With the planned acquisition of 40% of Telefónica’s stake in four Central American countries, Guatemala-based Corporación Multi Inversiones joins a growