflation ever, stable public debt and significant investment in infrastructure, especially in highways. Another achievement of his term was to entrench human rights in the constitution.



group’s target. The group also caused a fire that reached a height of 300m in a pipeline close to the QueretaroCoroneo highway, forcing the evacuation of 5,000 people from 20 communities. According to an ERP press release, the attacks were part of a harassment campaign against Calderón’s government. This series of attacks came just after Mexico had become

Between July and September 2007, at the beginning

a target of Al-Qaeda, which in its newsletter Saut al Yihad

of Felipe Calderón’s presidency, several ducts and

in February 2007, called on its mujahedeen to attack the oil

sectioning valves belonging to PEMEX exploded

facilities of all countries that supplied to the US, among which

after being attacked by the Revolutionary Army of

it mentioned Venezuela, Canada and Mexico. Companies

the People (ERP), a group formed in 1996. In Celaya,

impacted by the attacks included Vitro, IBM, Honda and

Salamanca and the Valley of Santiago, Guanajuato, and

Volkswagen. Red alert protocols were activated in the

in Presa de Bravo, Queretaro and in Tlaxcala, Veracruz

impacted areas, while the army and the navy took charge of

and the Gulf of Mexico, oil facilities became the armed

security at PEMEX and CFE facilities in strategic locations.



THE MORTGAGE CRISIS The resounding crash of the US bank Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15, 2008, was not the only piece of financial news that shook the Mexican market that year. The Mexican peso was depreciating and Banxico’s reserves





he origin of the economic crisis that shook the world between 2008 and 2009 first emerged in the final months of 2007. By 2008, banks in the US, the UK and Germany had already gone

bankrupt or had to be rescued. The repercussions in 2009

were also falling. This was bad news for

were global and Mexico was no exception. Agustín Carstens,

the national economy but even worse for

then Minister of Finance and Public Credit, gave an interview

Mexican corporations that had invested in

in February 2008 in which he assured that the US crisis

derivative instruments and that in only three

would only spread to Mexico as a “light cold” rather than

weeks reported joint losses of US$2.5 billion.

“pneumonia,” although he admitted that “it would hit us,

Comercial Mexicana (COMERCI), Cemex, Vitro,

without a doubt.” As the year progressed, however, he had

Gruma, ALFA, Bachoco and Grupo Posadas

no option but to lower the country’s growth expectations.

trembled when faced with the reality of having overexposed themselves to such an apparent

It was not until May 2009 that the Ministry of Finance and

risk. The parent company of Comercial

Public Credit recognized that Mexico was in an economic

Mexicana, which had only recently announced

recession. The private sector faced an unfavorable

it was ready to take on the retail giant Walmart,

environment for investment, productivity and the generation

lost US$1.08 billion and was obliged to declare

of new employment. The US recession primarily hit two

insolvency. The fallout of the crisis included

of Mexico’s export sectors: automotive and electricity. In

a call for authorities to increase supervision

addition, only a few months before, the mortgage crisis

and improve the regulatory framework. At the

had placed six of the main private corporations in difficulty.

same time, corporations implemented more

The last straw was the H1N1 outbreak that hastened the

efficient measurements of risks, norms on

economic slowdown in the second quarter of 2009 and

the minimum revelation of incurred risks (to

had a strong impact on sectors such as commerce and

shareholders, for example) and responsible

tourism. Experts confirmed that Mexico was facing the

use of derivatives.

worst recession in 70 years.



On Aug. 28, 2010, Mexicana de Aviación grounded its last plane. One of the oldest aviation companies in the world, it had accumulated debt of over MX$15 billion, making it insolvent and forcing it to look for new investors to revive its operations. Grupo Posadas, which had been the company’s owner since President Vicente Fox denationalized the company in 2005, made the decision after several attempts at internal restructuring that aimed to take the company back to its former glory.


On Dec. 31, 2011, the debt of federal entities and municipalities reached a


chilling MX$391 billion, 67.9 percent more than in 2008. As described by the Superior Audit Office in August 2012, debt was directly connected to the vulnerability of income linked to fiscal participation, an increment in most components of spending, the presence of contingent factors such as natural disasters and money distributed with no transparency. In an analysis, the Financial Studies Foundation (Fundef) of ITAM warned: “There are reasons that explain, at least partially, the strong indebtedness of states in this period. But the worry is related to the experiences of some states that incurred deep indebtedness in a short time and on occasions, in circumstances that were not transparent.”


THE RETURN OF THE PRI After 12 years in the political wilderness, the PRI regained the reins of power, vaulting Enrique Peña Nieto to the presidency


hen Enrique Peña Nieto ascended to the presidency he spoke of the past to guide the future. “The past is our identity and a source of inspiration for us and it will continue to be so

in my government,” he said on Dec. 1, 2012 during his swearing-in ceremony following elections held in July. The PRI was returning to power after 12 years that had seen the PAN retain the presidency, first with Vicente Fox and then with Felipe Calderón. The electoral victory of Peña Nieto, the former governor of the State of Mexico, was marked by the comfortable advantage he maintained during the electoral campaign over his rivals Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the PRD and trying for the presidency for a second time, and Josefina Vázquez Mota, from the PAN, who was participating

The PRI had returned with renewed ideas,

with the backing of the party in power. However, the campaign was

although with the same capacity for ideological

not easy. The then-candidate had to face citizen movements like

adaptation mentioned years before by former

the #Yosoy132 that began on May 11, 2012 after the PRI candidate

President Luis Echeverría: “The PRI is not from

visited the Iberoamerican University. There, he was chased out by

the right nor the left, but the exact opposite,”

132 students who he said were paid by his opponents. This was the

he declared. In its return to the presidency,

first student movement to begin in a private university in Mexico and

the PRI managed ups and downs in only three

came in the context of other social movements around the world,

years. The new government started with large

such as those seen in New York, Madrid, Cairo, Hong Kong and Taipei.

doses of optimism, caused by the announced structural reforms. However, positive publicity

Less than 24 hours after his speech in December 2012, in which Peña

turned negative after the publication of

Nieto emphasized the institutional vocation of the country, came the

the “White House scandal,” a building that

first great agreement of his government: the Pact for Mexico. Signed

belonged to the president but which was

by the representatives of the main political parties, it included a

was paid for by Grupo Higa, one of the main

more radical participation of private capital in oil exploitation, which

contractors of the State of Mexico during

the PRI itself had nationalized in 1938. This agreement of national

the time Peña Nieto was governor. Another

consensus opened the door to other structural reforms in areas

stain was the disappearance of 43 teachers-

such as education, electoral policy, economic competition and

in-training from the state of Guerrero, the


investigation into which is ongoing today.




THE 43 OF AYOTZINAPA The last days of September 2014 forever marked President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term. On Sept. 26, a group of students


On Feb. 26, 2013, Elba Esther Gordillo landed

from the Normal School for Teachers of Ayotzinapa in

aboard her private jet at the Toluca International

Guerrero was attacked by local police under orders of Iguala's

Airport, unaware she would be arrested by

Mayor, José Luis Abarca. Six people died, 25 were hurt and 43

agents of the Attorney General’s Office in

disappeared without a trace. Abarca was arrested with his wife

collaboration with the Navy. La Maestra, as

in Mexico City a few days later on Nov. 4, Ángel Aguirre, then

she is commonly known, was one of the most

governor of the state of Guerrero, would also leave his position

powerful women in Mexico and the absolute

to create a “political climate” that enabled the resolution of the

leader of the National Union of Education

unknowns of the case. Urged by parents and family members,

Workers (SNTE), the largest in Latin America.

the search for the missing fell onto the Attorney General’s

Gordillo was accused of money laundering

Office, which sent a group of investigators to the area to find

and organized crime after prosecutors found

the “43 of Ayotzinapa,” which is how they would be known

evidence that between 2009 and 2012 she led

from that moment on. Several communal graves were found

a network that took MX$2.6 billion from union

in the surrounding area but the DNA did not match that of

coffers. With her arrest, a new dynamic between

the students. During that time, condemnation flowed in from

the teaching body and the government began.

around the globe. The 43 remain missing.

countries in the world. Each would make necessary changes in sectors such as energy, telecommunications, economic competition, taxes, labor conditions, education, the penal system, transparency, politics and justice. Only a day after taking control and to guarantee the success of his reforms, President Peña Nieto brought the main leaders of each political party together to the Castle of Chapultepec, in Mexico City, to sign the Pact for Mexico. The goal, according to the government: “Elevate productivity, strengthen and amplify rights and to secure the democratic regime and freedoms.” It was the first time in the country’s history that a political consensus of such magnitude




was reached, which showed the world and top foreign investors a democratic maturity rarely seen in the region. In addition, a high rate of economic growth was projected. This would be reflected in Mexico’s positioning as one of

nrique Peña Nieto was sworn in as Mexico’s president on

the great Latin American players. One of Peña

Dec. 1, 2012, after winning elections that returned the PRI to

Nieto’s ambitions was to reach each agreement

the presidency. During his electoral campaigns, the former

through consensus with each political force, a

governor of the State of Mexico had promised a series of

plan that the president achieved through his

structural reforms that would place Mexico among the most developed

transformation proposals.


US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP After a highly controversial race, the real estate tycon and billionaire landed in the White House. It was a stunning victory that would have repercussions for Mexico


he US presidential elections held on Nov. 8, 2016, concluded with a tight victory by Donald Trump over his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. The businessman, born in New York in 1946,


became the 45 th US president after one of the most controversial election campaigns in the country’s history. The presidential campaign officially began for him on June 15 of the previous year, when the former television celebrity gave his first speech at the Trump Tower in his home town under the motto Make America Great Again. From that moment on, he started a race against the clock that would end on Jan. 20, 2017, when he was officially invested in Washington, DC, as the new president. The campaign, defined by many analysts as populist, revolved around the axis of economic protectionism that would later mix with messages interpreted as racist and xenophobic by some of the world’s most influential journalistic conglomerates. Mexico and Latin immigration



were at the center of his targets, so much so that one of his earliest electoral promises was the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border and the unilateral

The unilateral disruption of NAFTA, a free

breakdown of NAFTA.

trade agreement signed by Mexico, the US and Canada that came into force on Jan. 1, 1994, was

This tense situation did not stop the Republican candidate

one of Donald Trump’s electoral promises and

from winning victory in traditionally Democratic states

one of his top goals after becoming the new

such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, where he was able to

tenant of the White House. In Trump’s view, this

rescue the discontent of an impoverished white class that

treaty was the catalyst that impoverished the

was not represented in the thesis proposed by Clinton.

American middle class. Against this backdrop,

The Democratic candidate, however, began election day

the first round of renegotiations began among

leading most of the polls, but eventually succumbed to

the three countries on Aug. 16. On the table

what only two years earlier seemed an impossibility.

were some of the most relevant issues for each party, including rules of origin, trade remedies

With Trump as the new tenant in the Oval Office, a new

for antidumping and subsidies, transparency

era dawned in US foreign policy, including a move toward

and anti-corruption, intellectual property

Russia and away from traditional allies such as the EU

protection, financial services and investment.

and the launching of an escalating war of words with

Throughout 2017, there were up to three more

North Korea. Since taking office, Trump’s main objective

rounds, with relative success for Mexican

has been to overturn some of the projects proposed by

interests. The renegotiation will continue

his predecessor, Barack Obama, mainly those related to

into 2018, a year marked by the presidential

public health, immigration and climate change.

elections in Mexico.

La Venta wind farm, Oaxaca, Gamesa



As the Mexican energy market opens for the participation of national and international companies, CENACE already took control of electricty transmission and distribution operations, CENAGAS of natural gas transportation and CRE of the regulatory framework, real market prices will offer a liberalized playing field for the interested parties, a greater number of players are looking for opportunities to capitalize on the new businesss scheme that the Mexican energy market offers. Two long-term electricity auctions already took place, and the basis for a third longterm and one mid-term electric auctions were established by SENER during 1Q17.

CFE remains as the main player in the country with business units for generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization. Nevertheless, its efforts to become a full-fledged and profitable public enterprises are starting.

This chapter provides a glance at the major milestones achieved in Mexico's electricity sector, both from the regulator's perspectie and the valuable insights of key players across the value chain on the industry's opportunities, challenges and major trends.



ANALYSIS: Maintaining Momentum


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Minister of Energy


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Guillermo García Alcocer, CRE


INSIGHT: Jaime de La Rosa, AME


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jaime Hernández, CFE


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Philippe Delmotte, ENGIE México


EXPERT OPINION: Paolo Romanacci, Enel Green Power Mexico


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Saltre, Ventus


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Hongbin Fang, LONGi Green Energy Technology


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Enrique Giménez, Fisterra Energy


VIEW FROM THE TOP: José Pablo Fernández, Grupo Dragón


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Alberto Haito, Clifford Chance


Martin Menski, Clifford Chance

VIEW FROM THE TOP: Francis Pérez, Nestlé México



MAINTAINING MOMENTUM Mexican regulators have pulled all the stops to provide a regulatory framework that will strengthen every link of the industry’s value chain and guarantee competitive schemes on a level playing field. For the energy industry, 2017 was about maintaining, and even ramping up, the momentum from the year before While staying true to its objective of increasing electricity

anticipate that the energy percentage that other suppliers,

generation through clean energy sources up to 35 percent

outside of basic supply, will purchase through the chamber

of the country’s total energy mix by 2024, Mexico has also

will be relatively low, although it will keep growing over

set an ambitious 100 percent coverage goal through the

time. In the long-term, as the energy volume increases, the

Universal Electric Service Fund, launched in May 2017. The

impact will be consequential and will be reflected in the

fund is intended to extend CFE’s electricity distribution

final consumer price through increased volume and number

capacity to the doorstep of remote communities and also

of private suppliers offering energy.”

to install off-grid systems where extending the grid is not 210

viable. The Ministry of Energy published the first tender

The year also saw the country release terms for its first

for off-grid contracts that will impact 898 municipalities

midterm electricity auction, the goal of which is to provide

across 11 Mexican states, to install more than 10,000 off-grid

certainty and reduce exposure to price volatility for

systems that will benefit approximately 45,000 habitants,

electricity spot-market players. In August 2017, the Ministry

amounting to an investment of US$23 million.

of Energy launched the basis for the third long-term auction, with the results set to be announced in February

Capitalizing on the success and learning from the results of the

2018. The primary objective of this new instrument is to

first two long-term electricity auctions, the terms for the third

allow energy suppliers and energy purchasers to participate

long-term auction, published in May, took Mexico’s energy

in contracts with terms no longer than three years. “Private

transition one step further, and expectations are high. Minister

players are hesitant to sign long-term bilateral contracts

of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, declared this third edition

given that predicting market behavior is complex, while

could triple Mexico’s electricity production from clean energy

renewable technologies are experiencing a downward slope

sources, continue the low tariff tendency of the previous two

in costs. Three-year terms provide acceptable risk levels

editions and attract an estimated additional US$3 billion in

as well as equating tariffs with market tendencies” says

investments. The auction was to take place in November 2017

Cruz. In comparison to the long-term electricity auctions,

with the results announced sometime later. One key feature

“shorter terms mean different financial schemes. This is

sets apart this third edition: the Clearing Chamber.

where commercial banking feels more comfortable and more likely to participate through mini-perms,” says Marian

Through this innovative instrument, CFE will no longer be

Aguirre, Energy Finance Deputy Director of Bancomext.

the sole purchaser of power, energy and CELs, opening the door to private players, provided they prove their

As a testament to Mexico’s commitment to empowering

credit worthiness. KPMG’s Energy and Natural Resources

consumers through a liberalized energy market and

Lead Partner, Rubén Cruz, says the Clearing Chamber is

transitioning to a cleaner energy mix – enshrined in the

a “positive step forward toward building up an energy

Energy Reform – the country was admitted as a new

market. The reform’s mandate clearly stipulates reaching a

member of the OECD’s International Energy Agency

wholesale market with diversified purchasers and suppliers.

(IEA) by a unanimous vote on June 21, 2017. The agency

A single off-taker, instead of creating market conditions,

determined Mexico’s energy policy is aligned with the IEA’s

impacts power producer’s margins and value through the

shared objectives of following international best practices

former’s purchasing power.”

and designing policies oriented toward sustainability and market competitiveness.

While the industry welcomes the Clearing Chamber, some note that these are still early days; it will take time


before the true effect of the chamber is realized. “Mexico’s

Making long-term electricity auction projects bankable is

renewable energy scene is seeing an increased number of

one of the biggest challenges posed by the new market.

private energy traders and suppliers, but the aggregate

Compartmentalizing risk within the different stages of the

volume they can purchase in the market at the moment is

project, relying on best practices, integrating innovative

not significant enough for the Clearing Chamber to have a

financing schemes and reaching financial closure are but a

decisive and notable impact,” says Eduardo Reyes, Partner

few of the elements that turn project development into a

Power & Utilities of Strategy, a PwC consulting group. “We

success story. “So far, two strategies have dominated the

auction process: either you equate your offer price to your

financing model for electric transmission lines where private

cost structure and see if it sticks, or you take a deeper

third parties can participate. The announcement of the

look at the market, the competitive context and converge

first bid for a major transmission line project, parallel to

accordingly with the value chain to identify the prices that

transmission line development on behalf of CFE with private

need to be reached,” says Adrián Katzew, Director General

players, was expected to be announced in November 2017.

of Zuma Energía. “The execution phase is highly specialized,

In its latest 2017-2031 version, PRODESEN is scheduling the

working with banks and contractors to close pending

construction of 23,772km2 of transmission lines, meaning

contracts and begin project construction. This stage

an investment of US$11.5 billion.

is particularly fulfilling in the sense that we are defining unprecedented financial structures – meeting the require

Mexico’s energy authorities are not alone in this effort:

ments of annual energy volume, CELs, alternate markets

“We are backing PRODESEN’s process of developing

that used to honor those obligations – and studying their

the country’s electricity network. There is a significant

intrinsic risks in relation to our business.”

investment forecast in the expansion and digitalization of the network and we are pushing for an automated

Development banking institutions will have a key role to play

and smarter network with balanced power loads, as

in ensuring the success of the auction projects, which in turn

well as providing the equipment for a sturdier grid,”

will send positive signals to the market. “Banobras finances

says Alejandro Preinfalk, Vice President of Energy

infrastructure projects, Nafin focuses on production chains

Management for Siemens Mexico.

and Bancomext fosters foreign trade. Despite specializing in different segments and having different mandates, all three development banking institutions are placing capital in energy


projects to respond to the sector’s high financing needs. Put


together, we represent a joint portfolio of more than US$2.5 billion dedicated to these projects,” says Bancomext’s Aguirre. Social impact is the other element that project developers need to tackle head on. “Energy projects need to be directly related to social development. Energy projects are by


nature long-term investments and are sprouting in different

Thermoelectrics „„69% Geothermal 12% Coal „„ Nuclear „„12% Hydropower Nuclear „„4% Hydropower 2% Geothermal „„ Coal „„1% Wind Thermoelectric

locations, surrounded by different communities. Coherent corporate social responsibility policies are at the core of this necessity. Companies that show resolve in finding ways in

Source: Ministry of Energy

which a project can give back and have a positive impact on a communities’ quality of life are those that will see


their project prosper in the long-term,” says Ángel Lárraga,

While on-site power generation is an important element

President of AME and Gas Natural Fenosa.

of the country’s Energy Reform, Mexico had already experimented in that area prior to 2013, with bidirectional


contracts with CFE and regulated by CRE. The scheme

Boosting Mexico’s installed capacity to address the expected

stipulated that whenever energy surpluses were produced,

increase in demand for electricity also requires sturdy and

CFE stored them in a virtual energy bank for one year to

lengthy infrastructure to transmit and distribute it to key

be used at a later date. This initiative was the precursor to

consumption points. Controllable demand and automated

creating an appetite for residential and commercial solar

processes will be at the core of strengthening the grid by

systems in Mexico.

avoiding saturation and guaranteeing a seamless supply of electricity. “In 2017, we published the Program for Smart

“Distributed Generation 2.0 regulations allow the closing

Electricity Grids. We designed a systemic vision to integrate

of an interconnection contract with CFE through which

new technologies under specific time frames, mirroring

you can not only store energy surpluses but also sell

international tendencies. Progressive incorporation of energy

them under net billing and net metering schemes,” says

storage, controllable electricity demand, electric cars and IoT

Guillermo Zúñiga, Commissioner of CRE. Between 2013

are contemplated in this program,” says César Hernández,

and 2017, according to CRE’s statistics small and medium-

Deputy Minister of Electricity at the Ministry of Energy.

scale interconnection contracts increased from 4,613 to 40,109, respectively. Installed capacity in that period

In line with Mexico’s Electric System Development Program

went from 29,131kW to 304,167kW, an impressive tenfold

(PRODESEN), the Ministry of Energy developed a new

increase for an incipient subsector.





Q: What strategies has Mexico incorporated into its energy

We have 15 connection points on the US-Mexico border

policy to better face the global market?

through which natural gas is imported and distributed to

A: Despite the complex global landscape and price volatility

the country’s manufacturing centers. When it comes to

in the international market, the Reform is maintaining a

pipelines, there are four US companies building them, either

favorable position and legal certainty, which in turn creates a

on national territory or the border. The opening of diesel and

trustworthy environment for investors. When it comes to the

gas imports to Mexico has driven some US companies to

electricity sector, the Reform created innovative mechanisms

create projects for importing oil through the development of

to further open the market and incentivize the entrance of

transportation infrastructure. In electricity we are expanding

new participants. The objective is to generate a higher supply

and modernizing the points of interconnection to increase

of electricity, giving priority to clean energies. In less than a

our electricity commerce and support infrastructure in the

year, we successfully executed two long-term power auctions

event of contingencies. There are 11 points of electricity

that are promoting the construction of higher capacity and

interconnection with the US and we are working on creating

sustainable infrastructure. In November we will launch a

three more.

third one. We have also introduced the CELs mechanism that establishes minimum percentages for renewable

Q: What are the ministry’s main goals for the next two years

electricity consumption for large electricity consumers. In

regarding the energy sector's development?

2018, the requirement will be at least 5 percent and by 2019

A: The Ministry of Energy has defined four goals for the

it will increase to 5.8 percent. We are also expanding the

initial phase of the Energy Reform. The first involves igniting

transmission grid to better deliver the energy produced in

major public and private investment through the oil rounds.

areas of the country with high potential for clean generation.

Our second goal is consolidating the energy market and

We are working on making the Mexican energy sector more

promoting new supply options to end users. The Ministry

competitive, strengthening the national industry and making

will continue liberating the natural gas market to make sure

sure it stays at the forefront of policies oriented toward the

the pipelines administered by CENAGAS operate under a

energies of the future.

capacity reserve scheme, along with further liberation of prices in most parts of the country. The third objective

Q: How are energy policies in Mexico affected by the

is to continue expanding the National Pipeline Network

agreements at the North American Leader’s Summit?

as part of our Comprehensive Strategy for Natural Gas

A: Mexico and the US have built a robust agenda of cooperation

Supply. The government is committed to a considerable

on topics such as energy exchange and strategic integration.

expansion of the national network of pipelines. In the last

With the Energy Reform, Mexico took an important step

four years we have obtained firm commitments for 7,762km

toward the integration of the North American markets which

of pipelines up to 2019. The electricity sector agenda is

will help transform the region into one of the most competitive

equally ambitious. The ministry plans to advance clean

in the world. Of the 48 new companies that are participating in

energy generation, our fourth objective. We have already

the national energy sector, eight are from the US. The numbers

launched the basis for the third long-term electric auction.

show the interest and mutual benefits that can be achieved

This auction will differ from the previous ones because the

through an interconnected economy.

private sector will be allowed to acquire energy, capacity and CELs. We are also working on the tender for the first HVDC line in Mexico that will connect the Tehuantepec

Pedro Joaquín Coldwellhas been Mexico’s Minister of Energy

Isthmus with the central region, the first ever opened to

since the start of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in

private players in this segment. We will also announce the

2012 and has overseen deep changes in the country as a result

tender guidelines for a transmission line to connect Baja

of the Energy Reform

California with the national grid.



Q: What does the universe of power-generation permits

industry. CFE was playing it safe to see how the market

handled by CRE look like at the moment?

reacted before making any major bids. It was the first time

A: As of Feb 2017, we are managing 1,072 permits under

the Ministry of Energy, CENACE and CFE conducted such

the legacy scheme against 284 permits issued under the

a process, so they wanted to learn from it. The outcome

new regulations. Not all of these belong to plants already

of that first auction was qualified as a success by several

in operation. Some are from companies looking to establish

international media, including The Economist, Forbes

bilateral contracts or to participate in power auctions. Also

and Bloomberg, and this successful experience has

interesting is the fact that half the permits we manage belong

given Mexican authorities the confidence to strengthen

to clean-energy projects. Regarding authorized capacity,

and enhance upcoming editions. Even though renewable

however, traditional technologies continue to have the

energies are not as sensitive to resource limitations as

largest share as clean-energy technologies only account, as

traditional technologies, they are still based on natural

of Feb 2017, for 33 percent of the total megawatts awarded

resources that are a constraint to a certain extent. We

in permits. The number is even lower when considering the

want to avoid having critical situations, as happened in

capacity already installed in the country, in which only 25

Spain where more solar-energy capacity was installed

percent corresponds to clean energies. But we see a rising

than the country could handle, unbalancing the system

trend in the share of clean-energy capacity installed in the

and leading to a crisis in their solar-energy industry.

country and expect at least a 10 percent increase in the short

Mexico wants to be cautious but is moving at a rapid

to medium term given the number of new permits awarded

pace in developing a clean-energy industry, especially

as well as Mexico’s clean-energy goals.

compared with other Latin American countries.

Q: How is CRE improving the power auction processes to

Q: How is CRE preparing for the CELs market that will start

resolve private sector concerns?

operating in 2018?

A: Power auctions will be run by the Ministry of Energy

A: We have less than two years to develop a robust system

in collaboration with CENACE up to the third edition.

to keep track of all the CELs awarded to energy projects and

Afterward, CRE will take control of them. We have identified

traded in the market. We want to avoid double accounting

concerns from the private sector regarding compensation,

and balance sheet inaccuracies, so our main focus is to

guarantees and timelines, but the Ministry is already

develop a comprehensive and reliable tracking system. Our

working toward improving these. For instance, the first

goal is to have a CELs platform that works similarly to a stock

power auction did not allocate any of the capacity required

exchange market, having a value administrator to keep track

as the maximum price was set at MX$10,000 per MW/year,

of the certificates’ ownership. The same administrator will

too low to attract serious investment. The second power

be in charge of following all the purchase-sales transactions

auction corrected that, offering a price of MX$1,688,706

performed in the CELs platform. We are working with different

per MW/year. The same happened with the volume offered,

financial entities to develop a stock-based instrument, which

which almost tripled from 500MW/year to 1,483MW/year.

is expected to be ready by 2018. In the meantime, we are

In this way, companies can build more complex proposals,

working on the complementary regulations needed to

including technologies that are more suitable for baseload

encourage participants to join the market by 2018.

power such as combined cycles and hydropower plants. Q: Why did CFE decide to bid a conservative amount of

The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) is the entity in

capacity in the first power auction?

charge of regulating the industries of gas, refined oil products,

A: The first power auction acted as a pilot, in a similar

hydrocarbons and electricity in a transparent, impartial and

manner as phase one of Round One in the hydrocarbons

efficient way





After a successful first year for Mexico’s newly minted

the most interesting areas of the new energy paradigm,

electricity market, the challenge now is to get all the

such as the spot market, will take a little more time to

projects in the pipeline moving forward to benefit the

develop as new players come to understand the rules

country’s economy, lower energy prices and improve the

and slowly start to dip their toes into the waters. The

industry’s overall competitiveness.

spot market, where companies will go to meet short-term energy requirements not covered by PPAs or basic supply,

The heavy infrastructure investments associated with the

will gradually see more participants such as qualified

projects tendered during 2016’s two long-term power

suppliers, the energy middlemen who are starting to pop

auctions will add value in the form of jobs and technology

up in the country. “The new mechanisms will contribute to

development but it is up to developers, communities,

increasing Mexico’s competitiveness on the global scene

investors and authorities to see them through to completion,

and enhance the internal energy security of the country

says Jaime de la Rosa, President of the Mexican Energy

while bringing new players to the market. There is still a

Association (AME), which groups dozens of national and

long road ahead to arrive at this ideal scenario but the

international players in the power sector.

regulations are clearly marking the route we need to follow to reach this target.”

Looking back at 2016, the MEM’s first year of operation, de la Rosa says the two power auctions were successes

Among the elements that need to be clarified are the

that put Mexico firmly on the global energy map. “The

relationship between participants in the spot market,

response to the first long-term electricity tender in March

subject for example to variable prices, and those taking

was quite successful, with over 103 private companies

part in the long-term fixed-price electricity tenders, de la

accessing the tender’s guidelines, of which 69 presented

Rosa says. Fortunately, the authorities, from the Ministry

economic proposals. This level of participation was a

of Energy to Congress, have been willing to listen to the

historical milestone, not only for Mexico but for the global

needs of private players. AME “continues to collaborate

energy industry,” he says. “The process’ transparency and

with CENACE, CRE and the Ministry of Energy to shape

the record renewable energy prices received by CFE were

the future of the energy market, sharing our members’

also great achievements. Achieving an average of US$49

experiences in international markets and acting as the

per megawatt-hour of wind and solar energy has been a

voice of private energy companies in Mexico.” AME is

major breakthrough for the country and the renewable

looking forward to future electricity tenders despite the

energy industry, especially as there were no subsidies

uncertainty that continues to swirl around the sector. “Our


main expectation is to see a series of successful electricity tenders over the next years,” de la Rosa says.

CENACE followed in September with another successful auction performance that “managed to surpass the high

“The challenge will be to eliminate the uncertainty

bar set during the first round, allocating a large share

regarding the functioning and potential scope of the

of the capacity required by CFE and achieving lower

other market components, such as bilateral contracts,

prices per megawatt-hour and CELs,” says de la Rosa.

which share strong similarities with the self-supply

“We were especially satisfied to see that the portfolio

scheme, a legacy from the old regulatory framework.

of technologies earning contracts was much more

So far, private companies are analyzing the possibility

diversified than in the first auction in which solar and

of partaking as qualified suppliers or marketers as a

wind technologies got all the CELs and energy auctioned.

strategy to diversify their participation in the new market.

Now, we also have combined cycles, geothermal and

However, we will have to wait to see how successful these

hydropower technologies.” De la Rosa says that some of

new elements become.”





Q: Which of the major events of 2016 will shape the future

well as natural gas pipelines. We have 26 projects related

of CFE?

to natural gas transportation that will contribute to the

A: The Energy Reform’s approval in 2013 ignited one of the

government’s goal of expanding the National Pipeline

biggest transformations the Mexican energy industry has

System by 75 percent in 2018. Having a more robust system

experienced in decades, particularly in the electricity sector

will not only benefit CFE as a large natural gas consumer

because it created open markets for electricity generation

but also other Mexican industries.

and commercialization. The Wholesale Electricity Market (MEM) was created with the fundamental principle of

Q: What are the main challenges faced by CFE’s new

dispatching the cheapest energy first, which will benefit


the pockets of Mexican families. This market mechanism

A: Transmission and distribution will become core

also works as an incentive for power producers to optimize

businesses for CFE in the short term and both will remain

their production costs, an area CFE has been focusing on.

under regulated tariffs. Among the major challenges in these areas is to continue pushing the modernization and

CFE’s restructuring process was another highlight of

expansion of the grid, using the tools introduced by the

the year. In January 2017 our subsidiaries and affiliates

Reform to boost revenue. Another challenge we are facing

started working independently, adding another milestone

in the transmission and distribution sectors is the need to

to the company’s new phase. We now have 13 companies

reduce our technical and non-technical losses. CFE lost 16

under one roof, which we need to continue consolidating

percent of the energy it produced due to these causes in

financially in the coming months while respecting the strict

2012 but we managed to reduce that to 12 percent in the last

legal separation principles. CFE’s new organization includes

period measured. Our goal is to further lower our losses to

six generation companies competing against each other as

10-11 percent by 2018, a reachable objective given our past

well as other private producers, one transmission subsidiary

achievements. In the case of CFE Calificados, which mainly

working at the national level to ensure the system’s security

serves industrial users, we face the challenge of upcoming

and one distribution subsidiary with 16 independent

competition, which is driving us to reshape our approach

business units. We also have a subsidiary to serve the

to the sector. Regarding our generation subsidiaries, the

basic segment, CFE Básico, and an affiliated company for

main challenge is to attract private capital to push for the

qualified users, CFE Calificados. The company has two new

development of new power plants.

units to commercialize hydrocarbon fuels in Mexico and the US, an interesting opportunity also made possible by

Q: What actions is CFE taking to change its employees’

the Reform. By entering the natural gas commercialization

mindset to meet the needs of a productive enterprise?

business, we expect to reduce our generation costs

A: Creating this new operational structure has been a long

considerably as 80 percent of these are fuel-related. To

and complex process but CFE’s employees and their union

increase our competitiveness, we have committed to the

(SUTERM) have risen to the challenge. We could not have

development of 85 strategic projects, totaling over US$25

accomplished the successful separation of CFE without

billion in investments. These projects include new power

the active participation of our employees. I paid over 20

generation facilities, transmission and distribution assets as

visits to our facilities where I have witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm and commitment of our team members. CFE’s employees are its main asset. We serve a portfolio of over

Jaime Hernándezis an economist and holds a PhD in Political

40 million clients, generating annual sales of MX$300 billion

Economy from Essex University. Before being appointed to the

(US$14.5 billion). This is only possible thanks to our 100,000

helm of the CFE in August 2016, he served as the state-owned

employees, who are highly experienced professionals

company’s CFO

committed to the development of the Mexican energy

industry. Different generations of CFE’s employees made


it possible for 98.5 percent of the Mexican population to have access to electricity. I have no doubts about my team’s


capabilities and commitment to implement the changes

CFE Generación I: Production and commercialization of electricity through different technologies, excepting supplying activities.

brought by the Reform and to safely bring CFE to the next stage of its existence. But it is true that we need to change

CFE Generación II: Production and commercialization of electricity through different technologies, excepting supplying activities.

the company’s culture. CFE used to act as an authority to a certain degree and we need to understand that now, in some segments, we are just another competitor. We need

CFE Generación III: Production and commercialization of electricity through different technologies excepting supplying activities.

to reshape our strategy to better serve the needs of our clients, understanding their concerns and offering more attractive services and tariffs.

CFE Generación IV: Production and commercialization of electricity through different technologies, excepting supplying activities.

Q: How has CFE’s relationship with the private sector changed since the Energy Reform?

CFE Generación V: Represents existent and upcoming power plants with legacy IPP contracts.

A: CFE was the main promoter of large energy infrastructure projects in the past, many of which were developed in collaboration with private companies. The Energy Reform

CFE Generación VI: Production and commercialization of electricity through different technologies, excepting supplying activities.

has changed the context for CFE’s collaboration with the private sector, allowing us to establish alliances and share each of the projects’ risks and benefits. The guidelines for

CFE Transmisión: Performs all the activities needed to provide electricity transmission services, included financing, O&M and infrastructure operation.

CFE’s legal restructuring were among the fundamental elements of the Reform. We expect the industry to remain vigilant about compliance with these, ensuring CFE passes through this transformation without losing

CFE Distribución: Performs all the activities needed to provide electricity distribution services, included financing, O&M and infrastructure operation (Divided in 16 business units).

its competitiveness but allowing the establishment of a level playing field for other participants. In this context CFE is fully prepared and willing to continue collaborating

CFE Suministrador de Servicios Básicos: Supplies electricity services to basic users according to the terms of the Electricity Industry Law.

with the private sector in the development of a robust and competitive electricity market. It is important to highlight that Mexico’s Energy Reform is taking place amid a rising demand scenario as the country’s electricity demand is

Business Unit

growing at around 3 percent annually. This feature makes

Nuclear Generation Manages Laguna Verde, Mexico's only nuclear power plant, located in Veracruz.

Mexico a distinctive case and ensures there is enough room for CFE but also for new participants to capitalize on this market. Affiliates

Q: What is the future of CFE’s energy mix? A: Mexico has established the goal of producing 35 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2024 and CFE is moving at the right pace to reach this target on time. The system’s stability is another key factor for us so we are also investing heavily in baseload technologies. In this area, CFE is pursuing an ambitious strategy to substitute expensive and polluting fuels for more sustainable alternatives. Between 2012 and 2015 we reduced our fuel oil and coal usage significantly, decreasing our GHG emissions by 50 percent. Using natural gas for power generation represents around 25 percent of the cost of using fuel oil, so we have also reduced our generation costs considerably. Our end goal is to have a diversified portfolio of technologies and fuels so we can react quickly to sudden changes in the international market or technological changes with the potential of disrupting the industry.

CFE Calificados: Supplies electricity services to qualified users according to the terms of the Electricity Industry Law. It also represents Exempted Generators in the MEM and commercializes electricity and ancillary services in Mexico and abroad. CFE Intermediación de Contratos Legados: Administrates legacy interconnection contracts and represents legacy power plants and load centers in the MEM under the Intermediary Generator figure. CFEnergía (under Mexican law): Imports, exports, contracts transport and storage, and buys and sells fuels in Mexico and abroad. It also administrates assets and fuels and participates in the electricity market of Mexico and other countries. CFE International (under US law): Imports, exports, contracts transport and storage, and buys and sells fuels and electricity. Source: MBP with information from CFE





Q: How does ENGIE match its natural gas business in

pillar of our Mexican business. We are already the second

Mexico with its production ambitions for clean energy?

largest natural gas distributor but we want to double our

A: We have three business lines in Mexico, one of which

local client base by 2020. We now have six natural gas

is power production. Cogeneration plants have been the

distribution companies in different states, including the

core of our power-generation business up to now. ENGIE

State of Mexico, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Queretaro, Jalisco and

has around 311MW of cogeneration capacity installed. In

two in Tamaulipas. The availability of cheap natural gas

addition to electricity we offer steam to our clients and

from the US and Mexico’s goal to expand the national

inject the surplus power to the grid. Now we are looking

natural gas network are the main drivers behind our plan.

to expand our power-production capacity with more

Besides expanding our reach, we want to offer our clients’

cogeneration projects, particularly for clients with high

integral services beyond natural gas supply like mini-

thermal demand, including mini-scale and large-scale

cogeneration for industrial applications. We are looking

facilities and new solar and wind-energy projects. Our

to integrate energy-efficiency strategies to help our clients

goal is to produce at least 25 percent of our energy from

optimize consumption. We are also looking at alternative

renewable sources by 2020, which is in line with ENGIE’s

uses of natural gas to complement our distribution and

vision and the goals set by the Mexican government

transportation activities in Mexico. Compressed Natural

regarding clean-energy generation.

Gas (CNG) is one of the means to reach areas located 200-300km from a natural gas pipeline. We manage this

ENGIE’s City of Tomorrow concept encompasses solutions to digitize energy and land-use decisions in cities

business in a joint venture with Virtual Pipelines Mexico, which has great expertise in the natural gas compression segment. Another business we are analyzing is Vehicular Natural Gas (NGV). Q: Where do you expect demand for natural gas services to flourish?

Q: How does the company plan to expand its natural gas

A: We expect to see demand increase for our natural gas

transportation and distribution capabilities?

distribution services in the regions where we are already

A: Natural gas transportation is the second axis of our

operating because natural gas demand usually grows

operations in Mexico with 1,300km of pipelines already

around existing pipelines. We already operate 10,500km

under operation, including the Mayakan pipeline in

of pipelines in our distribution business but we need to

Yucatan, the Bajio pipeline in Mexico’s central region and

add 5,250km to double our clients, which is among our

a new pipeline located south of the second phase of Los

ambitions for 2020. We also see great potential in the

Ramones, near Guanajuato. ENGIE is the second-largest

Cancun area, which lacks a steady natural gas supply.

natural gas pipeline operator and the first distributor in

There is one pipeline already in the region but it only gets

Europe and we have used that experience to expand

to Valladolid in Yucatan, leaving customers in Cancun

our business in Mexico and provide the services our

without direct access. We are planning to deliver CNG

customers require. Natural gas distribution is the third

at first but we see expanding our natural gas network as a potential solution for the future. We are analyzing the possibility of organizing an open season in Cancun aligned

ENGIEis one of the largest private gas pipeline operators and the

with the new regulatory framework, which allows us to ask

number two natural gas distributor in Mexico. The company also

about client interest in reserving capacity in the system.

has three steam-electricity plants and is building 149MW of PV

If enough interest is perceived at the open season, we

solar capacity as a result of CENACE’s long-term power auctions

can expand our Mayakan pipeline all the way to Cancun.



We have bet on Mexico for many years now. Currently,

diversified energy mix and ensure competitive prices. In

we operate 729MW of installed capacity through wind,

Mexico, the implementation of the Energy Reform and

hydro and solar power plants. The Energy Reform has

the success of the latest long-term power auctions are

been a complete success because it has brought stability

boosting the development of the country’s energy sector

and many benefits to the country’s renewables market.

and have quickly established Mexico’s energy regulatory

We are now the largest player in the sector by installed

system as a best practice worldwide. For auctions to

capacity and project portfolio and our business will

work and contribute to the creation of a healthy and

continue to grow at the same speed as the Mexican

competitive energy industry, they have to be backed by

energy market, as long as the rules continue to be clear

robust and strong planning to avoid price distortions

and transparent as they have been and as long as the

that could occur due to limitations on the grid, reserve

level of competitiveness remains.

conditions and energy congestion. Regulatory authorities have to take into account that renewables are capital

Given the price levels in the last two long-term power

intensive and require long-term policy and price stability.

auctions and an upward trend in the cost of gas, our expectation is that the government will create a higher

One of the major improvements that took place between

penetration of renewables, which makes Mexico an even

Mexico’s first and second long-term auctions was the

more important market for our global business strategy.

decrease in tariffs produced by the adjustment factors

The Enel Group entered the Mexican renewables market

of generation zones. The prequalification and bid process

in 2007, when it acquired three hydropower plants with a

evaluation was faster and linear, which clearly showed

total installed capacity of 53MW in the country’s western

the experience acquired between the tenders. Another

states of Guerrero, Michoacan and Jalisco. In addition to

positive aspect is that the general rules of participation

these plants, today we operate 675MW of wind power.

remained, proving the overall scheme is extremely

Overall, we have invested around US$1.5 billion since our

successful. Some improvements can still be made with

arrival in the country.

regards to participation criteria, such as assessment of the development status of projects prior to their

Private off-takers are key to our local business strategy,

participation in the auction.

as we are leaders in energy self-supply. We had great success in Mexico’s long-term power auctions in 2016 and

We will continue to work to keep growing in the

we are working to enter the short-term energy market in

renewables generation sector. As a consequence of the

the near future. All three business models are extremely

Energy Reform, we expect the market to open up even

exciting for us and we are already planning the feasibility

more and present new opportunities which we will be

of other projects for the coming years. The latest auctions

ready to take advantage of. As more participants appear

showed that the system works and we expect the other

in the energy sector with an increase in competition,

two models (self-supply and short-term market) will share

we can expect a decrease in costs related to energy

the same success to have an adequately liquid market.

management and growing liquidity in the market in terms

This is only going to be achievable as long as the country

of suppliers and users, not just generators.

pushes for more renewables, clear rules and the lowest prices possible.

We are a global operator with a well-balanced and diversified portfolio. As far as Mexico is concerned, the

During the last 10 years, energy auctions with clear and

latest auctions demonstrated that the most promising

transparent rules have been globally demonstrated to

renewable technologies are mainly solar and wind. Our

be the most efficient system with which to achieve a

goal is to continue developing our business in those areas.





Q: What is Ventus’ forte in green energy projects and

from US$20,000 to US$4 million. This strategy has no

where can customers see the biggest added value?

equal in Uruguay or in Latin America. We are looking to

A: Ventus offers services along the whole spectrum of a

replicate this scheme, taking into account each country’s

project. Ventus started seven years ago as a small company

legal specificities. In Argentina we recently managed to

in Uruguay, providing services in the wind-energy project-

attain a position of strength in a short amount of time.

development phase. Over time, our clients expressed a

Ventus started operating there in January 2016. Today, we

need for help in other stages, which is quite unusual for

are working on 80 percent of the projects granted in the

the industry. We are structured to work with separate and

latest power auctions.

specialized departments in engineering, construction and O&M that enable considerable risk mitigation in all the

Q: How have the electricity auctions and the creation of the

projects that we undertake.

MEM increased interest in Mexico’s green energy market? A: We were definitely influenced by the auctions. When we

Q: What are the company’s most successful projects?

decided to expand from Uruguay, pushed by a saturation

A: One that was fairly important for our growth was quite

of the market due to overinvestment, we started analyzing

atypical. A few years ago, we developed a project in

Latin America’s biggest markets. We first looked at

Uruguay for which we structured a financial trust issuing

neighboring countries and found Brazil too complicated to

a private offer of US$20 million. Investors of all sizes

work in. Argentina made more sense for our business plan.

participated in the trust, including companies and private

Mexico today is a market made up of more than 3,000MW

individuals totaling 76 investors, with amounts ranging

of wind power installed capacity currently in operation, with the potential of tripling, which will generate more opportunities for companies like Ventus. We know there

Ventus  is an engineering company based in Uruguay with

is fierce competition because it is a market that has been

operations across Latin America. It has expertise along the

developing for many years with very competitive prices.

whole life cycle of wind energy projects, from EPC to O&M.

We are not interested in engaging in a price war but in

Ventus is also venturing into solar-energy projects

providing a competitive proposal as a whole.


KNOCKING ON MEXICO’S SOLAR DOOR HONGBIN FANG Director of Product Marketing for LONGi Green Energy Technology

Q: What elements of Mexico’s energy market and the

company. Technology has always been a primary aspect

reform spiked LONGi Green Energy Technology’s interest?

of our company, compared to other PV manufacturers.

A: The first element that interested us was the demand

We consistently invest 5-7 percent of our total revenue

factor. Mexico has exhibited strong economic growth, which

into technology research and development. Our company

will foster energy demand in the coming years. The Mexican

always strives to develop better equipment to improve

government is determined to keep the Energy Reform on

productivity and better technology to improve our client's

the road to success and this will help boost the percentage

performance. This also translates into a consistent trend of

of renewables in the energy mix. We are convinced that

increasingly competitive products at lower cost.

Mexico’s PV market has bright days ahead of it. Q: What client portfolio are you targeting in Mexico? Q: How did LONGi Green Energy Technology achieve its

A: We believe all segments of the market are important,

LCOE solutions?

with particular interest in DG applications. In Mexico, the

A: From the beginning, we focused on monocrystalline

majority of the volume in renewable energy is still owned

technology because intrinsically it constitutes a better

by utility-scale projects. With the distributed generation

material for efficient energy conversion, demonstrates

sector (industrial, commercial and residential) expanding

better energy yield and delivers better value (lower LCOE)

at a much faster rate, representing a much higher

for end users. The main obstacle for widespread mono

value for our high efficiency mono modules, we think

module adoption was the higher cost in manufacturing a

we will have a larger impact in distributed generation

mono wafer in the past.

applications to help the industry in bringing down total PV system cost, as well as lowering LCOE, generating a

For the last 17 years, we have focused our efforts on

better energy yield.

technology development in mono wafer manufacturing to improve productivity and performance, thus driving down

Q: What are LONGi’s longer-term plans for Mexico?

cost. Our company was founded in 2000, yet by 2013 we

A: Our company goes hand-in-hand with high

were the largest mono wafer manufacturer in the world.

performance, high quality and competitive prices. We are

At the end of 2014, we acquired Lerri Solar, a small module

trying to understand the market, going through a learning

manufacturer in China, to strategically move downstream

phase, developing strategies to learning how to work with

to solar cell and module manufacturing and deliver value

local players, letting our customers understand the value

of mono technology closer to our end users. Because we

of high-efficiency mono modules so we can make an

could produce less costly and highly efficiencyt mono

even better contribution. Mexico and Latin America are

modules, ensuring better value for our customers and

important markets for LONGi Green Energy Technology

the end user, we have delivered more than 3GW of mono

and we are committed to bringing in high quality, better

modules to the market within 2 years, increasing the

performance mono modules at competitive price to those

market share of mono modules in China from 5 percent in

markets. We hope to become a significant part of the

2014 to 27 percent in 2016. We expect this share to reach

market so more and more customers can realize value

35 percent by the end of 2017.

of high efficiency mono modules.

Q: How does the company’s focus on research and development set it apart from other PV manufacturers?

LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd., founded in 2000,

A: In 2014, we expanded from our initial business in mono

is among the largest single crystal manufacturer in the world.

wafers and ingots to mono cells and modules, as well as

It provides high-quality products and services for photovoltaic

project development to become a truly vertically integrated

and semiconductor products




Q: How would you rate Mexico’s energy infrastructure?

Clear examples are found in PRODESEN’s provisions but

A: Infrastructure is the backbone of the electricity sector. The

private initiatives are needed to meet the program’s goals.

reform is a positive step forward for Mexico; considerable 222

effort was invested in it and there is an undeniable sense

Q: What is the comparative advantage of Fisterra’s energy

of quality in its provisions. There are two basic areas for

supplier branch?

improvement. Firstly, the reform is being implemented

A: Blackstone, our financial arm, provides the financial

and regulated simultaneously, causing some inefficiencies

solidity our clients look for. Fisterra’s experience in the

in market operations, generating unease with potential

energy sector is proven, with highly qualified personnel

operators and delays. Secondly, markets can be classified

from Spain and Mexican professionals with long careers in

under a number of categories. In Mexico, the long-term and

CFE that we added to our team. Blackstone also provides

short-term energy markets were launched concurrently. In

an important input from the American electricity market

our view, the long-term market has been predominantly

that Mexico also uses. As a result, we can anticipate the

prioritized because of the long-term auctions. The picture

evolution of the Mexican energy market because we have

of undeniable economic success and achieving competitive

seen other markets mature.

prices does not reflect the day-to-day reality of the market. This short-term market lacks liquidity due to the scarcity of

We have pioneered the energy financial trading market in

players operating in it: CFE, Fisterra Energy and a few others.

Mexico in accordance with the tendencies we have observed elsewhere. We regularly release our forward price curve

The first auction targeted the need to foster renewable-

from one week to five years. Fisterra also helps represent

energy generation. The effectiveness of resource allocation

small power producers, from one to 15MW power capacity,

is questionable because wind and solar-power projects

that are unable to take advantage of the opportunities

were not launched in areas where the respective resource

presented by the developing regulations. Our company

was not as abundant as in other regions but instead catered

takes the power they generate to the market.

to zones where transmission capacity was acceptable or that had power-generation requirements. In this sense,

Q: What is Fisterra Energy’s long-term vision for Mexico?

Mexico has the same issue as other parts of the world in

A: Mexico is a developing country with tremendous

terms of network planning. CRE, CENACE and the Ministry

opportunities in the energy sector. Energy consumption

of Energy all realize that grid infrastructure is vital in this

is expected to grow exponentially. Mexico is ranked 15th

regard. You also cannot analyze renewable energy without

globally in terms of energy consumption volume. Despite

looking at natural gas. A rationalized liberalization requires

its few mishaps, the Energy Reform is sound. Our new-

liberalizing inputs first and consumption second. The reform

arrival status in Mexico gives us an important comparative

took the opposite approach by liberalizing electricity first

advantage. The infrastructure issues we talked about

and natural gas second.

are already being addressed by capable professionals in CENACE and CRE. We want to help them get there.

The country is making valuable and considerable efforts to

Fisterra already provided the stepping stones toward

strengthen natural gas infrastructure and pipelines, however.

invigorating the market through financial trading and we have high hopes in the development of this segment. The Mexican Stock Exchange is already taking steps in


this direction. Our company is also motivated by the

investments worldwide. Fisterra enjoys technical expertise and

announced midterm auctions. We will continue devising

extensive experience in M&A, project financing, development,

strategies in client attraction, power generation and

construction and operation

diversifying our product portfolios.








Q: To what extent have you advanced in your plans to

private players must establish joint ventures with the state-

become a qualified supplier?

owned company for transmission and distribution initiatives.

A: We have made great advancements in our energy trading

We have identified a number of business opportunities in

plans, but it has been challenging to launch a definitive

improving the Mexican electricity network, and we consider

project, as there are still regulations pending. We have already

advanced energy metering as a suitable starting point.

acquired the necessary permits from CRE to be a qualified

Efficient and accurate interpretation of energy data is one

supplier, but we are still waiting for CENACE to define the final

of Grupo Dragón’s strengths, as we have over six years’

market rules. Most private companies are in a similar situation,

experience over our competitors in this area.

but we expect the market to take off eventually. As a strategy to reach off-takers, we are offering self-supply plans with

Q: What allowed Grupo Dragón to win the first private

permits acquired under the previous regulatory framework.

concession for a geothermal project in Mexico?

We have two self-supply projects under construction and they

A: It is impossible to complete a geothermal project in less

can migrate to the new regulations at any time.

than five years as it requires large investments and long exploratory and drilling periods. It is not a challenge exclusive

Q: What other areas of opportunity have you have identified

to Mexico. Our project has been operating for one year,

in the Mexican power sector?

meaning it was planned at least six years ago. Because of

A: We see a great potential in energy forecasting and the

this, when we acquired our permits, the project was under the

use of thermography for energy applications. The evaluation

self-supply scheme from the previous regulatory framework.

of market dynamics and the identification of energy usage

This transition period brought uncertainty to our project as

in different industries will differentiate successful companies

we were not sure that our previously acquired permit would

from the rest. All electric utilities sell the same product, a

migrate to the new law but we managed to change our

flow of moving electrons, so differentiating factors will be

concession. We bet strongly on geothermal as we considered

related to aspects such as quality customer service. In this

it a promising and clean energy technology in spite of the

new landscape, customer data regarding electricity usage

risks involved. This all happened before the Energy Reform.

will be crucial for companies wanting to have a competitive advantage. We have the software and hardware needed to

We do not consider the new regulations to be particularly

perform these tasks. Our group is one of the companies in

advantageous for geothermal development. They complicated

Mexico investing the most in data storage devices. We see a

the bureaucratic processes for us. We had the advantage of

barrier in this sector as most Mexican companies do not have

being the only private company participating in the sector at

real-time metering devices. The Law of the Electricity Industry

that time, which allowed us to establish a direct dialogue with

says that private investment in electricity transmission and

the government and ease the transition process. The outcome

distribution infrastructure is only allowed under certain

would have been completely different in the wind energy

conditions with CFE or their subsidiaries. We would be

industry, where several private companies were already

highly interested in investing more in this sector, but we are

operating. In the long term, however, we do not exclude the

discouraged by the existing constraints.

possibility of new geothermal developments benefiting from the new regulations.

Q: What investments has Grupo Dragón already made in electricity transmission and distribution? A: We have allocated US$215.5 million in a smart grid project.

Grupo Dragónis a Mexico City-based electricity solutions

It focuses on advanced metering devices and is one of the

company with proven expertise in the generation, operation

largest initiatives in Mexico in this regard. We are working with

and maintenance of large-scale renewable energy projects, as

CFE in this project as stated by Mexican law, which says that

well as efficiency consulting services, among others



BENCHMARKING THE NEW PPA Alberto Haito Senior Associate at Clifford Chance

Martin Menski Senior Associate at Clifford Chance

Q: How do Clifford Chance clients view the new contracting

number of projects with different off-takers eases project


financing because it makes lenders more comfortable with

MM: Our clients inevitably compare the new PPA with

the company’s revenue streams.

the old one, which is still in operation. The new PPA 224

is bankable, broadly speaking, but there are several

Another factor to consider is that most companies winning

aspects that concern our clients, such as the risks private

the first power auction are probably capable of financing

companies must now take on, some of which were

their projects on a balance-sheet basis. They are big

previously managed by CFE. One of the most concerning

international market players. We are not aware of any

issues is the uncertainty around the credit risk of off-

winning company requiring external nonrecourse project

takers. CFE is expected to be involved in most of the PPA

financing to develop its project.

transactions in the short-term, acting either as off-taker or as jointly liable with the off-taker. Doubts remain about

Q: What will be the key challenges to financing energy

how to manage the credit risk of other companies seeking

projects in Mexico besides off-taker credit risk?

to participate in the market as buyers and to what extent

MM: Merchant risk will be one of the major issues for

banks will consider the off-taker’s credit-worthiness,

financing energy projects in Mexico because the uncertainty

since the PPA does not directly tackle this issue.

in this aspect hinders the development of a simple legal or commercial solution. Energy assets last up to 25 years but

AH: As long as CFE acts as off-taker or assumes any

the PPA establishes only 15 years of contracted revenues,

payment obligations under the PPA, financiers will place

so banks have no certainty about the rest of the period.

special consideration on their overall credit risk. Let us

This situation will make it harder for energy companies to

not forget that most of these banks are probably already

obtain long-term financing, especially as the current global

lending to CFE in some capacity, which increases their

macroeconomic conditions also add to bank reluctance.

overall exposure vis-a-vis CFE and consequently, the overall

We are nonetheless observing a proactive approach from

risk involved in the transaction.

multilateral lenders that are betting strongly on Mexico. We see a special commitment from those multilateral

Q: How did companies participating in CFE’s first power

banks in which Mexico is a stakeholder. US export credit

auction overcome these risks?

agencies also are looking south of the border and already

MM: That CFE is still in the picture gives confidence to the

have mentioned their interest in ramping up their ability to

market because it presents a similar structure to what was

finance deals in Mexico.

done previously. Once private companies start participating in the auctions as purchasers, we expect to see a shift to

AH: We also see a number of European credit agencies

portfolio financing structures similar to what happened in

willing to invest in the country’s nascent energy industry.

Chile, which has one of Latin America’s most developed

The old self-supply PPA worked as a platform to attract

spot markets. This approach mitigates the “single off-taker

foreign investment to Mexico’s power sector and to build

credit risk” because companies have diversified portfolios

large financing deals. Because of that, non-American

with several off-takers instead of just one. Grouping a

institutions now have the confidence to invest in new energy projects in Mexico. The interest of multilateral banks and export credit agencies in financing these types of

Clifford Chanceis an international law firm with expertise in

projects will probably help to close the gap that merchant

capital markets, corporate, finance, risk management, real

risk creates for other institutions. Commercial banks are

estate and labor issues, with a particular expertise in the

working to structure solutions to deal with merchant risk

energy sector

but there is no consensus on the best approach to take.


INTEGRATE CLIMATE CHANGE INTO RISK MANAGEMENT FRANCIS PÉREZ Shared Value Creation & Sustainability Director of Nestlé México

Q: What is behind Nestlé’s strong climate change

Q: To what extent has the Energy Reform contributed to

position and what is its strategy to reduce its emissions

making Nestlé’s clean energy goals easier to achieve?


A: With the Energy Reform, we have new and better

A: With the highest carbon dioxide levels since the

options for competition, establishing contracts with

Industrial Revolution, the resulting changes in climate may

different companies. We are analyzing all our options

threaten global food security in general and our business

to achieve 100 percent supply from renewable sources.

in particular. The long-term supply of safe, high-quality

In the past we decided to go for wind energy because a

ingredients may be affected as yields fall and production

study showed it was the best solution at the time in terms

areas shift. Manufacturing or distribution of food products

of the cost/benefit ratio.

may be hampered because of extreme weather events. That is why reducing air emissions and adapting to climate change are integrated into our risk management processes and why our response is a holistic one. Given our global footprint, we use many different mixes of fuels and energies throughout the world, which depend on local supply and market conditions. Our overall strategy focuses on improving energy efficiency

Nestlé reduced its energy usage by 37 percent and CO2 emissions by 61 percent compared to 2005 levels

and switching to cleaner fuels and energies. Procuring renewable electricity is a key element of that strategy.

Q: What advice do you have for companies that would like to incorporate renewables but are wary of a negative

Q: What route is Nestlé taking to become 100 percent

impact on competitiveness?

renewable and how is Nestlé México contributing?

A: Climate change requires everyone’s attention, including

A: In August 2014, Nestlé endorsed the Carbon Disclosure

society, governments, the private sector, NGOs and

Project (CDP) initiative to procure 100 percent of

academia. It is necessary for all companies to understand

electricity supply from renewable sources within the

that we, as humanity and as a business, are vulnerable

shortest practical timescale, which is fully aligned with our

to climate change effects. Food production depends on

own explicit commitments. Importantly, the endorsement

the health of the environment. If we do not start doing

of this initiative by Nestlé and other large companies

different things, we cannot have different outcomes.

sends a strong signal to the market and contributes to accelerating the growth of renewable electricity markets

Re n ewa b l e e n e rg y te c h n o l o g i e s a re b e co m i n g

well beyond our own needs. This ultimately helps lead

more attractive every year and competitiveness is

the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient

not compromised. We can take advantage of those

economy in line with COP21’s Paris Agreement.

technologies and realize savings in energy costs while supporting climate change mitigation. Certainly, this is a

Since 2013, Nestlé México has sourced 80 percent of its

business continuity decision for long-term success.

electricity from wind power and expects that in 2017 we will supply all electricity from renewable energy sources. We agreed this under the previous law that considered

Nestlé México, part of the global nutrition and wellness group

the existence of self-supply societies. We established a

Nestlé, represents the 6th largest operation for the group

contract with Enel Green Power; it has become our supply

worldwide. It also sources 80 percent of its electricity from


wind energy and expects that to rise to 100 percent in 2017


Metal smelting



If 2016 provided the fireworks of recovery for the mining sector, then 2017 has been something of a damp squib. The sky is still lit up – the prices of metals including gold, silver and copper all rose during the first half of the year – but not as brightly as many hoped. Many mining companies are relieved simply to be making a profit again but this is thanks more to the cost-cutting that was implemented during the downturn than to the value of their wares. The road back to the sunny days of 2011, when gold was trading above US$1,800/oz, seems like a long one. But the sector is well-placed for strong long-term performance. Silver production is falling while demand is underpinned by the solar energy industry, EVs and other electronic applications. Gold is still seen as an attractive safe haven from stock market volatility and base metals are essential components in battery manufacturing.

As a leading player in the global mining industry, this is good news for Mexico. An Undersecretariat for Mining has been re-established and must drive investment, propel the sector into the modern age by welcoming and encouraging new technology and act as a mediator in the squabbling over tax policy. With presidential elections looming in 2018, the new administration must also remember that mining companies – and investors – value regulatory clarity and consistency above all else.



ANALYSIS: More Than One Reason to Celebrate


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mario Alfonso Cantú, Undersecretary of Mining at the Ministry of Economy






VIEW FROM THE TOP: Fernando Alanís, Industrias Peñoles


INFOGRAPHIC: Silver: Mexico's Favorite Metal


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mitchell Krebs, Coeur Mining


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Bradford Cooke, Endeavour Silver


Godfrey Walton, President and COO of Endeavour Silver


VIEW FROM THE TOP: James McDonald, Kootenay Silver


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Fred Stanford, Torex Gold


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Joseph Conway, Primero Mining


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jesús Herrera, Detector Exploraciones


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gerardo Familiar, The Chemours Company


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Armando Ortega, New Gold


MORE THAN ONE REASON TO CELEBRATE Stronger metals prices versus geopolitical concerns that included Brexit and the shock US presidential election result dominated the mining sector in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The events had many asking, 'What's next?' but overall the key sentiment is optimism For the global mining industry, 2016 was a year of two halves.

previous year. Once again, gold made the largest contribution

A recovery in metals prices motivated the industry to believe

to the total value with 37.4 percent, followed by copper (19

an upswing was finally on the way. But even with global

percent) and silver (18 percent). According to IMSS, the

geopolitical events causing a strain, many miners believe they

sector generated 9,790 new jobs in 2016, more than twice

have reason to celebrate.

the number of new jobs in 2015. The industry now employs over 354,000 people in Mexico.

Metal prices recovered strongly during the first six months


after a painful, four-year downturn. In June, gold rose to


US$1,361/oz, its highest price since 2013. But the latter part of

Like many commodities, gold suffered a volatile 2016 as

the year was dominated by the political shockwaves of Brexit

unprecedented political shifts took their toll. After a strong

and the US presidential election result; gold fell by 15 percent

start to the year, rising 25 percent to US$1,361/oz by June

and silver by 19 percent during 2H16 as investors sat back,

27, bullion prices began to fall off in July and continued to

scratched their heads, and wondered “What next?” But prices

falter in the build up to, and aftermath of, the US presidential

rebounded during the first half of 2017, a result of improved

election. Between Oct. 24 and Dec. 25, the price of an ounce

economic performance in China and a depreciation of the US

of gold fell 13 percent to US$1,133/oz from US$1,304/oz. The

dollar. The industry may have finally turned the corner.

“Trump Bump” was more of a “Trump Slump” for precious metal investors. But the commodity rebounded over 2017,

In Mexico, the creation of the Undersecretariat of Mining at

rising steadily to reach a high of US$1,346/oz in September

the Ministry of Economy was announced in December 2016

as uncertainty continued to roil international marketplaces.

in what felt like a seminal moment for the industry. Despite

But gold could not maintain its momentum and once again

its geological potential, total investment in the Mexican

dropped below US$1,300 in October.

mining sector fell 20.9 percent in 2016. The challenge facing the new Undersecretary for Mining, Mario Alfonso Cantú, is

Annual gold production for the year fell by 0.2 percent to

to rejuvenate a traditional sector still struggling to fulfill its

99.7 million ounces worldwide. For the second year running,

potential in the modern age.

Mexico placed eighth on the global list of gold output, second in Latin America behind Peru, with a total of 4.26

“The Undersecretariat was created as an acknowledgement of

million ounces. On the corporate side, Fresnillo overtook

the importance of mining as a strategic activity,” says Cantú.

Goldcorp as the country’s top gold producer after churning

“It was a response to the industry’s expansion and the need

out over 935,000 ounces of bullion, a 22 percent YOY

for regulation, promotion and development.”

improvement. Goldcorp’s fall into second place was a result of its commitment to stripping its portfolio of noncore assets,


a strategy that resulted in the sales of the Los Filos, Camino

In the context of Mexico’s sluggish growth in 2016 – an

Rojo and San Nicolas projects during 1H17.

expansion of just 2.3 percent compared to the global average of 3.1 percent – there were encouraging signs of recovery


for the local mining sector. After FDI crashed in 2015 to just

After falling for five consecutive years from 2011, the silver

US$370 million – a byproduct of controversial fiscal reforms

price finally turned a corner in 2016 and continued the upward

implemented the previous year – foreign investment bounced

curve in 2017, never dropping below the US$15/oz mark during

back in 2016 to US$718 million, a jump of 94 percent. This

the first three quarters of 2017. With strong demand from

is still some way off the US$2.1 billion that foreign investors

solar energy and electronics, the price was underpinned by

poured into the sector in 2014 but a positive sign of returning

falling supply. According to figures compiled by The Silver

confidence nonetheless.

Institute, global mine production of silver fell by 0.6 percent to 885.8 million ounces in 2016, the first yearly drop since

The green shoots of recovery were also present on the

2002, while scrap supply also fell for the fourth consecutive

production side. Mexico’s total value of metal and mineral

year. Mexico comfortably retained its place at the top of the

production in 2016 surged to a record high of MX$234.3

silver production tree, producing 173.9 million ounces and

billion, 9 percent more than the MX$213.3 billion output the

contributing 21 percent to global output, according to INEGI.

Peru was second with 16.7 percent, followed by China (12.7

the total copper output, which amounted to 19.4 million

percent) and Chile (5.4 percent). Fresnillo was once again

tons. But this hides a spectacular YOY rise of 28.9 percent in

the top producer in Mexico (and the world), with 45.7 million

national production by year-end 2016, buoyed mainly by the

ounces, followed by Goldcorp and Industrias Peñoles. With 21

significant expansion at Grupo México’s Buenavista del Cobre

million ounces of silver produced, Fresnillo’s Saucito was the

mine, which produced 316,000 tons.

most productive silver mine in Mexico, followed by Peñasquito


and the Fresnillo mine.

As the lifeblood of mining, spending on exploration is always


an important indicator of the current state of the industry.

After reaching a low of US$4,310/t in January 2016, many

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, world investment

believed the outlook was bleak for copper. But prices shot

in exploration fell YOY by 28 percent to US$6.9 billion, the

up in October and finished the year on the London Metals

fourth consecutive yearly fall. But after falling to seventh place

Exchange (LME) trading at US$5,500/t. Then, thanks to a

on the list of recipients for global exploration expenditures

more solid forecast in Chinese economic growth, a possible

in 2015, Mexico climbed up one place to sixth in 2016 after

scrap metal ban in the country and industrial demand, in

attracting US$400.9 million in total. Canada is still first on the

October 2017 copper reached US$7,073/t, its highest level in

list, ahead of Australia, the US, Chile and Peru.

over three years. According to Reuters, China accounts for 45 The positive trend is also reflected in the number of new

percent of global demand for the brown metal.

exploration projects in Mexico. In 2016, mining companies Mexico remained in 10th position on the list of global copper

started work on a total of 55 new projects, with a total value

producers, contributing 766,000 tons – or 3.2 percent – to

of US$130 million. This is compared to 44 projects with a total value of US$103 million in 2015. Driven by the improved price



including Timmins Gold’s Ana Paula, Fresnillo’s Juanicipio, and Industrias Peñoles’ Rey de Plata, have advanced well and



should be coming online during 2018, underpinning Mexico’s future production profile.


inconsistency affecting global financial markets but metal 6.9


Mining companies are not immune to the insecurity and 9.2











environment, a number of exciting development projects,

prices nevertheless rose steadily during 2016 and 1H17. With many of the world’s largest mines running out of steam













and resources, mining companies must now renew the 0


industry’s faith by investing more in exploration to prepare the global production pipeline for the demands of a digital, environmentally responsible world. Mexico has enormous mineral potential, reflected by increased exploration activity in 2016, but it is not the only country in Latin America to be blessed with abundant natural resources. To woo international investors, the government – and particularly the Undersecretariat of Mining – must provide the


basic regulatory and financial framework to make the mining sector attractive. With presidential elections on the agenda in


2018, the incoming administration must also remember that miners appreciate operational stability and consistency. But cooperation is a two-way street; mining companies Otros „29.2% „14.1% Canada

Australia „14.1% „13.0%Canada Australia „13.0% „7.3% US Chile „7.3% „6.4%Eua

6.4%CAMIMEX Chile Source:

5.7% China „„6.2% Peru

„„3.5% Brazil

4.7% Rusia „„2.1% DRC „„5.8% Mexico 3.5% Brasil „„2% Argentina „„5.7% China „„4.7% Russia „29.2% Other 2.1% Rep del„ Congo 2% Argentina

6.2% Perú 5.8% Mexico Source: SP & Global market intelligence

working in Mexico have to show willingness to work alongside the public sector and, if necessary, challenge new legislation according to legal protocol. If the entire mining community can use its respective strengths as a collective, the sector can expect to thrive.



UNDERSECRETARY SETTLES INTO NEW ROLE MARIO ALFONSO CANTĂš Undersecretary of Mining at the Ministry of Economy


Q: To what extent does the creation of the Undersecretariat

their projects. The Undersecretariat is carrying out five key

of Mining reflect the growing importance of mining?

priorities. Firstly, we are strengthening human resources to

A: The Undersecretariat was created by the Ministry

fulfill institutional functions and objectives. Secondly, we

of Economy as an acknowledgment of the importance

are modernizing our technological platform and digitalizing

of mining as a strategic activity and a response to the

the concession process and cartography to accelerate the

industry’s expansion and the need for regulation, promotion

process for allocating a concession title. Thirdly, we have

and development. Investment in Mexican mining was

prioritized re-engagement of Mexican Geological Survey

US$19.8 billion in 2011 and 2012, and in the next four years,

(SGM) resources in exploration activities to provide more

from 2013 to 2016, amid falling metal prices, it reached

projects with more information focused on rare earths

US$19.9 billion. Employment in the mining-metallurgical

and base industrial metals. Finally, we are strengthening

sector as of December 2012 was 328,555 workers, while

the Inter-Institutional Mining Group, made up of federal

in December 2016 it registered a total of 354,702 workers.

government agencies involved in regulating the sector.

Finally, exports reached a similar level, with a US$17.8 billion annual average in 2009-2012 and US$16.4 billion in 2013-

Q: What does Mexico need to do to compete with other

2016. This demonstrates that, despite falling metal prices

jurisdictions to attract more greenfield investment?

from 2013 to 2016, investment levels, GDP and employment

A: Public policy of the Mexican government regarding

in the mining industry registered better performance than

the mining sector is included in the Mining Development

in previous years.

Program 2013-2018, which defines the objectives, strategies and lines of action to boost mining activity

Another reason for the creation of the Undersecretariat

within a framework of sustainable development. One of

was the need to reach a better level of communication

the purposes of the Mining Development Program is to

and conversation both at a national and international

promote higher levels of investment and competitiveness

level. Internally, the General Coordination of Mining lacked

in the mining sector. The Undersecretariat of Mining carries

communication with areas of the federal government

out investment promotion policies through participation in

that are directly related to mining, such as the Ministries

the main national and international mining events.

of Environment, Labor, Energy and Finance. It was therefore proposed that the General Coordination should

Another one of the policies implemented by the current

be elevated to a higher level to boost this relationship,

federal administration is to increase the quality of

since its counterparts have always worked at the level of

information for mining projects, thereby developing


detailed geology, geophysics and geochemistry activities plus direct exploration through diamond drilling. This

Q: How will the Undersecretariat operate differently from

provides the means to continue exploration, according to

the General Coordination of Mining?

the results derived from mining operations.

A: The growing investment in the mining sector is demanding that we increase our institutional capacity to provide

To attract more greenfield investment, SGM allocates

better and easier ways for local and foreign investors in

most of its human resources and budget to developing Mexican mining potential through continuous mapping of the country on a 1:50,000 scale. This is an essential

The Undersecretariat of Mining was created as a specialized

requirement to identify mining exploration targets.

division of the federal Ministry of Economy in 2016 in response

The accumulated goal set for 2017 is 837,717km2 with a

to the growing importance of the mining sector. Mario Alfonso

coverage of around 60 percent of the national territory

CantĂş was appointed to serve as Undersecretary

with mining potential.



Mexico is located in the central-northern part of the

epoch, up until industrial modernization and the evolution

American continent, a block that evolved 250 million years

of technology, which occurred well into the 20th century.

ago, detached from the super continent called Pangea. The geological history of this emerging part of the planet has been

Minerals do not exist as a by-product. There is always

changing, although always following a line of evolution that

a reason, a process or a circumstance that allows us

gave rise to multiple landscapes and geo-forms. The associated

to associate them with a geological event. Geological

resources are derived from the earliest phases of continental

sciences have developed since the 16th century - when

drift. Most of these resources are related to magmatic

the De Re Metallica treatise was written by the German

processes - that is, those produced by the interaction between

Georgius Agricola. This was drafted in such a way that not

the oceanic and continental tectonic plates.

only allows us to know more about the structure of the thin solid crust upon which mankind lives but also about non-

From the Mexican Republic to Patagonia at the southmost

renewable resources such as minerals, petroleum, uranium,

point of the continent, along the west coast of South

coal and geothermal deposits.

America, over the last 180 million years, the phenomenon called subduction prevails. The oceanic tectonic plates of

The knowledge of geological evolution is exciting and

the Pacific collide and slide below those of North America,

important because within this environment it is possible

Central America and South America, which gives the

to coexist and marvel at the perfection of nature which,

region surprising but dangerous mobility, characterized by

through an almost miraculous balance, has provided all

seismic zones, which is why millions of people living on the

the raw materials that the human race has used since it

coastline and within the continent are permanently at risk.

appeared on the face of the earth.

The settlement and historical evolution gave Mexico and

The concept of exploration has also appeared since

the countries of Central America and South America a

time immemorial, and of course the practice has been

privileged position in terms of precious, basic and non-

perfected over time. All countries, governments and

metallic mineral deposits. The three countries have an

societies are concerned with continuing to provide the

important historical, economic and social component

materials required to maintain the standard of living of

associated with mining activities, even predating the

today’s society. None of the habits or activities of man and

sixteenth century Spanish invasion.

woman would be possible if not for raw materials to build the everyday tools of modernity. There is high demand

As a result, each country is responsible for promoting

and that is why it is essential to continue supplying those

mining activities. Mexico covers almost 2 million km2; Peru


1.2 billion km and Chile 756,000km . Among the three 2


countries, 41.2 percent of the world’s silver, 43.6 percent of

Mexico’s landscape is varied, resulting from the geological

copper and 9 percent of gold is produced, so it can be said

evolution that gave rise to the formation of extensive

that mining is one of the main catalysts for the country’s

mountain ranges of volcanic or sedimentary origin, desert

economic development. The activity is carried out with care

and semi-desert plains, mountain ranges with active

for the environment and respect for the preservation and

volcanoes, rock complexes and reliefs in the south and

restoration of nature in those communities and regions in

calcareous platforms in the southeast of the country. The

which mineral deposits are explored and exploited.

Gulf of Mexico’s coastal zones are wide and their Pacific counterparts relatively narrow, which can be seen in the

The history of mining in Mexico and Latin America has

case of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the province of the

been more legendary than lucrative, at least in the early

world’s largest gold and silver epithermal deposits.





Q: What are CLUSMIN's primary objectives?

A: We are acutely aware of the need to educate the next

A: The goal of the mining cluster is not to promote the

generation. To this end, the National Science and Technology

sector – the government, the long history of mineral

Council (CONACYT) funded a study to determine the precise

extraction in Mexico and the country’s extensive resources

number of workers required to support the industrialization

act as a natural basis for investment promotion. We are

of the state until 2025. The study will be completed during

aiming to support the economic development of Zacatecas

2H17 and will provide data on the number of metallurgists,

state through the mining sector. We quickly realized that the

geologists, maintenance engineers and technicians needed

main goal should be to play to our strengths and maximize

by the sector for the next 18 years. The state polytechnic

the productivity of the industry in Zacatecas. To achieve this

university has recently created a course on metallurgical

objective, the entire value chain that participates in mining

engineering. The course will focus initially on mathematical

activities in the state needs to take part in and support

and scientific theory but second and third-year students will

the cluster.

spend at least one week out of every four in the field, at a metallurgical processing plant.

The cluster is split into four committees. The supplier committee, which is charged with attracting new businesses

The cluster is focused on the future. The state government

to Zacatecas; the human capital committee, which focuses

has built a science and technology park, which is helping

on attracting and developing human capital; the science

to finance new projects and innovative start-up companies.

and technology committee that ensures the continued

Minera Frisco set up the Laboratory for Mining Investigation,

technological development of the industry and finally,

Development and Training in this park, with an investment

the well-being committee, which works to protect the

of over MX$50 million. The University of Arizona is also

environment and to improve worker safety and health.

working on an international research center for compatible mining that will focus on sustainable tailings facilities,

Q: What role does the government play in the cluster?

remediation, forestation and biodiversity.

A: Although the cluster operates entirely separately from the state government, the public sector has an extremely

Q: How does the cluster contribute to the creation of new

important role. Firstly, the government must facilitate the

jobs in Zacatecas?

creation of new businesses, which includes reducing waiting

A: The mining cluster began by creating a supplier

times for permits and other qualifications. Secondly, it must

committee, whose role is to attract new businesses to the

create industrial parks where businesses can work together

state and create jobs for local workers. We are also working

and share knowledge and experience. Thirdly, it has a vital

toward bridging the gap between the suppliers and the

duty to attract new financial institutions to the state that

client, which can reduce costs, improve the level of service

can help SMEs access the capital required to grow and

and therefore boost productivity.

contribute to the local economy. We are under pressure from the trade unions to create Q: What training does the cluster provide to the new

more sources of employment because mining is becoming

generation of workers in the mining industry?

increasingly digital and mechanized. This is changing the nature of the mining job market, which now requires highly trained but fewer workers, and the industry as a whole has

The Zacatecas Mining Cluster (CLUSMIN) is a nonprofit civil

a responsibility to react and continue providing jobs. One

association formed by industry representatives and academia to

of the cluster’s main objectives is to attract new companies

strengthen the mining industry through the development of its

to Zacatecas that can train the large number of manual

human capital, as well as the attraction of suppliers to the state

workers in the state to use modern industrial equipment.



Q: What must Mexico do to become a more attractive

Q: How much of a boost was the Energy Reform for Peñoles

jurisdiction to the global investment community?

and how are you taking advantage of this opportunity?

A: Mexico has enormous potential. It is estimated that at

A: In 1999, we became concerned about the availability and

least 70 percent of the territory has not yet been explored.

cost of energy in Mexico and given that energy represented

States including Guerrero and Oaxaca have strong geology

around 40 percent of our expenses, we started to look for

but very little mining activity because there is no efficient

ways to lower costs. Industrias Peñoles made a strategic

policy in place to promote and support the sector. A few

decision to integrate our energy supply and start generating

years ago the country had a dream of becoming a global

our own electricity. In 2016, a total of 81 percent of the energy

automotive hub. The administration worked toward that

we consumed was generated in-house. Most of this comes

goal and now Mexico is the seventh most prolific car

from the petcoke thermal plant in San Luis Potosi, which

manufacturer in the world. We have to acknowledge the

generates 230MW, and the two wind plants in Oaxaca that

geological potential, the skilled workforce, the access to

generate over 40MW. We also have natural gas turbines in

industry-leading technologies present in the country to

Laguna del Rey, Coahuila and a steam generator in Torreon.

create the framework to capitalize on this opportunity. In April 2017, we also initiated a new wind project with Q: Peñoles recently announced an investment plan of

the Portuguese energy company Energias de Portugal

US$1.1 billion for the coming years. How will these funds

Renovables in Coahuila. The facility has an installed capacity

be allocated?

of 200MW, which will cover our energy needs for the zinc

A: The Rey de Plata polymetallic mine in Guerrero is

refinery expansion in Torreon. There is a new energy law in

currently under construction and should achieve commercial

Mexico that will require companies to procure at least 30

production by the end of 2018. The investment will total

percent of their energy from sustainable sources by 2025.

US$387 million and it should be a very profitable asset that

Peñoles has already reached that landmark because we are

produces gold, silver, zinc, lead and copper.

convinced of the need for sustainable development.

We will also be investing a total of US$330 million to expand

Q: What strategies does Peñoles have in place to cement

the capacity of our zinc refinery in Torreon by 50 percent

its leadership role within the Mexican mining sector?

to 360,000t/y from 240,000t/y. When completed, this will

A: The future of our company is based on three key

make Peñoles the sixth-largest zinc producer in the world.

strategic areas. The first is sustainable development, which

Zinc is tremendously important for steel and therefore the

incorporates the economic, social and environmental

construction and automotive sectors but global inventories

spheres. The second is human capital; we will continue to

are going down both in terms of concentrate and finished

invest substantially to recruit, develop and retain the most

products. Unlike precious metals, the zinc price is essentially

talented people in Mexico. The third is technology. We have

determined by fundamental economics so given the

an internal R&D group made up of 35 full-time researchers

strong demand and supply shortage, I am very bullish

working at a specialized center in Torreon and we are

on this commodity’s performance in the next few years.

always looking for innovative methods that can improve

Once Rey de Plata is operational, we will have a surplus

our practices.

of zinc concentrate and we will then become one of the few companies in the world to own both a zinc mine and a zinc refinery. Coupled with the fact that we are next to the

Industrias Peñolesis a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Grupo

US, which is a huge market with a substantial zinc deficit,

BAL. The group is the largest gold and lead producer in Latin

this will be an important asset for the company’s portfolio

America and through its subsidiary Fresnillo, the largest silver

going forward.

producer in the world



SILVER: MEXICO'S FAVORITE METAL Silver and Mexico have always gone hand in hand. Less

the US border. Over the years, it is Zacatecas that has

than one year after the arrival of Hernán Cortes in 1521,

become the jewel in Mexico’s silver crown, thanks to the

the rich silver deposits of colonial city Taxco were

discovery of world class deposits like Peñasquito, Saucito,

plundered and the city became renowned for its high-

Fresnillo and Juanicipio. These last three deposits have

grade silver. But in a straight line due northwest from

contributed to transforming Mexican operator Fresnillo

Taxco runs the country’s silver belt, crossing through

into a household name and the world’s premier silver

Zacatecas, Durango and Chihuahua all the way up to




„„Production share „„Reserves


million ounces is the production share of the world

20 236

15 • Latin America is the main producer (53%), Asia is second place (22%).

10 5 0






Poland Russia

• Biggest increases in: Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Kazakhstan

China Australia Others 20

• Biggest drops in: Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and India.

85 25


37 56

120 22



thousand tons of total global silver reserves


Silver reserves by country (thousands of Tons*)

























50 40 30 20 10 0





Sources: CAMIMEX, company websites, INEGI, Mineral Commodity Summaries, USGS, Silver Institute






Production (million ounces)













San José

Fortuna Silver




Industrias Peñoles

State of Mexico


Zacatecas remained Mexico's leading producer in 2016 with the country's top 3 silver mines


With 13% of national





biggest silver mine in Mexico.


million ounces produced by top 10 mines

production, Saucito is the

Ownership: 100%


rest of the country

Fresnillo Location: Zacatecas, 8km SW of the Fresnillo mine Commodity: Silver, Gold


Operational since:





Facilities: Underground mine with


flotation plants



Workforce: 773 employees, 1,337

million ounces total 2016 production

contractors Milling Capacity: 7,800t/d 2,600,000t/y

13.9% Chihuahua

Average ore grade in reserves: 245g/t Silver,


1.72g/t Gold Mine Life: 5.9 years


at 7,800t/d capacity 2015: 5.2 years at 7,500t/d capacity




Industrias Peñoles and Grupo México are leading primary refined silver producers, with an estimated volume of 73 million ounces in 2016. Peñoles is second place worldwide behind Korea Zinc.

million total investment

Project Dolores (expansion) 2017


2019 2020

La Colorada (expansion)

Company Pan American Silver


Production (Million ounces)

Investment (US$ million)







San Rafael

Americas Silver Corp




Rey de Plata

Industrias Peñoles




Pyrite Plant



Fresnillo-MAG Silver

San Sebastián (expansion)

Hecla Mining

La Ciénega (expansion)



Endeavour Silver




Media Luna

Torex Gold






3.5 10.3 4.3






Q: Given the recovery of precious metals prices in 2016

reposition our asset portfolio over the last four years, it

and early 2017, to what extent is optimism returning to

became a sticking point for investors. In the last 15 months

the mining community?

we have repaid roughly US$350 million in debt and our cash

A: The industry is certainly becoming more optimistic. Many

flow has more than doubled.

companies had been focusing on survival, hoping for an 238

upturn in prices for several years, so when that upturn finally

Q: What is the latest update from the Palmarejo mine?

came in 2016, there was a collective sigh of relief.

A: In 2014 most looked at Palmarejo and thought it was coming to the end of its production cycle. But we

While Coeur has enjoyed these tailwinds as well, our team

renegotiated an expensive royalty into a more favorable

is consciously maintaining its focus on cost and operational

gold stream expected to significantly increase free cash

discipline. This translates into continued discipline around

flow and developed the Guadalupe underground deposit.

growth. Before we decide to pursue an opportunity, it must

We also acquired Paramount Gold and Silver, the owner

meet rigid criteria anchored to a healthy rate of return. I

of the San Miguel project adjacent to Palmarejo, allowing

believe this is true across the industry. While the increased

us to develop the Independencia deposit, which began

optimism is noticeable, so is the persistent conservatism

production in 2016 and is expected to ramp up significantly

and tempered risk appetite.

in the next few years.

Q: What were the financial highlights for the company in

Palmarejo is now 100 percent underground. Production is

the last year and how were you able to generate such a

expected to increase over 50 percent in 2017 and based

strong growth rate?

on reserves, it now has a seven-year expected mine life.

A: Our stock performance over the last 12 months reflects

Importantly, grade and recovery rates have also improved

the confluence of a number of things. Firstly, our team

and overall costs continue to trend lower. Once again, we

has made tremendous progress in repositioning our asset

view Palmarejo as a long-term cash-flow generator for the

portfolio over the last four years. Our costs used to be


among the highest in the industry but since 2013, we have reduced our costs by approximately 30 percent on an all-in

Q: What else can investors and shareholders expect to see

sustaining basis. While we benefited from several external

from Coeur Mining in 2017 and 2018?

factors such as a more favorable peso exchange rate and

A: We will be focusing on completing a couple of new

lower diesel prices, most of these cost reductions were

growth projects. The first is the Kensington gold mine

internally generated through operational efficiencies, higher

in Alaska, where we are developing the Juneau deposit,

recovery rates and rationalization of outside services. This

which is expected to begin production in late 2017. The

makes the magnitude of our cost reductions even more

second is at the Rochester mine in Nevada, where we are

remarkable and, importantly, sustainable over the long-run.

constructing a leach pad expansion, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2017.

Secondly, our balance sheet was dominated by debt 12 months ago. While we needed this capital to invest in and

To complement our transition to underground operations at Palmarejo and expansions at Rochester and Kensington, our drilling and exploration budget has been increased for 2017

Coeur Miningis a diversified precious metals producer with

to target a strong pipeline of projects in key jurisdictions.

five mines in the Americas: Palmarejo in Chihuahua, Mexico,

Also, in 3Q17, we completed the acquisition of the Silvertip

Rochester in Nevada, Kensington in Alaska, Wharf in South

Mine in British Colombia, and we expect this asset to enter

Dakota and San BartolomĂŠ in Bolivia

production in 1Q18.



Godfrey Walton President and COO of Endeavour Silver

Q: What have been the main highlights and challenges

Bolañitos is another example; it was producing 50t/d of

of Endeavour Silver’s three operating mines in Mexico?

old Spanish mine fill when we bought it and now it is

BC: Our only disappointment last year was the Guanaceví

producing up to 1,600t/d of high-grade ores.

mine, which fell behind its planned production. It encountered some operating issues underground,

BC: We have several exciting development projects in our

including breaking into an area of hot water and we did

portfolio. El Compas is a small but high-grade mine that

not have sufficient pumping, ventilation and electrical

should be in production by the end of 2017. We bought

capacity to cope. We started a recovery plan last year

El Compas because even though the resources are small,

to expand those capacities and the work should be

the exploration and production potential are much larger,

completed in 2017 so that the mine will be back on

the mine is mostly permitted and the plant was already

track by year-end. We remain confident in the long-term

built and available on a 10-year lease.

potential at Guanaceví. Endeavour has several prospective properties in our Our second mine, Bolañitos, was last year and has for

exploration portfolio, including the large Guadalupe

many years been our most profitable mine. The gold we

y Calvo district in Chihuahua. The district was famous

produce at Bolañitos typically exceeds the total cost to

many years ago for its high-grade ores and is located

run the mine so the production of silver is effectively free.

only 25km from Fresnillo’s newest large silver-gold mine

We are concerned about its short mine life and we are

at San Julian. We are testing new targets at Guadalupe

working on exploration and land acquisitions to identify

y Calvo to augment the historic high-grade resources

further reserves and resources.

and we believe the opportunities here are promising, especially given the area's historic potential.

El Cubo, our third operating mine, was originally bought at the top of the metals market in 2012 as an operational

Terronera in Jalisco was acquired because it is an entire

turnaround candidate and a synergistic fit with Bolañitos.

district of silver-gold veins that had never been properly

It was a high-cost mine that was unwanted by its previous

explored in modern times. It has the potential to be the

owner. We invested a substantial amount of capital

biggest and second-most profitable of our mines by the

to discover new orebodies, expand the reserves and

end of 2018. Our first discovery is shallower, thicker and

resources, redevelop the property and rebuild the plant

richer than the orebodies at our operating mines, so it

and surface infrastructure. After being forced to accept

has a high probability of having better economics. It will

some operating losses during the turnaround phase, El

initially produce at 1,000t/d, then expand to 2,000t/d in

Cubo broke through last year and generated healthy

year two, to eventually produce over 5 million ounces of

positive cash flow.

silver equivalent. Finally, our Parral project was acquired because it has a 32-million-ounce historic resource and

Q: What strategy does the company follow when

there are multiple untested exploration targets to expand

selecting new areas for acquisition and development?

the resources. Parral is a possible production startup by

GW: We look for brownfield opportunities where we can

the end of 2019.

make a difference. Our geological expertise helps us to decide where to go and what needs to be done to discover new orebodies. Investing in drill holes to test virgin targets

Endeavour Silveris a midtier silver mining company focused

is a must. One example of success is Guanaceví. It was

on the growth of its silver production, reserves and resources

producing 100t/d of old tailings when we bought the mine

in Mexico. Since startup in 2004, it has grown silver equivalent

and now it is producing up to 1,200t/d of high-grade ores.

ounce production to 9.7 million ounces in 2016




Q: What differentiates Kootenay most from other

the exploration of that mine with a carried to production

exploration-stage companies?

interest. Through this agreement, Pan American has four

A: The expertise of our team on the ground is one of our

years to earn 75 percent and must invest US$8 million

strongest assets and there are few companies that have this

and pay us another US$8 million. After four years, Pan

kind of experience. We have assembled one of the largest

American must supply all the money for any further

silver-asset banks in Mexico held by a junior that provides our

expenditures incurred on the property but is allowed

shareholders with exceptional leverage to the silver market.

to recover these expenditures from 75 percent of our

At a corporate and board level, we have broad knowledge

share of production if it is successful in building a mine.

that covers the whole mining spectrum from grassroots

This is good for us because it mitigates the financial and

discovery to mine construction, finance and operations.

technical risk faced by Kootenay. Pan American recently began its second phase of drilling on the La Negra project

Q: What progress is being made on La Cigarra?

following a phase one program that was highly successful

A: It had a strong start last year and has recently pulled

in returning a series of high-grade silver intercepts at

back slightly, which is natural. We are now responding by

depth, confirming results from previous drilling.

advancing the La Cigarra asset because we believe we acquired something that can be turned into a mine and

Q: What are the main challenges you have faced working

expanded significantly. It is a strong asset in a historic

in Mexico?

Mexican silver district and just south of our project there are

A: When we are looking to acquire new concessions, we

significant production levels. We now want to start exploring

are running into significant problems with the process

that asset, testing our targets, expanding resources, making

of application, granting and cancellation of mining

some discoveries and ultimately take it to a feasibility stage

concessions by the government. Some of this is a

where we can make a production decision. The near future

result of the new energy law, which placed a priority on

will hold a lot of geological work, drilling and metallurgical

hydrocarbons in Mexico over all other assets. This has

studies for potential future extraction.

created a barrier to mining in large areas across Mexico and, unfortunately, a mechanism has not yet been created

At the beginning of 2017, we began exploring our options

to address this issue.

for improving the existing resource model on the La Cigarra asset. After leach testing in March, we began a

We recently completed a deal on a project for which we

7,500m drill program in May and through this program we

have been waiting for approvals for over three years. This

identified a significant new mineralized silver target at the

project would not require a great deal of investment to

La Navidad zone. Moreover, drilling at the Las Venadas

take it to the drilling stage, which is extremely rare. This is

zone on this property extended silver mineralization 140m

because the target is so clear and we have already carried

northeast. As of September 2017, Kootenay mobilized our

out sampling and determined that the grade is sufficient. We

drilling activity to the La Navidad zone and we eagerly

are concerned about this and we want to start discussing

await the results of the first drill holes on this target.

the problems with officials at different levels to gauge how it is affecting the company and the country.

Q: What other projects are you working on in Mexico apart from La Cigarra? A: We also have the very promising Promontorio-La

Kootenay Silveris a Canadian and Mexican-based silver

Negra asset in Sonora that we optioned one year ago

exploration company engaged in the development of three

to Pan American Silver. This is one of the biggest silver-

major silver projects in Mexico, including La Cigarra in

mining companies in the world and is now overseeing

Chihuahua, and Promontorio and La Negra in Sonora





Q: How do you assess the regulatory and social environment

eliminates the risk of any tailings spilling into the Balsas

for foreign mining companies working in Mexico?

River. It is a complex mechanism so we have been working

A: For the most part, regulations in Mexico are clearly

through a number of details to ensure that the operation

established and if a company adheres to all the requirements

works to its full capacity. We are also constructing a new

there should be no issues. For a mining operation, an efficient

SART plant, which is due for completion by the end of 2017.

rule of law is essential because otherwise the asset simply

This facility will not help throughput directly but it will

becomes too risky, so we truly value the cooperation we enjoy

reduce AISC by around US$100/oz once it is operational.

with the Guerrero State Government and from the governor. While we were building El Limon-Guajes, exploration fell The social side of operating in Mexico is more complex. We

down our list of priorities but this is set to change now that

are working in Guerrero, which does not have a history of

the mine is in production. We have had some encouraging

industrial activity, so we have to educate the local workforce

high-grade intercepts from recent borehole drilling,

about the benefits of the industry and how it works. Mining

including some 300g/t hits. This is 10 times higher than

is entirely different to sustenance farming, which has

anything we have ever seen before on the property, so it

traditionally dominated the area, and this lack of industrial

gives us great encouragement. We plan to spend at least

experience can be challenging. The local communities are

US$5 million developing the resource this year.

open to mining and see the long-term advantages of the activity but there is a lack of expertise. For example, we

Q: What are the latest plans for Media Luna and what

recently suffered a blockade because certain members of the

impact could this asset have on your portfolio?

community wanted to be employed, but we cannot employ

A: Media Luna has the potential to turn the area into a

all 7,000 people in the local area. Given that we have made

district that mines for generations. Permit applications for

a US$1 billion investment into the state, this is disappointing

the exploration tunnel are in their final stages and will soon

but it is a reality that we are dealing with.

be submitted, so we expect to start drifting during 4Q17. From that point we can start the process of upgrading the

Q: What were the highlights during the first year of

current resources and continue plans for engineering and

commercial production at El Limon-Guajes?

construction. Fortunately, we now have a constant revenue

A: There is an endless series of bottlenecks that need to be

stream from El Limon so we know that financing the project

negotiated when moving a project from the development

will not be an issue. Eventually we expect Media Luna to

phase into construction and production. We first needed to

produce far more gold ounces than El Limon for a longer

ensure that the grinding circuit was functioning efficiently,

period of time.

then we needed to test the leach circuit and figure out how to deal with the large quantity of copper in the deposit. We

Q: What do you think Mexico should be doing to attract

are now working on the final major obstacle, the tailings

further investment into the sector?

filtration circuit. We have installed the biggest tailings

A: The government needs to find a way to reduce the

filtration circuit in the world at the plant and the system

mining royalty tax or expedite the return of those funds

not only enables us to recycle all the water we use but also

to the communities. Mining is an industry that brings employment and other opportunities to parts of the country where no other industry is present, but the tax is

Torex Goldis an emerging intermediate gold producer based

making it difficult for companies to continue doing that.

in Canada and engaged in the exploration, development and

Three years have now passed since the introduction of the

exploitation of its 100 percent-owned Morelos gold property,

reform, which is enough time to make an impact but we

an area of 29,000 hectares in the Guerrero Gold Belt

have yet to see any results.



Q: Why did the company encounter so many operational

position but unfortunately this is the reality that we face. I am

and financial stumbling blocks in 2016?

not happy to let go of so many workers but these adjustments

A: The majority of the financial issues were driven by the

are necessary to stay financially viable and to secure the

decision taken by SAT to change its position with respect

long-term future of the project and the company, so we

to our advanced tax ruling. We sell a large portion of our

are prepared to accept a lengthy shutdown of operations if

silver production to Wheaton Precious Metals at a fixed

necessary to reach our objective.

price of approximately US$4.20 and we reached a deal with the previous federal government for an advanced tax

Q: Despite the issues, San Dimas is still a high-quality

ruling with respect to this arrangement. Unfortunately, the

deposit. What is the long-term vision for the mine?

current administration is trying to retroactively change

A: The mine has been operating for over 200 years and the

this agreement, so we are in ongoing discussions with the

mineral potential on the property is still very strong. Due to

Mexican tax authorities. Coupled with the fact that we are

the issues we experienced in 2016, we were unable to do

currently owed US$42 million in VAT and income taxes

much exploration or drilling work on site but in the past we

receivable, the issue has weighed down our balance sheet

have replenished our reserves on a yearly basis, so it has a

during the past year.

great track record and anyone that visits the property from a technical or geological point of view leaves with a very positive

On the operational side, we carried out a significant amount

impression. We are confident and once we have settled into

of expansion at the San Dimas mine over the past six

the new mine plan, we will begin exploring the property again

years. In 2016 we planned expansion to 3,000t/d, and we

and hopefully we can make new discoveries and increase

calculated that we would make a return on that investment

our workforce. However, in the short term our focus is on

within two years. This was very attractive to us and we went

streamlining the operation to maximize the potential of our

full steam ahead with the construction, but in hindsight we

core mineral targets that drive the most profitability.

did not build out our infrastructure surrounding the mine sufficiently to cope with the extra strain. When we got

Q: What will be your main objectives as interim CEO and

behind on the infrastructure, the problems began to mount

where will Mexico fit into your overall strategy?

from an operational point of view. On the plus side, we have

A: Mexico is a critical jurisdiction for us and will continue to

learned from this experience and will not be making the

be. San Dimas is the company’s flagship asset, so we need to

same mistake again.

make that mine profitable for us again as soon as possible. In the past, the company has been focused on growth but now

Q: How are you rethinking your strategy at San Dimas

we will be focused on profitability and consolidation of our

following events in 2016?

assets. At the start of 2017 we secured a binding term sheet

A: We are going to downsize the operation significantly,

for a US$75 million loan. This was an important development

reducing the number of veins we are mining from around

that will ensure the future of the company for the next

30 to just five or six core targets, and daily production

three years or so while we work back toward profitability.

will decline to below 2,500t/d. We will also be changing

The majority of the proceeds from the loan will go toward

the mining method, which will lead to a far more efficient

repaying our revolving credit facility.

operation. Unfortunately, this will require fewer workers. We currently have a workforce that is much larger than we require and this provided the catalyst for the strike at the

Primero Miningis a Canadian-based precious metals producer

mine in February 2017. The two main issues are the size of

that owns the San Dimas mine and the Cerro del Gallo

the workforce and the bonus structure. We will need to cut

development project in Mexico, as well as the Black Fox mine

the workforce by around 25 percent. It is an uncomfortable

in Ontario, Canada




Q: How have changes in commodity prices in 2016 and the

Q: Given the wide range of services that Detector

early part of 2017 impacted service suppliers like Detector

Exploraciones provides, which does your Mexican client


base demand most?

A: For service providers like ourselves, the rise in prices

A: We have particular expertise in exploration. The company

has been a great boost because operators and explorers

makes considerable investments in drone technology as

alike are starting to ramp up drilling programs to increase

well as training for geologists, engineers and mechanics.

reserves. We are seeing a lot more contracts on the table

Our drone technology was used by Goldcorp at the

and more jobs on offer for workers across the value chain.

PeĂąasquito mine in Zacatecas. We managed to complete

For the past three years we have been working mainly

an exploration program, which would usually take one year,

with operators such as McEwen Mining at the El Gallo

in just four months. We completed a 70km flight scanning

complex in Sinaloa.

all the local terrain, borders and infrastructure in just three days. This enabled the client to gain accurate geo-

Major mining companies will not consider developing a

referential information about the surrounding area and to

deposit smaller than 1 million gold ounces and they must

make the necessary payment arrangements immediately.

constantly work to increase the reserves and mine life of their operations. Our technology can provide accurate

We are also proud of the extensive training we offer

3D models and other geological data that mine operators

our workers to ensure that we are using state-of-the-art

use to explore around a producing asset so we have been

technology. Otherwise we will not be able to compete with

delighted to see confidence return to the sector.

other mining jurisdictions.

Between 2015 and 2016, the company managed to

Q: As a service provider, what are the most pertinent

increase the total meters drilled by 30 percent. With

challenges facing your business at the moment?

more and more exploration projects being launched on a

A: Aside from security, which is a huge issue for the entire

consistent basis, we hope to further increase this number

country, the most pertinent challenge we face is the delay

by 20 percent to 200,000m in 2017.

in receiving drilling permits in certain parts of the country. There have been many cases where we have identified a

Q: What changes do you expect to see following the

strong deposit, we have the equipment and the contract to

creation of the Undersecretariat of Mining?

commence work but it can take months or sometimes years

A: The change was made with the best interests of the

to obtain all the necessary legal and environmental permits

Mexican mining sector at heart. The new Undersecretary

required to start operating. Then, once the permits have been

for Mining should open a whole range of opportunities

obtained, often the external circumstances have changed

to service providers but the whole community has a

and the project is no longer viable. Another area that can

duty to work together to resolve the issues that affect

be improved is land ownership. Since the Energy Reform,

us all. The public sector of course influences the industry

electricity companies and other power generators have clear

and plays an important role in attracting investment

guidelines on how to use land and work with ejidos but the

and facilitating the operational business environment

mining sector is still stuck in the past.

but the responsibility for solving the problems of mining companies is on the shoulders of the companies themselves. It is fantastic that the federal government is

Detector Exploracionesis a Mexican company founded in

placing more importance on the mining sector but it does

1997 that provides geology, geomatics and other exploration

not mean that all of the industry’s issues will disappear

services to both mining companies and the public sector


throughout the country




Q: How is Chemours’ positioning its corporate identity

segment, we have big brands like Teflon, Krytox, Nafion

among its clients and within the market?

and Viton.

A: As part of our transformation plan, we have five pillars


that have been key in convincing our stakeholders that we

Q: Chemours has a presence in more than 130 countries.

can deliver on our promises: an important focus on cost

Where does Mexico stand in the company’s operations and

reduction, analysis of businesses and industries in which we


participate, definition of locations for adequate investments,

A: Mexico will continue being a strategic country in Chemours’

improving the organization and market positioning. Our

operations. We have been in Mexico for over 90 years but we

cost reduction strategy is focused on having a flexible

approach the market with an entrepreneurial mindset. This

and not so robust cost-structure, so we can operate in an

means we have to understand our client’s needs and how we

intelligent and efficient manner while we continue investing

can help them. In Mexico, we play an important role in the

in new products, sites and people. As a result, in 2016 we

mining industry.

reduced costs by US$200 million. Chemours believes in Mexico and we are sure that the country Due to our focus on innovation, we understand the

will continue growing. An example of our commitment is

macro scenario, global megatrends, possible solutions

related to the number of investments we are performing. In

for coming industry needs, worldwide challenges ahead,

Altamira, Tamaulipas, we have the largest titanium dioxide

what our clients and commercial partners need and what

plant in the world. Last year, we invested US$580 million in

can Chemours do to help them reach their growth goals.

its expansion to build a second production line. There are also

However, to accomplish this they need to overcome the

plans to establish a new site in Mexico for our mining solutions

challenges this evolution process requires. At Chemours,

business that will entail an investment of US$150 million.

through the magic and the power of chemistry, we become enablers for companies to innovate their offering.

Q: Of Chemours’ global operations, what percentage does Mexico represent?

Q: What is the extent of Chemours’ business activities?

A: Latin America accounts for 13 percent of our total sales,

A: Chemours has three business lines: Titanium

of which Mexico contributes 9 percent. Between local sales

Technologies, Fluoroproducts and Chemical Solutions.

and exports, Mexico generates around US$800 million.

These lines generated a total of US$5.4 billion in net

In Mexico, the sales performance of our mining solutions

sales in 2016. We are world leaders in titanium dioxide

business becomes relevant even though, worldwide, our

production, which is a white pigment that can be found in

mining solutions sales only account for 5 percent of the

everything white that you see in plastics, paper, laminates

company’s total sales. A particularity of the country is that

and paintings. In Mexico, we have the world largest plant in

our sales here have a balanced distribution between the

Altamira, Tamaulipas. Fluoroproducts is another business

three business lines.

line that represents almost half the company’s sales. We are the world’s leader in this area, which is divided in two:

Q: Which sectors do you expect to contribute to Chemours’

fluoropolymers and fluorochemicals. In the fluoropolymers

growth in Mexico? A: The oil and gas industry will generate an economic boom in the country in the coming years thanks to the

The Chemours Companyfounded in 2015, is a spinoff from

Energy Reform. At Chemours, we know what this industry

DuPont. Chemours specializes in the manufacture of three

needs to continue growing and we know the challenges

types of chemicals: titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and

it will experience and how to help related companies face

other chemical solutions

these challenges.



Q: What are the targets for Cerro San Pedro in 2017?

planted trees. This is a long-term commitment that will last

A: We closed the pit entirely in mid-2016 and since then

for several years.

we have been in a phase of residual leaching. It is hard to predict how long this process will last because it is heavily

Q: What strategies do you have in place to ensure that

dependent both on the minerals recoveries and the gold

the Cerro San Pedro community can continue to thrive?

price. We will continue for as long as it is economically

A: During the operation’s golden age, from 2010-2013,

feasible and we have set guidance at 35,000-43,000 gold

Minera San Xavier had an average of 900 workers,

ounces at Cerro San Pedro for 2017. Cerro San Pedro is an

employees and contractors. With the closure of the pit,

historical asset that was discovered in the year 1590 so quite

the team has been stripped down to around 140, so close

simply the reserves have been exhausted. We have made

to 70 percent of the workforce has already moved on. To

significant efforts to continue exploiting the deposit as long

approach this challenge in the right way and ensure that

as possible and in a sustainable manner but the asset is

our workers are best equipped to move on from Minera

depleted. Across our producing assets around the world,

San Xavier, we have set up a number of initiatives. Instead

our goal is 380,000-430,000 ounces throughout the year.

of deciding for ourselves what our staff would foresee as a feasible future. We conducted a comprehensive

Q: What have been the main challenges in designing the

consultation with our employees enquiring in which areas

mine closure plan?

they would most like to receive training. Where possible,

A: It is paramount to execute a successful mine closure,

we then provided the corresponding training courses. This

one that leaves a positive and long-lasting legacy at our

included electricity and plumbing courses, training for the

hosting community. The main obstacle is to ensure that in

automotive sector that is strong in San Luis Potosi, hair

the long-run, our sound mining operation and community

stylist courses, mechanics and even training on handling

work prevails over a negative and ill-founded narrative

television cameras with TV Azteca. We also helped dozens

originally crafted by the opponents of our project when

of our truck operators to get an official certification for

it was approved for commercial operation in 2007. We

their mining skills, to enable them to look for jobs on

must have a mine closure plan that not only meets best

mining projects elsewhere. We have contacted peer mining

international practices but also caters to the future core

companies to recommend our former workers.

needs of the local communities in San Luis Potosi. The real issue behind the original opposition to the project was that

Finally, we have also created and funded a formal foundation

the site is extremely close to a colonial town and to the city

called Todos Por Cerro San Pedro, which is designed to

of San Luis Potosi so there was strong resistance to building

operate on a standalone basis once Minera San Xavier has

a new open-pit mine so close to urban areas.

totally shut down. The idea is to prepare the locals to run the foundation themselves, both from an administrative and

The closure plan is vital for us to maintain the hard-earned

financial standpoint so that they can continue to develop

good reputation that we have achieved through many

the local economy and ongoing projects independently. We

years of a sustainable operation. The biophysical side is

want to ensure that we leave a positive corporate footprint

heavily regulated in Mexico, and supervised and audited

behind us.

by external qualified persons. We have completed the first stage, which is reforestation. Despite some unforeseen and unpreventable setbacks, we have successfully reforested

New Gold is an intermediate gold miner with three producing

a total of 393.3ha, which represents 100 percent of our

assets in Australia, Canada and the US. Its Cerro San Pedro

commitment. We are now moving onto the second stage,

project in Mexico transitioned to redisual leaching in 2016 after

which is to maintain the healthy survival of the newly-

a decade of production


Distrito Armida, San Pedro Garza GarcĂ­a, Nuevo Leon



A country’s prosperity is intricately linked to the quality of its infrastructure. Concrete and steel are the building blocks of a nation’s economy, boosting the competitiveness of its industries. For Mexico to join the world’s leading economies, it must invest more time and money in constructing and maintaining its infrastructure. 2018 will mark the end of Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidential term, placing the advancements of the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) under a magnifying glass. With the country’s hefty US$544 billion infrastructure gap, Mexico would need to spend more on developing its road, rail, port and airport infrastructure fast, or else economic growth could be jeopardized. Against this horizon, 2017 was a year of uncertainty and caution but Mexico was able to rise up and demonstrate its attractiveness to world investors.

The private sector continues to boost the performance of the construction industry and a financial gap has created new opportunities for institutional investors to become involved in infrastructure through the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV). Ahead of the 2018 elections, SCT is eager to check off as many commitments a possible from its list and will place its efforts not only on the remaining projects, but also in rebuilding three states damaged by the September 2017 earthquakes.



ANALYSIS: The Building Blocks for a New Infrastructure Era


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gustavo Arballo, CMIC


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Federico Patiño, GACM


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Fernando Romero, FR-EE






VIEW FROM THE TOP: Jorge Torruco, Grupo Omega


INFOGRAPHIC: The Legacy of Mexico's Construction Giants


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Eduardo Andrade, Sacyr México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Julio Amodio, CAABSA Infraestructura




VIEW FROM THE TOP: Javier Sordo Madaleno de Haro, GSM




VIEW FROM THE TOP: Diana Muñozcano, Grupo Indi


INSIGHT: Sergio Forte, Banobras


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Leautaud, BlackRock


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Juan Manuel Valle, Afore XXI Banorte



THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR A NEW INFRASTRUCTURE ERA In 2013, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced his ambitious, but muchneeded National Infrastructure Plan 2013-2018. The clock is ticking to finish 266 commitments, of which 210 are for road, transport, health and education infrastructure With the election of US President Donald Trump, investors

does not publish procurement guidelines, it registers

and the private sector rang in 2017 with uncertainty and

low scores in terms of bid evaluations, transparency and

conservative investments across all sectors. S&P predicts that

post-award management of contracts. GI Hub estimates

the NAFTA renegotiation could hurt Mexico’s transportation

that Mexico requires a US$1.1 trillion investment to meet

industry over the years due to a potential weakening of the

its infrastructure needs. It currently has a US$544 billion

country’s expected GDP growth. But after rating various

shortfall in that investment.

infrastructure players, the agency believes the sector has


strong credit quality that will allow it to weather the storm.


Investors were cautious, but nobody backed away from the

Election years tend to make not only investors weary but

opportunities. After a couple of months, the sector began

both the private and public sectors. With elections around

to see movement, especially within the real estate segment.

the corner, as of October 2017 there was little knowledge of candidate plans for infrastructure development. The


pre-candidate for Morena, Andrés Manuel López Obrador,

Latin American countries on average invest 3.3 percent

is expected to impact infrastructure development if elected.

of their GDP in infrastructure development, while Asian

In his book, 2018 La Salida, he discusses his vision for

and Pacific countries invest on average 7.7 percent of their

Mexico’s future infrastructure development. Apart from

GDP, according to the World Bank. CEPAL states that for

reverting the education, energy and fiscal structural reforms

Latin American countries to bridge their infrastructure

passed by Peña Nieto’s administration, his plan includes the

gap, they would have to invest 6.2 percent of their GDP

construction of new highways, two new airstrips in the Santa

annually for eight years.

Lucia Air Base and the cancelation of NAICM. He wants to develop new refineries in Tabasco and Campeche.

In the first five years of Peña Nieto’s term in office, MX$521.8 billion (US$27.3 billion) was allocated to SCT, an average

Project continuity is one of the most pressing issues

of MX$104.36 billion (US$5.46 billion) each year and

concerning industry players when it comes to changes in

2.4 percent of the total budget. According to the Global

political terms. “A new administration is a risk to developers

Infrastructure Hub, the public sector invested more than

because authorities with a different vision may prevent the

US$70.6 billion and the private sector invested US$12.2

continuation of important public projects. This creates a

billion in infrastructure in the last five years in Mexico,

cycle of projects with a short-term vision as it is difficult

equating to a total of US$16.56 billion per year. With Mexico’s

to ensure the long-term continuity among rotating

GDP standing at US$1.046 trillion, this adds up to just 1.58

administrations,” says Francisco Ibáñez, Lead Partner,

percent of GDP, falling significantly short of the investment

Capital Projects and Infrastructure at PwC.

required to meet infrastructure demand. Mexico’s short-term vision has stunted its economic growth In WEF’s 2017 Global Competitiveness Report, Mexico

due to a shortage of transport infrastructure. Various road

dropped two spots from 57 to 62 in comparison to last

projects have been stopped for over six years and the

year. Through this presidential term, Mexico failed to rise

expansions of the country’s ports still have a long way to

above the 57 ranking. This year, transport infrastructure

go. “In my opinion, the current political leaders should ask

was impacted the most, falling in the charts and impacting

themselves how they would like to see that state or area in

the total infrastructure ranking.

five years,” says Julio Amodio, Director General of CAABSA.


“If we continue to base our projects and decisions for the The country’s quality of infrastructure score is 4.3 of 7 and

short-term, we will not move forward.”

of the six axes, it performed the best under the Planning and Selection section by having a public project pipeline,


a national infrastructure plan and guides for appraisal of

The construction sector plays a major role in the economic

projects. Nevertheless, in procurement, where the country

development of the country and has the potential to

represent between 4-5 percent of GDP. Budget cuts have

had been on the rise for the last few months and with the

deeply impacted the industry in the last five years. From

earthquakes, it was predicted that prices would skyrocket

2013 to 2016 it grew an average of 0.4 percent, mainly

as demand increases. In 1Q17, construction prices rose 12.5

thanks to an increase in private sector investment and in

percent compared to the same time last year, a rate not

specialized works, which rose 4.2 percent and 10 percent

seen since 2008.

in 2016, respectively.

THE PROPOSED BUDGET 2018 In 1H17, the sector grew 1 percent in comparison to the same

Throughout the Peña Nieto presidential term, infrastructure

period in 2016, a low percentage resulting from the cuts

spending has fluctuated between 1.5 and 3 percent of the

in public spending and rising interest rates. Even though

federal budget. SCT’s budget has varied through the years

the sector is experiencing slower growth, it is still the

with the highest percentage allocated in 2013, 2014 and

fourth most important economic activity in Mexico and the

2015, following an investment pattern of lower spending at

third most important sector in terms of jobs generation,

the end of a presidential term. With the proposed budget

representing more than 6 million direct jobs and 3 million

for 2017, a total of MX$522 billion (US$27.4 billion) will have

indirect jobs.

been allocated to SCT from 2012-2017.

According to CMIC, the market is worth approximately

In September, the Ministry of Finance proposed the budget

MX$2.4 trillion and is divided into 23 percent public sector

for 2018 but the two earthquakes that struck Oaxaca-

and 77 percent private sector. Of the private sector’s

Chiapas and Morelos-Puebla have yet to be contemplated.

participation, industrial construction represents 15.6

The budgets for 2016 and 2017 were drastically impacted

percent; nonresidential construction, 8.7 percent; housing,

by dropping oil prices, but the preliminary budget for 2018

39.2 percent; construction of hospitals and schools, 9

will not be as harsh, with a cut of MX$43.8 billion (US$2.3

percent; commercial, 18.3 percent; tourism, 4.4 percent; and

billion, or 0.2 percent of the GDP).

maintenance and repair, 4.8 percent. In 2017, the two main investment packages will be in the


hydraulic sector and for communication and transportation

Mexico’s cities are growing, and they are growing fast. By

projects under SCT. MX$11.5 billion (US$604 million) will be

2040, more than 88 percent of the country’s population

allocated to repairing and constructing water infrastructure

will be living in urban areas and by 2050 that figure will

throughout the country. SCT will have a budget of MX$7.2

be more than 90 percent. As part of the 2030 Agenda,

billion (US$378 million) to finish all the projects on its list,

Mexico agreed to reach 17 Sustainable Development

with more than 25 percent of the budget allocated to railway

Goals (SDG) that will help end poverty, fight inequality

and multimodal development. GACM will be allocated

and ensure a prosperous future for all. Mexico must

MX$5.8 billion (US$304 million) to advance the construction

invest US$544 billion in infrastructure to 2040 to reach

of NAICM and MX$3.2 billion (US$168 million) will be for the

the SDGs.

conservation of roads and highways. The states that will receive the most money in 2018 are Oaxaca, Guanajuato,

The SDGs that are impacted by or impact the Mexican

Campeche, Chiapas and Puebla.

infrastructure industry are: Clean Water and Treatment, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action,

The 2018 budget cuts will place construction companies

Sustainable Cities and Communities, Industry, Innovation and

and SCT on the tightrope as they race against the clock

Infrastructure, and Clean Water and Sanitation. Companies

to complete the country’s most important infrastructure

within the infrastructure industry, such as Rotoplas, are

projects. The Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train, Guadalajara

taking matters into their own hands and establishing the

Electric Urban Train, NAICM and the government’s

same goals for their companies.

commitment to boost the country’s road network and water infrastructure are the most important projects for the year

In September 2017, Mexico’s foundations were shaken by

to come.

two earthquakes. The first on Sept. 7 with a magnitude of 8.2 and an epicenter in Chiapas and the second on Sept.

The NIP details three mass transportation projects: Mexico-

19 with a 7.1 magnitude along the border of Puebla and

Toluca Interurban Train, Line 3 of the Guadalajara Electric

Morelos. These two earthquakes destroyed more than

Urban Train and Line 3 of the Monterrey Metro, which have

150,000 houses, leaving more than 250,000 people without

a 57.4 percent, 67.7 percent and 85 percent completion rate

a home, according to SEDATU. The country’s housing deficit

respectively as of July 2017. The Mexico-Toluca Interurban

in 2017 was 12.2 million homes and will only increase with

Train, which was divided in three sections, has been

the damage wrought by the earthquakes. Material prices

advancing slowly.




Q: What is CMIC’s 2017-2018 forecast for the construction

less than in May 2016. This result is due to two factors that

industry, especially with the elections around the corner?

have reduced credit availability to construction companies.

A: CMIC expects 2018 to be as difficult as 2017. The real

The first is the reduction in public works that has narrowed

estate industry, especially the construction of medium and

the opportunities to obtain a contract. Without a contract,

high-end residential buildings, mixed-use developments,

there is no guarantee with which credit can be obtained. The

shopping centers and tourism infrastructure, will likely play a

second is the gradual increase in interest rates, which lifts the

leading role for the remainder of 2017 and in 2018. The Center

cost of credit and reduces available financing. On Jun. 22, 2017,

for Economic Studies of the Construction Sector (CEESCO)

Banxico decided to increase the overnight interbank interest

estimates growth for 2017 from a contraction of -1 percent to

rate by 25 basis points for a third time to 7 percent. With this

a 0.5 percent expansion due to fundamental factors such as

increase, the benchmark interest rate doubled compared to

the 23 percent cut in the public investment budget compared

2015 levels. Rising interest rates increase the cost of financing,

with 2016, as well as increases in interest rates. A reduction of

inhibit investment and increase the cost of debt.

40,000 jobs is expected in the event of a contraction or the creation of up to 20,000 jobs if there is growth.

In recent years, private investment has been the driving force behind the growth of the construction industry since

From January to July 2017, the construction industry

it represents 75 percent of the total investment in the sector.

contracted 0.6 percent compared with the same period in

The reduction of public resources for the development

2016. It is likely that, for the remainder of the year, factors that

of infrastructure opens up a range of opportunities for

inhibit investment and growth will include reduced public and

the private investor to participate in complementary

private investment and the rise in the official interest rate to

infrastructure projects like roads, ports, airports, railways,

twice its 2015 level, which will make infrastructure projects

telecommunications and water projects to maximize

more expensive. The result of the NAFTA renegotiation

economic and social benefit.

could also have an impact by restraining vital exports, in turn negatively impacting investment in industrial and commercial

But in Mexico, we now have the PPP law, which establishes a

construction and services.

stronger legal framework for mixed participation, and allows for greater investment in infrastructure. In this way, the law

In 2018, the construction industry is expected to grow

has bolstered investor interest in the sector. It also provides

between 0.3 percent and 1 percent. Residential construction

greater legal certainty to the creation of projects that involve

geared toward the middle and upper classes, as well as a

the joint participation of the public and private sectors.

robust tourism sector, commercial and service infrastructure

Within the law, there is the novel USP scheme that allows

will be the industry drivers in 2018. Risk factors include

an investor the possibility of proposing a PPP project to the

an even greater reduction in oil prices or oil production,

government. The main areas of opportunity in Mexico for PPPs

continued inflationary pressures and an additional cut in 2018

seem to be hospitals, petrochemical and natural gas, water

expenditures for public investment in infrastructure.

supply, sanitation, power generation, telecommunications, penitentiaries, schools, roads, railways, ports, transportation

Q: What would make the construction sector more attractive

and housing.

to both investors and contractors? A: In the January-May 2017 period, credit granted by commercial and development banks to the construction

CMIC represents the interests of construction companies,

industry fell 6.5 percent in real terms compared to the same

offering services to promote a highly competitive industry

period a year before. The total amount of credit provided to

at the forefront of innovation that incorporates social

the industry in May 2017 was MX$489.8 billion, MX$3.9 billion

responsibility and technological innovation





Q: What progress has been made on NAICM’s development?

way. GACM endeavors to become a reference for projects of

A: The project was announced in September 2014 by

this scale. Also, we want to complete the project on time and

President Peña Nieto. Since then, GACM has hired the

within budget, especially given its level of complexity. This

best team worldwide. 2014 and 2015 were years dedicated

project involves a series of contingencies and uncertainties,

to planning and carrying out the required tests. Several

and we constantly encounter surprises that we must solve.

studies were carried out even before this point. An airport is

The possibility of making a mistake with decisions is always

a project that involves complex logistical development and

present, so we try to have the best counseling possible. It is

demands a high level of sophistication. We then focused on

also paramount to have a sense of urgency because often

the design. The project was designed to meet the country’s

we do not have much time to react to certain situations.

needs, so that it could serve as the gateway from Mexico to the world. Starting in 2016, the construction began with

Q: What strategies are being implemented by the different

preliminary projects for site preparation, such as the 33km

companies involved to optimize processes?

perimeter fence, access roads, construction of the on-site

A: Only 6 percent of the megaprojects constructed

offices, the removal of debris, the temporary sewage and

around the world are finished on time and within budget.

ground leveling. All those projects are now completed.

We are one of the first projects in Mexico and the first of

In the same year, we tendered around 65 percent of the

its kind to use BIM (Building Information Modeling). This

project’s value, awarding runways 2 and 3, the foundation

methodology helps us use intelligent, connected workflows

piles and the electrical substation, among others. In 2017,

to help improve predictability and productivity. We also

we started the construction of the terminal foundations,

work closely with the project manager, contractors and

the control tower and runways 2, 3 and 6. The runways

supervision entities to develop management strategies.

are being built simultaneously, starting with 2, 3 and 6 in

NAICM is also a self-financing project. Recently, we issued

the first phase and 1, 4 and 5 in the second. This year we

green bonds for up to US$4 billion, which gives us a total

started to see the project take shape in a tangible way. We

financing of US$6 billion. The financing scheme is backed

have 7,000 trucks moving material every day and 40,000

by the current airport’s excess cash flows and eventually

people working on the project. By next year, we expect to

by the new airport. Fortunately, the financing scheme is

have generated 160,000 direct and indirect jobs.

based on the TUA that is charged to most passengers, and is charged in dollars. This protects the private financing

Q: What challenges has GACM faced in the initial

from the peso’s devaluation and volatility in the markets.

construction phase and in the creation of the masterplan? A: For the design and planning of the project, we held over

Q: What are the expectations for NAICM for the end of

230 meetings with regulatory and international agencies,

2017 and into 2018?

national and international airlines, government agencies and

A: By the end of 2017, we will have already tendered

service providers, to hear their needs and concerns and take

around 85 percent of the project’s value with our most

them into account in the design of the master plan. The

important projects awarded. These include the passenger

biggest challenge for me is to prove that Mexico can carry

terminal building, the air traffic control tower, runways

out projects of this magnitude in a transparent and honest

2, 3 and 6, the electrical substation and the ground transportation center, among others. The next two years will see the development’s consolidation as we will really

GACM is the group that oversees the operation of AICM and the

be constructing these projects simultaneously. We will see

construction of NAICM. It is a government dependency and is

harmony among the people, ground and machinery. These

charged with ensuring tenders for the new airport are carried out

years will be the most construction-intensive so NAICM can

with speed and transparency

finish the project by 2020.



Q: How do you think architecture has changed in Mexico

Q: What strategies have been implemented to guarantee

during the last couple of years?

the safety of the airport in case of an earthquake or

A: We come from a very strong modern movement.

another natural phenomenon?

Modernity carries the post-war conscience of constructing

A: The structure is designed to last 1,400 years and to resist

buildings with the capacity to be easily reproduced.

earthquakes. Given that it is horizontally designed, I believe

Post-modern architects have been educated through

it is seismic immune. The challenge is more geared toward

the suffering of several economic crises, and I think the

other issues, like the dimension of the structure versus how

experiences of the 1940s and 1950s have given us a strong

comfortable it is for a passenger to walk its distance; the

heritage in Mexico. Through this, we were able to connect

international standards for other risk situations, like fires

with a context that combined the global with the local.

and other incidents. NAICM is the biggest airport in the

Mexico is one of the richest countries in terms of natural

Americas, and after Istanbul’s, the biggest one in the world

resources, and one of the most visited countries in the

in terms of square meters. Given its location in a highly

world. I firmly believe it has all the elements, including the

seismic area, it is important to incorporate earthquake-

cultural heritage, to create amazing architecture. But we

resistant technologies into the structure.

have not placed a higher value on the context and that must be our main goal, especially in this interconnected

Q: What are the most important aspects of creating a truly

globalized world with a melting pot of cultural identity.

sustainable masterplan for cities in Mexico? A: I think the world is changing very quickly. In the next

Q: What are the main challenges you encountered while

few decades, we will be confronted with realities that

designing NAICM?

today appear as science fiction. Our cities come from

A: NAICM  is a complex project given the number of

medieval schemes that have evolved through migration

flows that will happen within its structure: of people,

and yet remain somehow disconnected from the current

goods, luggage, systems, employees, agencies and so

reality. If we are at a time when civilization is exploring

on. Its scale is extraordinary, as it comprises more than

how to live on Mars, the question is how can we try to

1 million m 2 of total construction, including a ground

use the same intelligence and resources to think about

transportation center and the control tower. In terms of

the cities of the future. An important segment of the

technical aspects, to build it on soil that was once a lake

population will reside in urban areas in the near future,

and thus has a huge compression capacity makes the

so I am particularly fascinated by how these metropolises

project as complicated as building on the ocean. The

can be planned with new notions that incorporate the

technical aspects can be solved with technology. We

fast-changing features of the world, new technologies

scanned the area and realized that the underground soil

and new communication systems. Cities of the future will

is changing in depth, so we needed to come up with

have to question how we live today. We need to start

a structure that could float. We followed the principle

inventing notions of new urbanism, to develop a post-

of compensation, which enabled us to plan floating

modern utopian model and innovate to create sustainable

foundations for the airport. This is important because the

growth for our planet, through cities that have a coherent

terminal has to work harmoniously within the masterplan

relationship with the environment.

and the runways need to move with the compression capacity of the soil. I believe the NAICM project is the best investment for the future development of the economy

FR-EE  is an international architecture and infrastructure

and tourism of the country. FR-EE saw the competition as

design firm with offices in New York and Mexico City. The

an opportunity to design a building that solved numeric

firm's most famous projects include NAICM and Museo

problems but to also design the gate of Mexico.




THE ROAD NOW TAKEN Every journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. The

to this tourist region were sinuous, narrow, dangerous

best journeys are those that start smoothly, continue in

and long. The average speed reached only 60km/h, the

comfort and ease, and end as expected at the destination

majority of the route consisted of narrow curves and the

without complications. The roads that carry you between

roads were dangerous and prone to accidents. COCONAL

points play a vital role in determining the quality of each

consequently built the Valle de Bravo access road and the

of these elements. Building a connection between three

Valle de Bravo-Avándaro walkway.

key Mexican cities, infrastructure company COCONAL is constructing more than just a highway; it is creating a better

The access road to Valle de Bravo starts from the Toluca-

journey for travelers.

Zitácuaro highway at Laguna Seca and provides an entry point into the valley and lake. Its 29km have been in

The first step in this particular journey begins in Toluca,

operation since August 2011 and the road has become a

State of Mexico, almost 10 years ago. COCONAL saw

quick and popular route to the town, not only for Toluca

an opportunity to ease the congestion that plagued the

but also for residents of Mexico City.

routes to the city of Zitácuaro in the neighboring state of 258

Michoacan and to vacation destination Valle de Bravo. The

The final phase of the project was the Valle de Bravo-

Toluca-Zitácuaro highway begins at the entry junction to

Avándaro walkway, a vital connection between these two

the Toluca-Atlacomulco highway from Toluca’s northeastern

towns, since it prevents unnecessary crossings through the

beltway and ends in El Puerto on the border of both

narrow and already saturated streets.

states. The first 40km were opened on April 23th 2008, and the last 15km will be finalized and inaugurated by mid-

Overall, the project has allowed a better traffic distribution

November 2017.

between the three locations, and has helped revive Zitácuaro as an economic hub, facilitating the commercialization of

Completion of the connection to Valle de Bravo was the

products and services. An added bonus is the shortened

second stage. In the early 2000s, the existing access roads

and more comfortable journey to Mexico City.



Q: How does COCONAL differentiate itself among

safety and ensure we provide the optimum equipment for

construction firms in Mexico?

personal protection and the safety of our staff.

A: Hard work, quality and commitment. I believe this industry requires companies to provide a remarkable added value,

Q: What is the importance of the material banks and how

not only by doing things well but by delivering a useful

did you secure them?

product that adds value. Our goal is to execute our projects

A: First, it is necessary to carry out a general inspection

with the best quality and with a strong social component

with geologists in the field. Once we have located the

that will benefit the market. Our levels of competition at

quarries, we negotiate with their owners. We are managing

an internal and external level are high but I believe that

30 tezontle quarries with volcanic foam and 25 rock

many of our competitors have neglected efficiency and

quarries. Each one has a specific process for exploitation.

struggle with corrupt, wasteful practices and poor quality.

For example, for the rock, we use explosives, while tezontle

Conversely, we stand out by always remaining transparent

is extracted with tractors.

and providing a quality service, as our main focus is in creating suitable infrastructure, not only in making money. The construction industry in Mexico is experiencing a crisis rooted in the disappearance of big Mexican companies and enhanced by the generalized belief that construction is an endeavor that can be managed by any professional, even those who are not qualified as civil engineers. Mexico lacks compliance with the professional law, both in the private and public sectors. To build infrastructure, experts with the

The Toluca-Valle de Bravo highway concession was designed, completely developed and funded by COCONAL, representing a MX$1.3 billion investment

required technical skills are required to solve the problems that may arise. Our company stands out due to its adequate

Q: Apart from NAICM, what other emblematic projects

channeling of human resources, as all our employees are

is COCONAL targeting at the moment?

qualified and specialized in the discipline in which they work.

A: At an international level, we are bidding for a highway

For example, we hire our engineers right after they finish

in Guatemala and another in Costa Rica. Our market is in

their undergraduate degrees and provide incentives for

Central and South America, as we have found that the

them to obtain their diplomas. Likewise, we invest in their

US has very different market conditions that are rarely

education and training by sending them to local or foreign

friendly to Mexican firms. At a national level, we are

courses so we also foster a great loyalty within them.

concluding the last 15km stage of the Toluca-Valle De Bravo highway concession. This project is very important,

Additionally, we stand out for having a comprehensive

as it was designed and completely developed by our

plan in key areas. First is our strategy for the adequate

company, representing a MX$1.3 billion investment, which

management of human resources. Secondly, our

was provided 100 percent by COCONAL. We expect to

environmental strategy includes about 15 environmental

inaugurate it by Oct. 17, 2017.

engineers and biologists who focus on waste management, recycling, environmental best practices, permit follow up and legal adherence. Likewise, we encourage our

COCONAL d evelops infrastructure projects with a focus

employees to celebrate World Environment Day and we

on timeliness and cost-effectiveness. Its services include

participate in reforestation by planting 40,000 trees per


year, among other actions. We also have a high regard for

rehabilitation and transport of related machinery








Q: What are the main problems construction companies

Q: What measures does Omega implement before

encounter with public infrastructure projects?

becoming involved in an infrastructure project, such as

A: The fundamental problem is that infrastructure projects

the Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train?

are always subject to the terms of political administrations,

A: Before starting a project, we do our own investigation

not to a strategic and integral plan. This leads these projects

but we cannot be as thorough as we would like because

to be tendered without the necessary planning or studies.

it is an expensive task. We cannot invest such large sums

On a local level, as a construction company we are always on

without some guarantee we will win the project. For the

the lookout for new and interesting projects to participate in

third section of the Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train, in which

and rights of way is one of the elements that we worry about

we are participating, the changing of the original path

the most. The preconstruction stage is extremely important

heavily impacted the estimated costs and budget that was

because it will provide information regarding the types of

established at the outset. We are currently discussing the

permits and land that must be acquired for the project.

extraordinary costs with the government and the real impact is being analyzed. From my point of view, these setbacks will

I believe that we have the necessary legal framework

impact the viability of the project drastically. As a strategic

but it is not applied appropriately. There are many laws

project, it is supposed to be finished by the end of President

that favor quick land acquisition but these are almost

Peùa Nieto’s term.

impossible to apply because there are always social pressures that do not allow the state to take possession of the land without having the rights of way completely liberated. No tendering process should begin unless the rights of way are guaranteed. In Mexico, it is not a problem of technical complexity because we have the skilled human capital to carry out the project. Instead

Legislation, legal framework, rights of way and social-impact issues keep the country from bridging its infrastructure gap

it is a question of legislation, legal framework, rights of way and social-impact issues that keep the country from bridging its infrastructure gap.

Q: Why has the third section of the interurban train been more complicated than the rest of the project?

Q: How do MTS differ from other transport infrastructure

A: When this project was tendered, having it operate in

projects in Mexico?

phases was not considered because it did not seem like

A: Projects that are located inside the Mexico City metropolitan

there would be a problem adhering to the established

area are far more complicated due to the high level of

budget and time. Although it seems more logical to have

interaction a project will have with existing infrastructure in

the urban section operating initially as a way to generate

the area. This is complicated by the fact there is continuous

income to fund the rest of the project, that section is the

congestion in terms of vehicles and people, which also

most complicated due to social and environmental issues,

generates social problems that can impact the performance

particularly in the Observatorio area. Toluca-Marquesa has

of the project. For these projects, it is important to efficiently

advanced quickly.

coordinate the construction and management teams along with the local authorities to prevent or mitigate any problems that could arise. MTS can also bolster the transportation link

Grupo Omegais a Mexican construction company responsible

between cities. Although the national road and highway

for construction of various highways such as Durango-Mazatlan

systems have been improved, they are not ideal for the

and Veracruz-Coatzacoalcos, as well as Line 6 of the Mexico

transportation of large quantities of products and goods.

City Metrobus and the Chicoasen II hydroelectric plant



THE LEGACY OF MEXICO'S CONSTRUCTION GIANTS The construction industry faced a challenging first half of

Periferico to the Tlalpan Tollbooth, the Elevated Viaduct

2017, according to CMIC. Public and private investment

over the Mexico-Veracruz Highway, the Tepic-San Blas

in the sector are low, interest rates are on the rise and

Highway, the Palmillas-Apaseo el Grande Macrobeltway

possible negative results of the NAFTA’s negotiations

and some sections of the Guadalajara Macrobeltway. CMIC

could harm investment attractiveness in industrial and

expects the construction industry to grow by between 0.3

commercial construction. The industry registered a

percent and 1 percent during 2018 thanks to the momentum

contraction of 0.6 percent between January and July 2017

of residential and commercial real estate and tourism

but this does not mean that construction has stopped.


In his fifth governmental report, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the completion of eight road projects

CMIC lists the following construction firms as the largest

between September 2016 and June 2017. Investment in

Mexican companies in terms of their sales volumes. These

these projects amounted to MX$27.6 billion. The report

companies participated in the largest ongoing infrastructure

referenced the Interconnection of the Second Story of

and real estate projects.



1. Empresas ICA MX$20.4 billion


Most important ongoing construction projects


Project value


Tepic-San Blas Highway


1.4 – 2.2

Queretaro, Guanajuato

Palmillas-Apaseo el Grande Macrobeltway


5.2 – 5.8


Mitla-Tehuantepec Highway



State of Mexico

NAICM Terminal Building



But it is still involved in

State of Mexico

NAICM Foundation Slab



important ongoing projects


Santa Maria Dam



Nuevo Leon

Monterrey VI Aqueduct



Mexico City

Túnel Emisor Oriente (TEO)



Mexico City, State of Mexico

Churubusco - Xochiaca Water Tunnel



Mexico City, State of Mexico

Mexico - Toluca Interurban Train



Most important ongoing construction projects


Project value

Mexiquense Exterior Beltway

N/A (First phases finished, but OHL will build the rest when it sees demand)


Bicentenario Viaduct

N/A (First phases finished, but OHL will build the rest when demand grows)


Elevated Viaduct on Mexico - Veracruz Highway (VW Plant Cuahutemoc Stadium Section)



Atizapan – Atlacomulco Highway


2 - 8.5

As of Sep. 2017, Empresas ICA undergoes a restructuring and insolvency process.

including NAICM’s terminal building and foundations. ICA specializes in road and railway infrastructure, hydraulic works, airport infrastructure and tunnels.

2. OHL México MX$18.9 billion


State of Mexico

OHL México is a subsidiary of Spanish Grupo OHL. It integrated Mexican investors in 2010 and is listed in the

Mexico City, State of Mexico

Mexican Stock Exchange. Its specialty is building and operating road infrastructure but it also works in the Toluca Airport project.

Puebla State of Mexico


3. Carso Infraestructura y Construcción MX$18.5 billion CICSA is part of business group Grupo Carso. It works in the hydraulic, social and road infrastructure sectors but also develops real estate. It partakes in the construction of NAICM’s terminal building and Runway 3.

Airport Infrastructure



Project value

State of Mexico

NAICM Landstrip 3



State of Mexico

NAICM Terminal Building




Tepic Beltway



Interconnection of the Second Story of Periferico to the Tlalpan Tollbooth


0.7 - 2.5


South Guadalajara Beltway




Conclusion of Oaxaca-Istmo Superhighway


9.3 - 11.9

Mexico City

Túnel Emisor Oriente (TEO)



Commercial Center in Tlalnepantla



Mexico City

Commercial and Office Real Estate

Most important ongoing construction projects

State of Mexico

4. IDEAL MX$15.7 billion IDEAL finances, implements and operates infrastructure projects. It often hires CICSA in the construction process as Grupo Carso and GFInbursa are Road infrastructure

related parties founded by Carlos Slim. It also builds projects independently. Most important ongoing construction projects


Project value


Las Varas – Puerto Vallarta Highway




Mitla – Tehuantepec Highway



Toluca – Atlacomulco Highway Expansion



Atotonilco WWTP




State of Mexico Hidalgo Hydraulic Works

5. Fibra Uno MX$13.3 billion FUNO is the first and largest Fibra; the Mexican version of a REIT. It operates, acquires, develops and manages industrial, commercial and office real estate assets. It is building one of the tallest buildings in Mexico City; Torre Mitikah. Most important ongoing construction projects


Project value

Mexico City

Mitikah Tower



Mexico City

Cuarzo Tower



Midtown Jalisco



Mexico City

La Viga



Mexico City




Mexico City

Mariano Escobedo



Mexico City




Mexico City

Espacio Tollocan



Location Railway Infrastructure


Mixed-use Real Estate

Source: Grupo ICA, Grupo Carso, IDEAL, Fibra UNO, OHL México, CMIC, Obras Magazine





Q: How is Sacyr supporting Mexico’s infrastructure

that are bidding. For the airport tenders, the system


works through prices and points awarded for the

A: Sacyr’s operations in Mexico are still incipient but we are

qualitative part of the proposal to ensure the winning

starting to grow and profit from the country’s significant

company represents the highest value. The winning bid

market. Mexico requires first-world infrastructure, which

must include a competitive price, the guarantee that

is something I believe all the administrations of the past

the cost is worth the excellent quality delivered and

20 years understood. That is why the plans are very

compliance with a deadline. I believe this scheme is very

ambitious. Sacyr is committed to helping Mexico achieve

useful, as it promises Mexicans will have an airport built

its goals. To be more precise, we have several projects

by knowledgeable firms that were fully prepared to face

under construction. These include four hospitals, involving

such a challenging project.

an investment of MX$3.5 billion, a freeway that will cost about MX$1.3 billion and the elevated and underground

Regarding how we obtained the concessions, we had to

trains in Guadalajara, worth about MX$8 billion. We have

be more creative than our competitors. We provided a

also completed several transmission lines with a value of

more efficient use of time and presented modern designs

MX$500 million.

that incorporated the use of the newest materials and technologies. In my opinion, the challenge is to dream big

Q: How will your decision to participate in PPPs impact

while comparing our infrastructure with other countries in the

Sacyr’s strategy in Mexico?

region, such as Chile, that have accelerated their development

A: The legal framework for PPPs in Mexico is well-

processes. We understand that Mexico requires infrastructure

defined but still new, so many realizations are being

development to be efficiently intercommunicated. Sacyr is

made in the process regarding infrastructure financing,

committed to advancing this goal.

design and expectations. Also, many of the proposals lack a cohesive thread. Nevertheless, we believe this scheme is

Q: When do you expect to finish Guadalajara’s light train?

the future of infrastructure development in the country. We

A: We will finish on time and according to plan, as we use a

have won tenders for a freeway and a hospital, and our goal

raise bore drill that helps us to make fast progress. President

is to continue growing. PPPs require previous experience of

Peña Nieto visited the construction site and asked us

two to three years. We presented un unsolicited business

whether we would meet the deadline and we were able to

proposal for a project in Bahia de Banderas more than a year

respond with confidence. The project is on track as we have

ago. We did not win the tender but this case exemplifies

regained the time lost at the beginning of the construction

our vision for the Mexican market and how we have been

stage. It is a very interesting development and it is an honor

working on this idea for several years.

to be able to participate in a project of such a magnitude in a country like Mexico.

Q: What were the main challenges when competing for NAICM’s tenders?

Q: What role does Sacyr want to play in Mexico in the

A: There is a high level of competition for the tenders,


but what I find remarkable is the quality of the companies

A: We want to be market leaders in the development of infrastructure for basic and energy services. We are a company that possesses strong leadership in several

Sacyr is a multinational infrastructure and services company.

countries and we intend to translate this to the Mexican

Its emphasis on innovation and international expansion has

context. I believe the market, given its growing needs and

made it a world leader in the building and management of

its high-quality competition, is perfect for the application

infrastructure, industrial projects and services in 29 countries

of this strategy.



Q: What strategy has led to the success of CAABSA

aspect to consider when forming a consortium is that the

Infraestructura in the Mexican market?

companies involved create synergies and complement each

A: CAABSA has been building Mexico’s infrastructure for

other with their unique specialties. For instance, Cargo has

more than 38 years. Today, we are constructing Mexico’s

the equipment and experience to mount the large pieces

largest and most important projects thanks to the

of the structures. Pret and Gonzalez Soto specialize in

experience we have gathered over the years. To grow and

prefabricates and has the experience creating the special

participate in many projects, we first had to secure financial

columns and locks and concrete structures. As for Omega

support for the company. CAABSA created the real estate

and CAABSA, both are experienced in constructing

arm Desarrollos Grupo CAABSA to support the company

complex projects such as this one. We are the company in

financially, in the event that there are few public works in

charge of coordinating the entire consortium.

the market or an infrastructure project is delayed. Q: In your opinion, what are the main challenges construction Q: What have been the main challenges during the

companies face while participating in public works projects?

construction of the Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train?

A: The root of all infrastructure projects stem from the

A: The main challenges we have encountered in the

urgency at which the public sector wants to construct

development of this project are the change of route for the

them. Because the public sector is sometimes in a hurry to

train and the lack of liberation of the rights of way (ROW)

start building a project, the proper studies, preconstruction

for the project. Not having the ROW before the project

analysis and planning stages are not properly carried

begins, delays the entire construction and can drastically

out. There are many differences between participating

increase prices. The ROW for the interurban train had not

in a private-sector project and a public-sector project.

been liberated before the project began and that is why

Public works are based on unit prices that allow more

even though construction was supposed to begin in January

flexibility when managing the budget. This often extends

2015, it began in December 2015. There were many social

construction times and creates cost volatility. In the private

problems, especially near Vasco de Quiroga and the town

sector, projects are more likely to be completed on time

of Santa Fe, forcing the path to be changed.

and budget, although they have their own complications. Typically, private works have a defined budget and they

Q: Why is ROW one of the main problems for the successful

have to stay within that budget, leaving little room for

construction of Mexican infrastructure projects?

contingencies. Planning is a skill the Mexican market has

A: The Public Works Law establishes that the dependency

yet to master even though it is the foundation for any

has the obligation of liberating the ROW for all infrastructure

public or private project. For 2017-2018, we expect to be

projects. The number one rule for construction is that the

more active constructing projects for the private sector

developer must be the owner of the land. The interurban

than the public sector, given the proximity to presidential

train project will cover more than 50km, passing through

elections and budget cuts. At the moment, we are still

hundreds of land owners and ejidos, which makes

completing various public projects, such as the Mexico-

negotiations for ROW even more difficult. The government

Toluca Interurban Train, CETRAM Iztapalapa and the new

does not expropriate the land because that would lead to a

Papalote Museum.

legal trial that could take even longer. Q: What are the main characteristics a consortium should

CAABSA Infraestructura is a Mexican civil engineering firm

have when bidding for a construction project?

that belongs to the CAABSA Group. It is dedicated to the

A: For the interurban train, we formed a consortium with

construction, consulting, supervision and administration of all

Cargo, Gonzalez Soto, Pret and Omega. The most important

types of construction projects





Q: What are the main architectural trends to incorporate

It must be said that sometimes it can take years to fully

sustainability into buildings?

recover the investment when incorporating these methods

A: Fifty percent of global energy is consumed by buildings and

and materials but this does not negate their importance. I am

25 percent by transportation so the way we plan cities and

very happy that younger generations especially are placing

construct buildings has an effect on 75 percent of total energy

more emphasis on sustainability and are willing to choose one

consumption. As architects and urban planners, we have a

property over another due to this factor. For designers and

great deal of responsibility in designing for the future and I see

for the developers that pay attention, this is a considerable

this as a big opportunity. The most in-demand designs will be

opportunity, not only for apartments but also for workplaces.

more eco-friendly and sustainable and now new materials and

People are really placing extra value on this.

elements will begin to be used in a much more creative way. In some ways, we will also go back to traditional architecture,

Immediately when incorporating these features, the

incorporating more natural light and cross-ventilation and

architecture begins merging with the culture and location of

using more locally sourced materials.

Mexico. The company is working on a Four Seasons hotel on the Pacific coast with Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha

Q: Why are you trying to achieve the Living Building standard

+ Gabriela Carrillo, and at the beginning the hotel wanted

with your Casa Encino project?

to adhere to a certain standard it incorporates globally.

A: The client was particularly interested in the standard and

Subsequently, the hotel carried out a study to determine what

wanted the building to blend in with the landscape since it is

holidaymakers valued and ultimately the results showed a

located in the middle of the woods. We explored a variety of

greater value placed on a reflection of the local culture within

options, including recovery of rainwater, installation of solar

the hotel’s architecture. Their customers want the Mexican

panels and use of natural materials and cross ventilation. The

experience when staying in a Mexican hotel. We are now

landscape is based on local vegetation so no additional water

working with two clients from the US and one from the UK

is required for the plants and an orchard is part of the property.

on building houses in Los Cabos, Baja California and all three

It made us think of solutions we had never considered before.

requested that Mexican culture be incorporated into their

This project also taught us that it is important to be flexible

dwellings from the outset, while remaining contemporary.

and not remain attached to a preconceived idea or way of working. With Encino, we examined the overhangs to evaluate

Q: This year, where are the key areas for real estate

how much they would have to be extended to offer protection

development in Mexico City?

and also considered how the architecture would look. These

A: We are beginning a project in Lindavista starting a large

decisions should not be looked at as a constraint but more

development in Satelite that will involve converting industrial

as an opportunity.

areas to residential. I think these are the areas that have a lot of opportunity as well as others in the north of the city around

Q: What is the main added value you can offer developers

the same area. The rapid gentrification of the Roma and

looking to work in residential real estate?

Condesa neighborhoods is now beginning to spread to Juarez

A: One benefit is lower maintenance due to our focus on

and Reforma in the north and Del Valle and Narvarte in the

eliminating waste and increasing sustainability in our buildings.

south. Development will largely be concentrated in the center of the city in these key areas. Previous government policy was horizontal development on the outskirts of the city, which was

LEGORRETA® is a Mexican architecture firm founded in 1965.

completely unsustainable, especially when considering today’s

During the 1960s and 1970s, LEGORRETA® was recognized for

changing demographic. Young people now want to live in the

iconic Mexican works, such as the Camino Real hotels in Mexico

same area where they work so neighborhoods can develop

City, Cancun and Ixtapa

organically, which is much more sustainable.



Q: What types of projects does GSM want to develop in the

more than 20,000m2, to green areas for the community.

Mexican real-estate market and what challenges does it face?

We have invested a great amount of money to develop

A: As time passes, GSM is concentrating its efforts more and

supporting and public infrastructure around our projects

more on mixed use developments. It is clear that standalone

to increase quality of life.

projects, whether commercial or office developments, are not working well in the market anymore. Consumers are looking

Q: How will Reforma Colón transform Mexico City’s

for the experience created when all these components are

downtown area?

brought together, which are what makes a project successful

A: Reforma Colón is our largest and most complex project

today. GSM combines housing, tourism, commercial, corporate

at the moment but it will have a tremendous impact on the

and cultural developments into one and that is where we see

urban development of the city. This project will regenerate

the biggest opportunity in the market. Finding the perfect

downtown Mexico City, paving the way for similar projects

location is definitely one of the most difficult elements

not only in Mexico but in all of Latin America. For the past

when constructing in urban settings. There are few AAA lots

three years, we have been working hard to fuse together 27

available but once the land is acquired the next step is getting

properties totaling more than 45,000m2, which is a close-to-

all the permits, land use and licenses in order. This is a tedious

impossible task in Mexico’s saturated city center. We have

and intricate process that involves many government agencies

the opportunity to truly transform this part of Mexico City

and can take up to two years but you must do it right.

and bring it back to life. Concentrating cities in their center is more efficient in terms of investment and infrastructure,

Q: How is GSM integrating the Artz mall development into a

while creating microcities within the city makes for much more

residential area as complex as Pedregal?

efficient use of space.

A: Artz is a project that because of its nature became a controversial topic, not for what it represents but because

Q: How is GSM able to fund multiple large projects that

of where it is located and because sometimes people are not

demand heavy investment?

well-informed about a project. One of the biggest challenges

A: At GSM we are independent developers but at Sordo

we faced was integrating it into the mobility system of the

Madaleno Arquitectos (SMA) we also work as third-party

Periferico highway. We are investing more than MX$200

architects with other developers, such as Fibra Danhos and

million (US$11 million) in public infrastructure around the

Fibra Uno, on projects such as Parque Toreo and Midtown

commercial development, including installing U-turns,

Jalisco. Most of the projects that form part of GSM’s portfolio

bypasses and tunnels.

are privately funded. We have our own private fund with some participation from international funds, but we prefer

We want to create projects that truly boost the quality

to have control of most of the properties. We have had

of life of their surrounding areas. We always invest large

the opportunity to create a Fibra but our business model

amounts of money in additional infrastructure that improves

is based on private equity. In 2016, GSM developed nine

mobility and flow of traffic in the area. Apart from road

different projects, requiring larger amounts of capital. We

infrastructure, we also invest in the improvement and

are looking into the possibility of perhaps issuing a different

construction of the area’s entire water infrastructure system.

financial instrument.

Artz Pedregal will bring to life the southern area of Mexico City that had been forgotten for many years in terms of new commercial and mixed-use real-estate developments. I think

GSM is a leading real estate development company and

it is important that both the developers and communities

architectural firm that specializes in luxury commercial centers

ensure communication is transparent. For Artz, we decided

and mixed use projects. Its newest projects include Reforma

to allocate 50 percent of the profitable space, which totaled

Colón and Artz Pedregal





Q: How are Fibras changing in Mexico, compared to similar

The first few years were devoted to permits, licenses and

financial mechanisms abroad?

infrastructure matters, among other factors. Today, we are

A: US instruments date from the early 1970s, and like in

building about 4,000m2 to 5,000m2 of structure weekly,

Mexico, were originally diversified in several sectors. The US

and we also have made great progress in the foundations.

instruments are specialized at the moment, which I believe

The first office building is already constructed up to the

sets the trend for Mexico, as we have Fibras, such as Terrafina

10th level. Regarding the retail component, we have pre-

and Prologis, which are specifically designed for one industry.

leased 50 percent of the area. For the residential tower,

In the long term, instead of one large, diversified Fibra, I think

even though it is expected to be delivered in full by 2020,

we will have different small ones for specific sectors. FUNO

the sales have shown that it is already a huge success, which

has not done this so far because we believe that our business

I believe is due to Mitikah being a unique and high-quality

is more profitable using the current strategy but as soon

project. We are entering an excellent market in a mature

as we find specialization more advantageous, we will move

area with a good socioeconomic balance.

toward it. The size of our company allows us to divide into smaller Fibras that can thrive independently. Most Fibras

Q: What are your expectations for Fibras in 2018?

have been anchored to an Afore, which for us represents the

A: Regarding other opportunities across different sectors,

patrimonial investment of Mexican citizens. Afores, in return,

FUNO has a strong foothold in university projects. We

find Fibras as a very useful vehicle to ensure their assets

lease to the university operator, with the ultimate goal

are invested in a very solid sector, with high capital returns.

of fostering educational development. We also have the Puerta de Hierro Hospital in Guadalajara, which is externally

Q: What do Fibras need to do to remain a competitive

operated by the renter. To my knowledge, there are no

investment option for Afores given an open international

plans yet to create a Fibra specifically for hospitals, but it is


unquestionably a sector in which Fibras are growing rapidly.

A: Since their creation, Fibras have been regulated by two articles of the ISR Law. One says that their main goal is

I think 2018 will be a complicated year. There is a lot of

to promote real estate investment in Mexico. It does not

global tension rooted in international conflicts. Also, the

forbid investment abroad, but the incentive is to develop

elections in Mexico will increase speculation. But Fibra

the national industry. Afores can buy shares of any company

investments are planned for the long term, about 20 to 50

but Fibras are mostly committed to Mexico, regardless of

years, so the possible volatility of the next year is something

whether or not it is possible to invest internationally. FUNO

we are prepared for. Often, in these uncertain scenarios, the

is committed to promoting the development of the industry

best opportunities arise. We must be prepared and maintain

in Mexico, and our capital will stay in the country.

a certain liquidity to take advantage of them. In Fibra Uno we are convinced that Mexico is a very attractive place to

Q: What are your expectations for the Mitikah project?

continue investing. We will continue focused on generating

A: Real estate projects have been focused mainly in Polanco

the maximum amount of value over time and building a

and Santa Fe, and the southern part of the city has been

world class real estate company with the best property

largely neglected. To address a real need, we are practically

portfolio in Mexico.

building a city, which will be FUNO’s and the Helios CKD’s legacy. Mitikah has developed and applied an integrated process involving the community, the authorities and the

Fibra Uno (FUNO)is the first and largest Fibra in Mexico.

neighbors. We take care to add value to the community,

FUNO focuses on generating sustainable value for investors

which is an approach that has taken a lot time and

through the operation, acquisition, sale and development of

resources, but that we are glad to have implemented.

real estate for commercial use




Q: What impact have public tenders and schemes like PPPs

decelerates. It is a sector that we know well, being the first

had on infrastructure development?

we entered as investors, and we will continue to foster

A: Infrastructure is a sector with slow mobility that requires

the industry given its constant growth. Also, the maritime

patience and preparation. I believe that its processes

industry promises to gain strength.

have consistently improved, as PPPs have allowed a 270

professionalization that goes beyond engineering, to a more

Q: What have been Grupo Indi’s most challenging projects

stable financial flow that facilitates comprehensive strategic

in 2017?

planning for the long term. Regarding the tenders, we are

A: Our most challenging project is NAICM. Also, Circuito

still trying different models to adapt to different times and

Interior is an interesting and complex project as it is a PPP

contexts. There is no ideal scheme.

for the first underground road in the country, built under Mexico City. It was essential that we planned the logistics

We need more infrastructure but not all of it can be built

well for the construction stage to ensure the least possible

through PPPs, as the private sector assumes most of the

disruption of the daily dynamics of the area. For this project,

risk. We try to work through unsolicited proposals (USP),

we collaborated with La Peninsular and IDINSA. We believe

which we think is an interesting way of collaborating with

that partners multiply the value that we can add to our

the public sector, even though this tool requires a high level

projects, so we are willing to associate with firms that can

of investment that may hinder its application. It would be

complement our knowledge, expertise and with which we

very interesting to see more USPs at the state level, as local

can build a relationship based on trust.

construction firms often have a more in-depth knowledge of their market needs.

Q: How do you view your experience working at NAICM? A: In this project we have found three main challenges given

Grupo Indi’s main projects in Mexico include a mega container terminal in Michoacan and the second floor of Periferico in Mexico City

the number of players involved. First, the interoperability of all the tenders must be harmonized, as there are many local and international players involved. Second, the technical challenges are vast, given the unique and complicated soil conditions that required specific materials and engineering. Texcoco’s ground has been challenging. Third, we were responsible for taking the project to trial phase, which took us longer than expected but allowed

Q: What strategies does Grupo Indi implement to minimize

us to test the viability of the project. We have managed to

project risk?

optimize our time-efficiency and make up for the delays.

A: I believe that a key component of our success is that we

Our goal is to continue our participation in NAICM and I

have ventured into projects as investors and not only limited

believe we can contribute most to the foundations.

our participation to construction. We are also exploring diversification by venturing into real estate. We also have

Q: What imprint do you want to leave  on the Mexican

tourism as a second option when the infrastructure industry

infrastructure industry? A: We want to be among the top construction firms in the country and to remain present and relevant for a long time.

Grupo Indi  has 40 years’ experience in the market,

Also, we aim to foster development through quality projects,

developing projects for the public and private sectors. It

both as investors and constructors. We have been dabbling in

is divided into four business units: building, infrastructure,

energy-waste management for a year. It is a slow process but

services and WeIndi

we are excited to participate more in clean-energy initiatives.


PROJECTS HUB TO INCREASE PPP TRANSPARENCY SERGIO FORTE Deputy Director General of Investor Relations at Banobras

The environment surrounding infrastructure development

the governmental websites and CompraNet where users can

includes an uncertain political environment, rising interest

find more information and contacts. Each project has a unique

rates and a shortage of public budget for projects. But

File Number and QR code to facilitate information sharing and

investors’ appetite to invest in Mexico continues to grow.

tracking of changes to the project. Forte believes that this

One of the top demands industry players have is to ensure

platform will help reduce international and national investors’

transparency and access to information for infrastructure

costs and time by allowing them to gain better visibility of

projects, especially since entering the Mexican market with

Mexico’s infrastructure pipeline.

just one project is extremely expensive. And the platform could not have come at a more opportune As a way to link investment projects with domestic and foreign

time for the industry. Given the shortage of public funds,

potential investors, as well as encourage new companies to

SHCP announced in March that it wants to encourage the

participate in bids, SHCP, through the Mexican system of

development of PPPs for infrastructure and released 30

development banks, developed Mexico Projects Hub which

projects involving an investment of over MX$60 billion. The

is an online database of Mexico’s current infrastructure

benefits of PPP projects are multiple, given they have a mature

projects. “As a development bank, we have also been on the

regulatory framework and offer more attractive conditions for

other side of the table and we understand the importance

both investors and participating companies. Although some

of having clear information about upcoming projects,” says

companies are cautious about the recent changes made to the

Sergio Forte, Deputy Director General of Investor Relations

PPP Law, PPPs and public works have become more efficient

at Banobras. “Mexico Projects Hub will increase transparency

in the last few years due to the adoption of best practices

and investment in Mexican infrastructure.” This free bilingual

across all sectors.

platform divides projects into four different stages: preinvestment, bidding, execution and operation to give investors

SHCP took on the challenge of creating the Projects Hub —

insight throughout all phases of project development. “The

the first of its kind in Mexico — to increase transparency and

main objective of Mexico Projects Hub is to display project

access to these PPP projects, but it has faced various hurdles

information alongside legal and financial data for the entire

along the way. Despite the hopeful announcements of more

industry to see,” he says. “It is a tool to provide players with

PPP projects, many players in the industry feel there is a lack of

information about similar projects that will increase their

innovative projects. “There is always the critique that projects

appetite to invest even more.”

are the same and that there are no new project opportunities. But, what matters is that there is a steady stream of projects

The hub contains information about greenfield and brownfield

being carried out,” says Forte. “Developers can find ways to

projects across all sectors within the industry including

incorporate innovation in the structure of the project or it can

electricity, transport, telecommunications, water and

be constructed by a group of companies.”

environment, real estate and tourism, mining, hydrocarbons and social infrastructure. The hub lists 75 different types

This platform is expected to level out the playing field when

of financial instruments such as Fibras and CKDs that can

it comes to bids and ensure that there are new companies

be used to invest in the maintenance and improvement of

stepping up to each challenge. One of the main objectives of

existing infrastructure. “There is a great deal of opportunity

the hub is to allow investors and participants to give feedback

in this sector,” says Forte. “The amount of money in CKDs that

on each of the different projects, especially when bids are

can be allocated to projects equates to approximately MX$50

about to start. “It is becoming more common for the same

billion of capital, ready to be invested into the industry.” Apart

two to three companies to bid in all of the projects in certain

from listing the basic information such as participants, amount

sectors in Mexico,” Forte says. “The platform will encourage

invested and entities involved, Banobras included links to all of

more companies to seek involvement in the industry.”




Q: What progress has been made to bridge the

areas. Both these projects have been carried out with

infrastructure gap and what projects are the most critical

complete transparency and are a reflection of the fact

for the country?

that state-level participation is increasingly significant. I

A: I am optimistic about the future of infrastructure in

am optimistic that other states will follow suit in building

Mexico for a number of reasons. Although we continue

up an infrastructure pipeline.

to have this gap between our current economic output 272

and our existing infrastructure, there are a number of

Q: What are investors most worried about when investing

elements that bode well for infrastructure development.

in new projects?

Public finances are pressured because of the international

A: All investors like to see predictability and that

context, the drop in oil prices and the current state of

translates to contract structures that offer certainty in

Mexican finances. That scenario creates an environment

terms of the scope of activities to be performed and

in which private capital is welcome in infrastructure

the risk allocation between the parties involved. The

development. There is a need for private capital to play

health sector and contracts with IMSS and ISSSTE are

a role and a wide range of opportunities to address that

no exception to this. A clear division of responsibilities


regarding the acquisition of land, permitting of that land all the way through to the operation of a hospital, for

Another reason for optimism is that infrastructure

example, need to be defined from the outset.

projects are always slow to come to fruition. Assembling a bankable project takes time. In my view, the government

Q: What is holding back USPs and how can BlackRock

has made tremendous strides in identifying and pushing

help the players looking to make it happen?

forward a number of projects, whether those are PPPs

A: The Tijuana bypass undertaken by BlackRock was

in the health sector, highway projects released by SCT

carried out through the USP framework. We presented

or state-level projects focused on water and social

different options to the state government and began

infrastructure. Although there is a significant gap, there

working in partnership with it to find the necessary

is now a growing number of identifiable projects.

structure to make it happen. The government understood the need for this road, launched the bid in accordance

The third reason is the progress on the part of state

with the regulatory framework and BlackRock presented

governments in terms of bringing in private capital to

the winning proposal. This is a good example of a system

address infrastructure needs. Baja California has released

that is working and we are now working on a second USP,

a PPP project for a desalination plant in Rosarito that

which is a federal project.

will provide water for the city of Tijuana at 4.4m 3/s. This is a US$700 million project that is already in the

Q: In which sector do you see the greatest potential for

contracting stages and tremendously significant to the

Mexican infrastructure?

state. The state is also tendering a 4.5km bypass for the

A: We have a robust pipeline of investment opportunities

city of Tijuana valued at MX$1.5 billion that will improve

spanning energy, midstream oil and gas, transportation,

the connectivity within the city and the surrounding

water and power so it is difficult to choose a sector I believe will be the most profitable. We are confident that we can continue to diversify and invest our clients’ funds


effectively. In 2017 and 2018, BlackRock will come to the

management as well as advisory services in more than 30

end of its investment funds and we will consider raising

countries. It has participated in various road, health and

Fund Three in the near to mid term. Through this, we will

penitentiary infrastructure projects in Mexico

continue our trajectory in developing our pipeline.











Q: How attractive are infrastructure and real estate for

fields auctioned in the bidding rounds. Afore XXI Banorte


owns almost 5 percent of that project through two different

A: Infrastructure projects are the perfect match for pension

vehicles issued by Riverstone and BlackRock. We are

funds. It is natural that Afores want to participate more

indirectly investing in this project because both companies

in these types of projects. As of August 2017, we have

approached us to invest in their CKDs. In the largest CKD

committed more than MX$60 billion for investment in

that we have, Infraestructura Mexico, we had originally

CKDs, of which approximately MX$17 billion are invested in

planned to invest independently. But we partnered

infrastructure (28 percent) and MX$16.3 in real estate (27

with CDPQ and the idea of this CKD was that for any

percent). Afore XXI Banorte has been involved in various

investment that CDPQ found interesting, we would invest

successful real estate projects and is investing in new projects

at the same level, ensuring that neither would have the

in Mexico. Among these is a major project that could change

majority share. The company that would be operating

the footprint of downtown Mexico City and this could be

the project would have to have 51 percent of the entire

announced soon and could modify our investment figures.

investment. This provides the incentive to have good

Managers have been more prompt to invest in real estate

administrators and operators for the project, as well as

than infrastructure in general, possibly because real estate

institutional investors that are there for the long term.

projects are completed much more quickly. In infrastructure,

We have been working with funds that have been in the

there are projects with a longer “J” curve, where we have yet

market longer than we have and we receive feedback

to see results, whereas in real estate, we are already receiving

from them to adopt best practices.

flows. As an example, we are a significant investor in the Red Compartida project, which will provide Mexico with over 90

Q: How could Afores help bridge the financial gap in the

percent of coverage in mobile and data service at speeds of

infrastructure industry?

700MHz throughout Mexico.

A: There are many funds interested in investing in sectors such as toll roads, ports, housing, commercial, energy or

Q: How does Afore XXI Banorte approve an investment in

renewables, but they do not feel comfortable doing it on

an infrastructure project?

their own. When they see that Mexico’s largest pension fund

A: It usually takes six months from the first proposal to the

is involved they tend to feel better about investing. Now

time we authorize the investment. Our investment team

that the regulation will change and Afores will be allowed to

analyzes each project and once it has a strong case, it is

invest 100 percent of a CKD and no longer be limited to 35

then presented to an internal committee. Several lawyers

percent, our experience tells us that it is better to co-invest

and I participate in this internal committee, which is where

with international funds. The previous regulatory framework

we submit the project as an internal discussion to prepare

limited the ownership of a vehicle by an Afore to a maximum

for presentation to the Investment Committee. In 2016, we

percentage, so the general partners had to collaborate with

approved one of every three projects that we received.

at least three Afores to raise a successful CKD. Although we will now be able to invest 100 percent, we will not do so and

Q: How does the Afore prefer to participate when it comes

instead invest with dedicated international funds such as

to large infrastructure projects?

Temasek, CDPQ and PSP, among others.

A: For large projects, we work with the strongest players in the international markets such as Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), BlackRock and Riverstone.

Afore XXI Banorte is one of the largest pension funds in

A good example is the Zama well that recently struck

Mexico .It participates actively in the infrastructure industry as

significant oil in shallow waters off the coast of Tabasco

an investor through CKDs and Fibras for the development of

and is the first successful exploratory well found in the

real estate, energy and transport infrastructure


Lamborghini Huracan Spider



Despite grim projections for the Mexican automotive industry at the end of 2016, the sector remains in good shape, slower perhaps but on track for greater growth. Even after a couple of months of uncertainty, the sector has maintained its position as one of the top drivers of the national economy. The world’s seventhlargest light-vehicle manufacturer and third-largest exporter, Mexico has a strong opportunity to keep climbing the ranks and to overtake India as the sixth-largest manufacturer by 2018. Companies remain confident in the country’s development and investment continues to pour in from traditional foreign sources such as Germany and Japan, as well as from newcomers such as South Korea and China.

The industry’s challenge is to address its main areas of opportunity to maintain its competitiveness. Talent remains a concern, especially considering the increasingly technological nature of the automotive sector. Local supplier development also worries investors and industry leaders who expect the industry to grow its added value and boost Mexico’s position beyond a low-cost manufacturing hub. Experts see collaboration between the industry and the government as a key point to ensure success both in talent and supplier development.



ANALYSIS: Uncertainty As Slowdown Sets In


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mayra González, Nissan Mexicana




VIEW FROM THE TOP: Miguel Márquez, Governor of Guanajuato


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Horacio Chávez, Kia Motors México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Leonardo Soloaga, MAN Truck & Bus México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: René Schlegel, Robert Bosch México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Gerardo Varela, ZF Services


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Mario Rodríguez, Arbomex


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Manuel Nieblas, Deloitte Mexico

Alberto Torrijos, Deloitte Consulting Group


INSIGHT: Juan José Zaragoza, DuPont Performance Materials - NEP/HPS


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Cédric Desplats-Reider, BNP Paribas Personal Finance México


VIEW FROM THE TOP: Laura Ballesteros, SEMOVI



UNCERTAINTY AS SLOWDOWN SETS IN Record sales and production marked the latter half of 2016 but a slowdown set in during the first half of 2017, marked by shrinking sales of light vehicles in the key US market. Uncertainty marked the previous 12 months, with the renegotiation of NAFTA spurring the country to cast an eye at alternative markets for growth


As 2017 heads into the final stretch, Mexico retains its position

impression in the domestic market after Mastretta's failure.

as the 7th main light-vehicle manufacturer in the world but

The new OEM owned by parking lot manager COPEMSA

it has climbed up the ranks in terms of exports. In 2016, the

has already released two full-electric models called M2 and

country moved up one position to become the third-ranked

M3. In terms of foreign investment, along with the entrance

light-vehicle exporter globally, behind Germany and Japan.

of Kia and Audi, Mexico attracted Chinese OEMs looking

The automotive industry represents approximately 3 percent

to target the Latin American market and eventually the

of Mexico’s GDP and 18 percent of its manufacturing GDP.

NAFTA region.

Data for 2016 show Mexico achieved record numbers in terms

In collaboration with Giant Motors, in which Slim’s Grupo

of production, exports and sales of light vehicles. By the end

Inbursa is a 50 percent owner, the Chinese brand JAC will

of the year, production accounted for 3.47 million vehicles,

begin manufacturing two SUVs at Giant Motors’ plant in

representing a 2 percent increase compared to 2015. Of

Hidalgo. JAC has invested MX$4.4 billion (US$249 million)

these, 2.77 million were exported, a rise of 0.3 percent year

and production is expected to begin in 2018. A collaboration

on year. With the arrival of Kia and Audi, not only did the

between Grupo Picacho and the Chinese maker BAIC

country move up the international rankings, it also became

also resulted in a new manufacturing project. Originally

the main vehicle exporter to the US.

a distribution deal, Picacho and BAIC’s relationship transformed into a production venture. BAIC started

In the domestic market, sales jumped 18.6 percent to more

manufacturing its vehicles at truck manufacturer Foton’s

than 1.6 million units. Numbers from January to September

plant in Veracruz in April 2017.

2017, however, suggest a slowdown in progress. Production and exports are exhibiting the strongest growth at 9.8

Three more light-vehicle plants are expected to start

percent and 11.5 percent, respectively. Kia continues to ramp

operations no later than 2019. The Renault-Nissan Alliance

up its production and according to Eduardo Solís, Executive

in collaboration with Daimler is now building the COMPAS

President of AMIA, other automakers have finalized platform

project in Aguascalientes, which is scheduled to begin

updates that were the main cause of moderate production

operations by the end of 2017. The project will start with

growth in 2016. Sales have decreased 1.1 percent between

production of INFINITI models and will integrate Mercedes-

January and September 2017 compared to the previous

Benz vehicles into the production line in 2018. BMW’s

year when they reached a total 1.106 million units. Solís and

venture in San Luis Potosi is projected to start in 2019. The

Guillermo Prieto, Executive President of AMDA, agree that the

project is under construction but the company expects to

most likely outcome for the domestic market will be moderate

have an annual production of 150,000 units of its Series 3

single-digit growth for 2017 of no more than 5 percent.

model when the plant comes online. Toyota also has a new plant in the works, scheduled to begin producing in 2020.


The company’s facility will be located in Guanajuato and

The Mexican automotive industry comprises 23 light-

will focus on production of pickup models.

vehicle and 15 heavy-vehicle production plants in operation, distributed across North Baja California, Sonora,


Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Aguascalientes, San

Despite an expected slower growth pace in 2017, Mexico has

Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Queretaro, Morelos, the

ambitious goals regarding production and development of the

State of Mexico, Puebla, Hidalgo and Veracruz. After two

domestic market. According to Solís and Prieto, the country’s

years of planning, Mexican innovator VUHL opened its

target for 2020 is to achieve production of over 5 million

MX$65 million (US$3.7 million) plant in Queretaro, where

vehicles and domestic sales of 2 million units. Mexico seems

it plans to manufacture 25 cars per year. Grupo Bimbo’s

to be on track for both targets although there are factors that

subsidiary Moldex is also expanding its vehicle production

could potentially present a risk to meeting these goals. The

outside Bimbo’s borders and will now produce electric

first consideration is the evolution of the international vehicle

vehicles for the national market in collaboration with

market. Due to the plunge in oil prices starting in July 2014, the

billionaire Carlos Slim’s Giant Motors at its plant in Hidalgo.

market began favoring larger vehicles thanks to lower gasoline

Zacua, a new Mexican hopeful, is also looking to make an

prices. In July 2014, the prices of a barrel of WTI mix peaked at

269.9 278.2



demand is intricately linked with oil prices.


271.3 301.5

on the behavior of the US and Canadian markets and in both,

300 267.5 278.5

According to Solís, Mexico’s production is highly dependent

284.4 286.4


2014, sitting at around US$54 at the end of October 2017.

319.1 334.6


regained strength but it is still below half of what it cost in

279.5 327.8

point in February 2016 at US$30.6. Since then, the mix has


US$102.4 but then reversed fortunes until reaching its lowest



demand for compact vehicles in the US. After canceling its investment in San Luis Potosi, Ford announced that its



has already tasted its first disappointment due to receding




toward these models,” he says. Nevertheless, the country

50 March

US, I would not expect Mexican plants to shift their production



currently a preference toward larger vehicles and SUVs in the


Solís does not seem concerned, however. “Although there is

projected production of the new Focus would be relocated to


its existing plant in Hermosillo. However, the company issued


save US$1 billion by moving its operations to China, liberating budget to invest in its light-truck plant in Kentucky and new projects related to autonomy and electrification.

247 276.6

225.5 243.1

Global Operations at Ford Motor Company, the company will

226.2 257.7


219.7 240.9

According to a statement from Joe Hinrichs, President of

250 213.2 211.7

its production to China in an effort to further reduce costs.

197 228.8

a statement in June saying that the company would transfer



Source: INA

150 100 50

time low of 2.72 percent in 2015. According to estimates from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Mexico’s


GDP grew 2.2 percent in 2016 to US$1.17 trillion. In its report

Source: AMIA

The World in 2050, PwC forecasts that Mexico could grow

Source: INA

at an inter-annual rate of 3.8 percent up to 2050. While the long-term outlook remains relatively unchanged, the economy





Most plausible



Most optimistic



Most pessimistic



Donald Trump’s rise to the US presidency. Trump started targeting the Mexican manufacturing industry in the second half of 2015, declaring that Mexicans were stealing jobs from the US. The rhetoric intensified in the last quarter of 2016 when prior to the US elections, Trump His premise was that given Mexico’s unfair trade balance



in the short term has been hit by uncertainty in the wake of

began to attack automotive companies directly via Twitter.


maintaining below 5 percent since 2010 and hitting an all-




Since 1997, Mexico’s inflation rate has dropped steadily,



with the US, the ideal measure would be to slap a 35 percent tariff on vehicle exports coming from Mexico. The result was

Source: AMDA

a wave of uncertainty among companies with manufacturing operations in the country. However, as a renegotiation of

are positive. According to Fitch Ratings’ latest review

NAFTA moves forward, the Mexican government has stood

on Mexico’s perspective, the ratings firm has awarded

its ground against Trump.

the country a BBB+ mark, with an upgrade to “stable” from “negative.” According to a statement from the firm,

According to a survey conducted by Mexico Automotive

“the risk of a negative scenario that could affect the

Review 2017 with 184 executives of the national industry,

competitiveness of Mexico’s exports is reduced now that

uncertainty remains the main factor hindering companies’

the US seems to be taking a moderate position regarding

competitiveness. Still, growth projections for Mexico

the renegotiation of NAFTA.”



THE VISION OF INTELLIGENT MOBILITY MAYRA GONZÁLEZ President and Managing Director of Nissan Mexicana


Q: Mexico is Nissan’s fourth most important market

A: Mexico has not yet defined a new model for how

globally. How will the company maintain its growth here?

Nissan's, or even Mitsubishi’s, operations will change but

A: After eight consecutive years of being the leading brand

globally this acquisition will only strengthen the alliance

in Mexico and with a market share of 25 percent during our

between Renault-Nissan and now Mitsubishi. After we

2016 fiscal year, our goal is to continue with our winning

acquired 34 percent of Mitsubishi’s stock, the alliance

formula. Our latest target is to surpass the 406,995 units

became the third most-important automotive group

sold in FY16, which is a record in itself because no other

in the world. The alliance sold over 10 million vehicles

brand has managed to sell that many vehicles in Mexico in

around the world during the first half of 2017. The three

a single fiscal year. Nissan’s innovative approach has been

companies complement each other and I think the best

one of the pillars of the company’s success, with a strong

of this venture is yet to come. We still need to define

vehicle portfolio that allows it to participate in almost

how each company will take advantage of the others’

all market segments. Our manufacturing operations have

manufacturing infrastructure, supply chain, distribution

also helped to strengthen our presence in the country and

network and technology. Negotiations on how the new

to offer competitive prices to our clients. We now have

alliance will impact each country are ongoing but Carlos

two plants in Aguascalientes, another in Morelos and we

Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance,

will open our fourth plant, also in Aguascalientes, by the

says the addition of Mitsubishi could transform the alliance

end of 2017.

into the most important automotive group in the world.

Our financing arm, NR Finance, has been key to growing

Q: What role does Mexico play in Nissan’s global

our market share in Mexico, reaching demographics that

manufacturing footprint?

we could not service otherwise. Our distribution network

A: We manufacture a new vehicle in Mexico every 34

has also grown to more than 230 points of sale and we are

seconds and our production line in the Aguascalientes’

now transforming the image of our dealerships with the

A1 plant is flexible enough to incorporate five different

implementation of the Nissan NREDI 2.1 global standard

models in the future. Mexican manufacturing has become

across our Mexican network. The goal of NREDI 2.1 is to

a corporate standard for our global operations, having

create attractive dealerships with more open spaces that

attracted US$5 billion in investment from Nissan since 2007.

foster enjoyable interaction between our customers and our vehicles. All the information they need will be at hand.

Aguascalientes was the first location to manufacture the

Dealerships will be much more modern and technology will

Nissan Kicks crossover with an investment of US$150 million.

be the basis for all our operations. This is an international

Since this model was the official vehicle of the Rio Olympic

effort and the first NREDI 2.1 dealership in the world was

Games of 2016, the first batch produced was sent to Brazil.

inaugurated in May 2017 in Playa del Carmen.

Subsequently, production went to our local distributors. The Nissan Kicks allowed us to compete in a market segment

Q: How will Nissan’s recent acquisition of 34 percent of

that we had not explored in our 53 years in Mexico. Now we

Mitsubishi's stock boost the company’s position in the

can proudly say that so far, in the current 2017 calendar year

global market?

2017, we are leaders in the small crossover segment as well. Q: To what extent are Mexicans participating in Nissan’s

Nissan Motor Corporationis a unit of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

R&D efforts?

The company is the largest OEM in Mexico with sales of over

A: Mexico led the Kicks' production and the vehicle’s design

400,000 units in 2016 and four manufacturing plants, three of

was a collaboration between Nissan’s R&D centers in Rio de

which are focused on Nissan models and one on Infiniti vehicles

Janeiro in Brazil, San Diego in the US and Atsugi in Japan.

These three centers brought their vision to Mexico and our

there was no charging infrastructure available. We could

local engineers were responsible for ensuring the vehicle’s

not wait for the government to start developing this

quality and implementing all the necessary modifications

market so we invested our own resources in the country’s

and improvements to the original design.

charging infrastructure and launched the first electric vehicle. Nissan LEAF became the first EV to be launched

Mexican talent has been a decisive factor in elevating the

in Mexico and the country’s best seller, with more than

quality of our manufacturing operations. The country’s

270 units sold to date.

challenge will be to generate enough talent to support the production of 4.9 million vehicles by 2020, 1 million of

To this day, Nissan has the largest charging network with

which will be produced by Nissan. With the Nissan University

over 230 charging points across the country. If we include

program in Aguascalientes, the company can also help

the public infrastructure we developed alongside the

develop this talent and generate new opportunities, both

government, universities and parking spaces, more than

for the company and the country. Our university has become

170 charging points add to those 230 chargers throughout

an aspirational institution because it helps students develop

our dealership network.

the necessary practical knowledge to fill jobs at Nissan and Although the electric and hybrid vehicle market is growing

its partners.

of its own accord, most efforts have come from OEMs and Q: How is Nissan transforming its value proposition to

the private sector. The government needs to develop state

incorporate global automotive trends?

incentives to boost sales. 281

A: The Nissan Tsuru was a flagship model for Nissan in Mexico. We manufactured a total of 2.4 million Tsuru

Q: What opportunity does Nissan see to participate in the

vehicles until production stopped in May 2017. Its sustained

growth of on-demand driver services such as Uber and

success was thanks to it representing a reliable and


affordable mobility solution for the Mexican population.

A: These services are already important to the brand. We

But after three decades, we decided it had accomplished its

foresaw an opportunity to create a specialized product

mission. We hope to satisfy consumers

with our financing arm that targeted these

with the entry versions of the Versa,

clients. This led to the Versa becoming the

March and Tiida models. Nissan is now moving on to a new era driven by Intelligent Mobility. Terminating the production of Tsuru


Nissan’s market share in Mexico in FY16

was the first step we took into this

preferred vehicle for services like Uber and Cabify. Nissan has built strategic alliances with these companies and we signed more than 25,000 contracts through NR Finance’s Private Driver Program in the fiscal year 2016. Approximately 95 percent

new era. We sold 1,000 units of a commemorative edition

of all financed vehicles for on-demand driver services were

and followed with the launch of the new Nissan GT-R in

Versa models. We are optimistic about growth in the on-

May 2017, when we formalized our promise to the public to

demand driver market, especially considering the room

provide innovation and exciting driving experiences.

these platforms have for development in Mexico.

Our new mission is to revolutionize mobility globally through three principles. The first, Intelligent Driving, will focus on how to incorporate new technologies to make driving much more efficient and eventually autonomous.


Intelligent Power, the second cornerstone of our new initiative, will guide Nissan on the use of alternative-

The Renault-Nissan Alliance acquired 34 percent

energy sources. Finally, Intelligent Integration will create

of Mitsubishi in 2016 for US$2.3 billion. With this

connectivity between vehicles, the Cloud and road

acquisition, the Alliance became the third most

infrastructure. These three branches of Intelligent Mobility

important automotive group in the world. Carlos

are the key to reaching our Double Zero target of zero

Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan

emissions and zero road fatalities.

Alliance and CEO of Renault and Nissan has now left the latter's leadership to Hiroto Saikawa to become

Q: How important is the electric and hybrid vehicle market

Chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi and help the company

for the brand’s operations in Mexico?

get back on a growing track. The plan is for Mitsubishi

A: Nissan was one of the pioneers in the electric vehicle

to lean on the technological and financial backbone of

market. When we decided to launch the LEAF in Mexico,

Renault-Nissan to boost its operations.



Q: How have new investments in Guanajuato impacted its

We have strengthened our relationship with Canada and

automotive industry?

many companies are already purchasing directly from us.

A: For 15 years, we were traditionally an agricultural,

Africa is beginning to buy the first exports headed that

livestock and textile trade region. The first manufacturing

way and Asia is a great opportunity for the agricultural and

company that came to the state was GM, 20 years ago,

livestock sector. We are interested in continuing to negotiate

which was responsible for boosting our growth. Before

with countries such as Japan, Korea and China. We have also

GM, we were exporting US$200 million per year but

exported to Guatemala and the rest of Latin America, as the

now we export more than US$20 billion per year from

south of the continent has turned into an area of opportunity

our automotive and other manufacturing activities. The

for Mexico.

industrial sector remains the driver for these exports and the automotive industry’s results put it in first place among

Our goal for direct investment from foreign industries was

all industries. In second place is the agricultural industry

US$5 billion but we received foreign investment of over

followed by metal mechanic. Automotive manufacturing is

US$10 billion. By the end of our administration in September

a big part of Guanajuato’s development and in five years it

2018 we expect between US$11 billion and US$12 billion,

has grown to represent 17 percent of the state’s GDP.

because we are diversifying in the aerospace, energy and automotive sectors.

One of every five vehicles that is produced in Mexico is made in Guanajuato, putting us among the top five manufacturers

Q: What is the development goal of the production chain

in the country. By the year 2020, most OEMs established

in the automotive sector?

in Mexico will have operations here. Toyota will lead us to

A: Our development strategy is based on a plan for the year

consolidate as the most important cluster in Latin America

2035 and its targets need to be updated to work toward a new

for vehicle production. The top brands that are working here

deadline in 2040. We need more adjustments, so Guanajuato’s

are Honda, Mazda, GM, Hino Motors and Volkswagen, as well

policies reflect its short and medium-term goals, and do not

as top suppliers including American Axle and GKN, among

simply become the duty of the governor in office. These

many others. Ford’s transmission plant will start operations

policies should focus on diversification.

in 2017. Together these companies have generated 90,000 jobs. Guanajuato's unemployment rate, at under 4 percent,

Newly arriving companies make the development of local

is lower than the average in Mexico.

suppliers more attractive because importing services tends to be more expensive. Companies prefer to have

Q: How is the state promoted to attract ​​investment and to

the product close by since imports represent a setback

build stronger relationships with countries besides the US?

due to delayed transfers and tariffs. We are pleased that

A: The Foreign Trade Promotion Coordinator (COFOCE) has

local companies are integrated into the supply chain and

been working in Guanajuato for 25 years. This coordination

we are working on improving any area of opportunity for

is older than ProMéxico and has helped us broaden our

Mexican companies. This is one of the priority mandates

scope of trade. COFOCE is a permanent effort that works

that the President of the Automotive Cluster of Guanajuato

on all continents because diversification is key to our

(CLAUGTO), Fidel Otake, proposed.

growth. Twenty-eight countries are investing in Guanajuato, including Japan, the US, Germany and France. The US is our main market and it will continue as such. The market

Miguel Márquez Márquezis a Mexican politician affiliated with

is constantly moving and the reality of trade and industry

the PAN party. He currently serves as Governor of Guanajuato, a

overshadows intimidating speeches, such that 50 percent

position he has held since 2012. Before, Márquez was mayor of

of what we export goes to the US.

the Purisima del Rincon municipalit in Guanajuatoy




Q: After growing over 400 percent in 2016, how confident

financing, the most attractive factor that helps garner trust

is Kia about reaching its 80,000-unit sales target for 2017?

from our customers is having the most extensive warranty in

A: Between January and September 2017, we achieved

the Mexican market of seven years or 150,000km.

55.7 percent growth in sales. Local operations have also


strengthened since we started producing the Forte locally in

Q: How is Kia positioned among its competitors in terms of

May 2016. This model was previously imported from Korea and

sales and aftersales services?

so was subject to import tariffs. In 2017, the most important

A: We use studies by J.D. Power as a reference. In 2017, Kia

factor to increase our sales volume will be national production

occupied the sixth position among non-premium brands.

of the Rio. We started production in January with the Rio

We are not yet participating in J.D. Power’s aftersales studies

Hatchback and we have also launched the Rio Sedan. Locally

because the volume of repairs and maintenance we manage

producing 100 percent of the units that we sell in Mexico will

is still too low. Our cars are still relatively new compared to

help us reach our target of 80,000 units sold.

other brands and need few services but we will participate in 2018. By 2019, we hope to be rated among the top three

Q: How did the company successfully penetrate the market

companies with the best levels of satisfaction in the country.

and grow sustainably? A: We implemented an aggressive growth strategy following

Aftersales services offer the greatest opportunity in

four pillars. The first was launching the brand with attractive

Mexico. People always doubt whether repairs made to their

products to position ourselves well from the outset. Sportage,

vehicle were necessary or not, so Kia developed a global

Sorento and Forte are our high-end models, which we

tool called Customer Value Innovation System (CVIS) that

launched initially. Then we brought the more economical Rio

personalizes the service. When a new vehicle is sold, the sales

and Soul. The second pillar of our strategy was boosting brand

representative must download an application to the client’s

awareness through marketing. We broke many rules about

smartphone, which generates dates for maintenance and

how brands should start in a new country. We had a strong

reminders for services. Drivers can schedule appointments

presales campaign with the “Kia on Tour” events, visiting all

or reschedule, and the application shows the car’s status and

cities where we planned to work and scheduling test drives.

when it will be ready after servicing. Even the payment can be handled through the application. We started implementing

Our third pillar of growth is based on developing our

this innovation in 2016 with 30 dealerships and Mexico will

distribution network. We selected the best in terms of

be the first country where 100 percent of the dealerships will

customer service, managerial and financial capabilities to

integrate the application.

create a network of 73 dealerships that opened in just 12 months. We added 12 more sales points in July 2017, which

Q: How do you expect your participation in the hybrid vehicle

will take us to 97 percent national coverage. Each dealership

market to grow, especially in Mexico?

on average costs US$3.5 million to build. The final pillar in

A: During 2016, we were less confident about introducing

our strategy refers to our differentiating policies. We created

a hybrid vehicle to Mexico but after the environmental

Kia Finance, our financing arm that works in collaboration

contingencies in Mexico City, we saw sales of hybrid vehicles

with BNP Paribas, the largest bank in Europe. Along with

from competitors dramatically increased. We have seen there are great opportunities to launch greener vehicles here. Kia had considered launching a global product in Mexico, which

Kia Motorswas founded in December 1944 as Kyungsung

could have important differentiators from a traditional car.

Precision Industry, initially manufacturing bicycles. The company

The Niro is a special vehicle designed from the beginning as

began producing cars in the 1970s. It has since joined forces

a hybrid. It is the first light SUV born as a hybrid, designed to

with Hyundai to create the Hyundai-Kia automotive group

be aerodynamic and avant-garde.



Q: MAN has set goals for 5 percent market share in the truck

Thanks to the arrival of BMB Mode Center to Mexico, we

segment and 18 percent in the bus segment. How successful

will now be able to transform vehicles to suit the needs

have you been?

of our local customers. We will perform these changes

A: Between January and April 2017, we reached a 2.7 percent

with local supplies, guaranteeing the same quality as if

market share in trucks and a 16.4 percent share in the bus

these vehicles were originally manufactured with these

segment. There are still areas of opportunity for the company


but we are well on track to reach our proposed goals by the end of 2018.

Q: How have the traditional VW and MAN families evolved and how are you integrating the latest additions to the

In past years, we have grown at a rate of 15-20 percent

company’s product portfolio?

year-on-year both in sales and production in our plant in

A: We are developing new vehicles with our body

Queretaro. We expect to continue delivering the same results

manufacturing partners, always integrating the latest

in 2017 and in the near future. Although we currently do

advances in technology, innovation and alternative fuel

not plan to export to the US, our operations in MAN Latin

applications, such as natural gas. The goal is to complement

America are promoting our exports. Twenty Latin American

our existing product line by identifying the best opportunities

countries have increased their exports by 40 percent so far,

in the market. In 2016, we released six new models to the

including Mexico.

market and by the end of 2017 we expect to deliver two or three more. As a result, MAN Truck & Bus México will have

Q: How has the company evolved in terms of client

one of the most complete portfolios in the market.

relationships and what new contracts have you closed? A: Grupo IAMSA is one of our main clients at the moment

BRT models will be one of our new alternatives and we

and we are working to strengthen our relationship by

expect our vehicles to be available by the end of 2017. That

offering new products and services. We are in the final

being said, midibus models are still a crucial part of our

stages of delivery for the last contract we signed with the

portfolio. Our 15.190 model, for example, doubled its sales

company. We have also closed other major negotiations in

in the first months of the year.

2017. Two of the most important contracts were with ADO and Heineken.

Q: How successful have cab-over models been in Mexico and how are regulations promoting the adoption of these units?

Q: What development plans does the company have to

A: Mexican operators are gradually accepting cab-over

achieve 30-40 percent national content in its production?

models because they understand the benefits the vehicle

A: We are restructuring our engineering and purchasing

can offer in terms of cargo volume, maneuverability

divisions in an effort to make them more oriented toward the

and visibility. Cab-over trucks are also more versatile

development of Mexican suppliers. We are already in contact

when it comes to inner-city deliveries and are safer than

with several local companies who are now participating in

conventional models. In the light-truck segment, acceptance

the development of some of our components. Mexico is one

for these vehicles is growing considerably and we expect

of the most important heavy-vehicle manufacturers in the

that trend to translate to the heavy-vehicle market.

world. In 2015, the country was the largest truck exporter globally. The supplier network is strong and extensive and we are confident that local players are capable enough to

MAN Truck & Busis a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.

address all our requirements regarding quality. Our strategy

The company is headquartered in Germany and focuses on

is to keep growing our local content, understanding the

the production of buses, light and heavy trucks. In Mexico, the

needs of our customers.

company manages the VW and MAN brands





Q: How are you reacting to changes in the automotive

plenty of energy alternatives the industry could embrace,

industry and new trends favoring mobility alternatives?

used individually or in combination. Some players are still

A: The idea that the car industry is changing is wrong.

interested in hydrogen. Chemically, this substance is one

What is evolving is the transport and mobility industry; the

of the simplest molecules available in abundance, which is

automotive industry is an important part of that. Companies

precisely what makes it interesting. But we don’t think there

that cannot identify this wider framework are doomed to

is just one solution. Gasoline, natural gas and electric engines

stagnate or even disappear. The car is just a means to an end,

all have their merits. We must only consider issues such as

to transport people and goods from one place to another.

effectivity, efficiency, availability and ease of distribution to

The real concern facing the industry is how to improve

determine how best we can apply each of these alternatives

mobility by transforming existing solutions or by developing

to transport people or cargo. We still see great potential for

new ones. Companies must identify client needs and react to

the internal combustion engine too, mainly because of the

them, offering the fastest, most convenient and cost-efficient

energy density in carbon-based fuels. Further improvements

solution that damages the environment the least. We want

in terms of efficiency and cleanliness for this type of

to provide important input to drive such solutions.

powertrain remain promising options for many applications.

Q: How is Bosch working to develop cleaner and

Q: How has Bosch’s R&D initiative in Guadalajara evolved and

environmentally friendly solutions for its clients?

what has been your experience concerning Mexican talent?

A: Developing cleaner products has been one of our core

A: The project has been a success although it was not

values since the company was created. Bosch strives for

easy at the beginning. The center in Guadalajara is heavily

safer, cleaner and more comfortable solutions across all

oriented toward development, which is still not common in

the industries we serve. These three factors are driving

Mexico, and we had a hard time selling the idea internally in

innovation in the mobility sector too and we assign

the beginning. We developed the project in collaboration

considerable resources to develop technology around them.

with Bosch India starting with 11 people in 2014. Today,

We spend approximately 10 percent of our turnover on R&D

we have 280 engineers working at the site and we have

activities, which amounts to nearly US$10 billion per year.

proven that there are very skilled and talented people in the country, capable of delivering projects on time, on cost and

Q: What opportunities do you see for Bosch in alternative

on spec. Our employees in Guadalajara come from different

powertrain applications?

STEM backgrounds (science, technology, engineering and

A: There has been tremendous progress in electrification

mathematics), creating an interdisciplinary environment

and how energy is being produced. But getting your energy

that fosters innovation. Our demand for R&D projects in

from a plug does not mean using clean power. There are

Mexico is now booming, both from internal and external

still challenges the industry must address including making

customers domestically and internationally.

electrical energy storage and charging more efficient, lighter, faster and cheaper. But the fact that these challenges

Q: In what ways do you see the automotive industry being

exist represents a great opportunity for the industry to

affected by external influences?

meet considerably more challenging standards. There are

A: During uncertain times, companies and investors need to separate the wheat from the chaff, reinforcing calm among investors, associates, academia and politicians where

Robert Boschis a leading supplier of automotive components,

possible. Companies must keep advancing, cautiously maybe,

including gasoline and diesel systems, electrical drives, starter

but never stop innovating or offering the best possible value

motors and generators. The company generated US$82.4

to their customers and stakeholders. Standing still because

billion in sales in 2016 and US$3.7 billion in EBIT

of uncertainties is not an option, prudence is.



Q: What challenges has the company faced in consolidating

All these elements experience constant wear so though

and integrating ZF Services after TRW’s acquisition?

it might seem an additional expense to change an entire

A: We integrated two large groups with different business

module when one thing wears down, in the long run doing

strategies and organizational cultures. TRW was a public

so is safer for end-users. ZF now sells concepts that make

company in the US while ZF was a private German company.

sense to distributors, installers and consumers. Distributors

The way both planned and managed operations was

only have one supplier to negotiate with for complementary

dissimilar. This situation created foreseeable consolidation

components. We believe that this new concept responds to

difficulties, as well as opportunities to look for internal

current market trends. Selling components or spare parts

benchmarks and implement the best of both. Initially,

is not enough to compete in the market, sales must be

TRW was considered a new division within ZF’s business

accompanied by added support and aftersales services.

structure, retaining its complete structure and operations. After evaluating the merger, a special group was created

Q: What other products are you developing with TRW?

to conduct the process integration, focusing on fixed

A: We are mostly developing electronic components and

objectives and strategies while learning from each part.

devices for mobility, connectivity and safe driving. These apply to passenger cars and both light and heavy commercial

The group identified synergies and gaps between the

vehicles. In the auto parts segment, our team is working to

companies. Finally, with a better and broader idea of how

develop product lines missing from each market, combined

to best proceed, the company started an integration-

with the creation of service readiness to provide added-

consolidation process, applying the best of both companies’

value solutions and greater business for our distributors.

techniques. The group tried to balance the use of each

This encompasses a trained technical support team, high spare

company’s resources. The divisions focused on OEM

part availability and documentation in several languages.

customers were consolidated more quickly, while those serving the aftermarket were the last to integrate. This

Q: What best practices could Mexico import from

was mainly due to the complexity of integrating our One

aftermarket-oriented regions to reactivate the local market?

Aftermarket division and ensuring it had a global scope for

A: Mexico has to reinvent itself. The biggest change we will

all the product lines.

face in Mexico is going to be e-commerce. In our strategic plan, we will skip retailers and start participating directly

Q: How did the newly founded merger ensure each

on an e-commerce platform, including our distribution

company’s strengths remained present?

network. We started in July 2016 and we are already seeing

A: The head of One Aftermarket is a ZF representative

sales increase through this channel. Helping end-users to

but the remaining important positions within the structure

correctly identify the part they need to buy will lead to

were designated among ZF and TRW executives. We based

higher online sales. There will always be users who want to

our merging strategy on the ideas of integration and the

go to a workshop and see the pieces before they buy them.

creation of new sales concepts. The different structures we

But we are pleased to see how our distributors respond to

use to attend to the aftersales market dictated the need to

this change and are adapting to find innovative ways to

eliminate duplicities and use synergies as much as possible.

remain competitive.

We identified each company’s strengths and merged them to create a single fortified strategy. We needed to recognize that selling components alone was no longer a strategic

ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology. The

approach, so we began selling integrated solutions. TRW

company's portfolio includes powertrain and chassis technology,

used to sell “corner modules,” a concept that integrates

commercial vehicle and industrial technology, e-mobility, the

brake pads, shock absorbers and other suspension parts.

aftermarket and active and passive safety technology




Q: What are Arbomex’s goals in terms of material and

previously had only one cam and we added another

process innovation?

two. That way, according to the fuel demand and speed

A: Our main strength is our vertical integration between

stability, one or maybe two cam actions could reduce fuel

iron foundry and precision machining. This integration

consumption. Our improvements may be advantageous in

gives us enough competitiveness to stand up against our

terms of manufacturing or logistic costs and the client must

international counterparts. In terms of innovation, we have

decide how best to alter its operations.

substituted steel products with heat-treated iron. Our next 288

step is to develop a foundry process for iron that can replace

Q: How will Arbomex address the growth of electric and

steel without the need for an additional heat treatment.

hybrid cars in the industry? A: The three main drivers for the automotive industry are

We are waiting to obtain the first patent for a camshaft

mobility, connectivity and alternative energy sources.

manufactured through a foundry process of iron and

By 2035, we expect electric vehicles to take over the

steel. This will be a disruptive improvement for the engine.

market and we are preparing to face this development

Combining both materials will result in less weight, lower

accordingly. We must take the elimination of camshafts

costs and better injection-system performance. We need

as a likely scenario and that will lead the company in two

to work on our testing processes, to assure our clients that

directions. The internal combustion engine, although it may

this component will provide better quality at a lower cost.

be limited, is unlikely to disappear and we want to be the best camshaft company in the world. At the same time,

Q: How can Arbomex solve engine and injection-system

we are targeting the heavy vehicle industry, particularly in

problems to improve vehicle efficiency?

parts that are expensive to manufacture. We plan to move

A: There is a trend to change the traditional Otto cycle

toward other types of components, delving into near-net

in an engine to the Atkinson model and that puts a lot of

geometries and new materials like aluminum.

pressure on the camshaft. This component operates the valves that will allow air to enter and exit the cylinders thus

Q: How has Arbomex’s possible joint venture with a

controlling the moment fuel is injected to the engine. We

Japanese company evolved?

have a specialist dedicated to analyzing several types of

A: The company wants to take advantage of the experience

engines and establishing a benchmark of the advantages

Arbomex has in the Mexican market but recent exchange

each presents. That way we can offer several solutions

rate volatility and the situation between Mexico and the US

for our clients to choose whatever works best for their

has slowed the process. But negotiations have not halted

performance, cost and efficiency objectives.

and we hope to finalize the deal before the end of 2017.

Suppliers are increasingly involved in the design process

Q: How can Mexico attract further investment in advanced

for new components. This allows us to analyze and test all

manufacturing and design processes?

aspects related to a new part, along with its manufacturing

A: Software and basic engineering processes are still carried

conditions and related costs. That is how we designed

out abroad. Most design centers in Mexico focus on small

a solution for one of our main customers. The system

changes and product adaptations according to the region but the base design is done in Germany, Japan or the US. Each day more and more universities are collaborating with

Arbomex is a Mexican company that specializes in engine

companies to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship

component manufacturing. This includes camshafts, foundry

among students. Some institutions already have excellent

and machined precision parts. Its main export destinations are

manufacturing and material research centers but the

the US, the Czech Republic, Germany and China

industry would benefit from more integration with them.


A TECHNOLOGICAL FUTURE AWAITS Manuel Nieblas Partner and Manufacturing Industry Leader at Deloitte Mexico

Alberto Torrijos Partner and Consultant at Deloitte Consulting Group

Q: How aligned is Mexico with the technological trends

AT: Technology integration is propelling the industry toward

adopted by other industrialized hubs?

a global strategy of connectivity between processes in

MN: Mexico has always been regarded as a low-cost

manufacturing and between vehicles and infrastructure

manufacturing destination. In contrast, Industry 4.0

regarding the end product. Cars operate with over 1 million

implementations require large investments. The moment

lines of code and the industry’s goal is to capitalize on the

technology becomes more affordable than human labor,

information gathered from both products and processes.

the industry will transform. According to the OECD, Mexico is the least prepared country in sensorization

Connectivity and advanced technology will play a defining

and digitalization. We can already see some robotic and

role in the industry’s future, not only in manufacturing but

automation strategies but human labor remains the most

also for the end user. The world is changing its focus toward

cost-effective alternative in the country. The problem

mobility and we expect the industry to transform in four

Mexico faces is that technology prices keep falling and

stages. We are already looking at a first shift in mindset related

it will not be long before they match the country’s labor

to ownership and assisted driving. Once users ditch the idea

advantages. The automotive industry’s innovation-oriented

of ownership, the market will move into a new phase of shared

vision will only accelerate this transformation.

economy. The third stage in the industry’s transformation will be full autonomy, which will eventually lead to a sharing

Q: How ready are Mexican companies to face technological

autonomy future where data collection and analysis will be

challenges posed by leading international players?

crucial to ensure safety and overall functionality.

MN: There are massive technology gaps in the automotive supply chain. SMEs are practically unaware of the

Q: How attracted is the Mexican consumer to autonomous

advantages these advances can offer and they do not

and connected features in their cars?

have the necessary resources to invest in advanced

MN: According to our Global Research on automotive

manufacturing equipment. The situation worsens when we

consumers, Mexican clients are more focused on safety-

consider there are no real incentives from the government

oriented technology and security features, such as how to

to incorporate advanced technology in national suppliers,

track vehicles remotely. Although this is not new to the

while the industry is not that committed to developing

industry, it is the basis for connected innovations and an

the local supply chain. For years, the driving force in the

autonomous future.

Mexican industry was to produce more with less. This is no longer enough according to international standards.

AT: Although the first priority for the user is safety, we found that clients are willing to pay more for advanced

AT: Mexican companies are not ready to face the technological

technology features in their vehicle. Mexican consumers

challenges presented by the industry; they are more focused

are among those willing to invest more in new technology

on surviving. If these companies do not offer an added value,

compared to other users in the international market. Our

their products will be commoditized, which will be a huge

research shows that members of the Y and Z generations

problem in the next five years due to the extreme competition

are open to spending MX$35,000 (US$1,900) for advanced

in the market. The country will keep manufacturing internal

technology, particularly in greener powertrain alternatives.

combustion vehicles but we will gradually see how companies make way for electrification. Small suppliers must find a way to enter the production chain or they will meet their end.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited , more commonly known as Deloitte, is a conglomerate of independent firms that offer

Q: How will connectivity and advanced technology

audit, tax, consulting, risk and financial advisory services. In

permeate the development of automotive technology?

2016, the company generated US$36.8 billion in revenue



AN UNWAVERING SUSTAINABLE VISION JUAN JOSÉ ZARAGOZA Marketing and Sales Manager and Mexico Country Leader of DuPont Performance Materials - NEP/HPS

The trend toward lighter materials in the automotive industry

like nylon that are now commonly used in a variety of

is more than just a cost-saving tactic; it provides tangible

applications, including automotive. Zaragoza says nylon

benefits for end users and contributes to environmental

is a crucial component in under-the-hood components

sustainability efforts, says Juan José Zaragoza, Marketing

including intake manifolds, fans and water-recovery pans.

and Sales Manager and Mexico Country Leader of DuPont

“Polymer components have made vehicles not only lighter

Performance Materials - NEP/HPS.

but safer,” he says. “Auto parts now have a higher impact resistance, have a longer lifespan and are better adapted

“People tend to think that lightweight trends only address

to manage harsh environmental conditions.”

cost-efficiency needs but that is not the case,” says Zaragoza. “Lighter materials result in a more efficient

The automotive industry is constantly innovating and plastic

vehicle that demands less power from the engine.”

is becoming more relevant in automotive manufacturing with each new design cycle. “Components are now made

DuPont Performance Materials has now made its core

of plastic even when they have a structural or mechanical

business to deliver lighter components that meet the cost

role,” says Zaragoza. The implementation of fuel-efficient

requirements of both automakers and suppliers, while

technologies has also presented an opportunity to create

maintaining the same structural soundness companies

materials with higher heat resistance and heat dissipation

can gain from metal applications. “DuPont Performance

rates. “Turbochargers have helped downsize engines

Materials has even innovated to integrate recycled material

from eight to four cylinders while maintaining the same

into its polymer resins for further environmental gain,” he

performance. Nevertheless, they have also incremented the

says. As a raw material supplier, DuPont is in a crucial

temperature in the exhaust by more than 50 percent,” says

position to support companies as they innovate to create

Zaragoza. “Automakers need materials that can dissipate

greener solutions. “Our engineering polymers are the

that heat and prevent it from reaching the cabin.”

primary material to produce an auto part that will go into a system and that will finally end up in a vehicle.” DuPont also

Even electrification trends are impacting plastic applications.

participates in the design of new components and ensures

Connectivity and automation require the use of sensors and

the final proposal meets quality and functionality standards.

connectors and these parts need a plastic cover that can withstand heat and wear. “Clients now look for increased

The company also works in process optimization to help

connectivity and advanced electronics technology in their

reduce costs. “All manufacturing processes need energy

vehicles and that is where DuPont can participate,” Zaragoza

and work, which means consumption. If raw materials are

says. Like many companies that do business globally, DuPont

processed in the most efficient way, energy costs are lower

is also keeping an eye on the political environment in the US,

and production cycles are optimized,” he says. DuPont’s

which has placed a focus on the automotive industry, among

operations in Mexico have expanded to now represent 70

others. One area of concern is US support for sustainable

percent of the annual revenue in the Performance Materials

practices but Zaragoza says the industry will continue

division. Zaragoza says recent investments in the country are

its quest toward efficiency and improved performance.

paying off. “We reached double-digit growth in 2016,” he says.

DuPont continues to believe that US participation in the

“Our expectations for 2017 are to maintain growth thanks to

Paris Agreement would benefit both the US economy and

our business with Japanese and European suppliers.”

the global environmental future. “We remain committed to working with governments, companies, NGOs and other

Technology will play a key role in sustaining DuPont’s growth

international players to bring solutions to the market that

and as it supports its clients’ sustainable development.

reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and enhance

DuPont has been responsible for the invention of fibers

competitiveness,” says Zaragoza.




Q: BNP Paribas Personal Finance arrived to the Mexican

BNP Paribas Personal Finance spurs it to offer credit at

market with traditional products. How has the bank’s

reasonable prices. Nevertheless, we are analyzing how

offering changed since then?

far can we go, while also asking clients to confirm their

A: We started operations in Mexico in 2004 with our

financial capabilities. It is not only a matter of payroll

consumer finance products. Back then, we offered credit

receipts; there are several ways clients can confirm their

cards, payroll loans and loans for cars and motorcycles.


In 2012, after a strategic reorganization, we decided to 292

focus our business on the automotive sector and we

Q: When it comes to financing, what are the main

added financing products for distributors with our Plan

differences between Mexico and other Latin American

Piso. Three years ago, our portfolio of loans to distributors


totaled MX$200 million; today, that has grown to almost

A: There are not that many differences. For instance, in

MX$5 billion.

Brazil, the main banking institutions play an important role, whereas in Mexico brand financers have the largest

We decided to focus our operations on the automotive

market share. In Colombia and Chile, the only difference

industry because it is the market in which we felt most

is that leasing is more incipient than in Mexico, where it

comfortable and where we saw the largest growth

exists as a product with a final consumer credit that is

potential. We knew that even though the market would be

not as common. In some other Latin American countries,

competitive, we were going to continue growing. We saw

leasing is more advanced, but it has not reached the levels

growth opportunities and, thanks to our team, commercial

that we see in the US or some European countries.

partners, financial products and added value, we have succeeded. We focus on individual loans for people. Even

Q: What is BNP’s relationshi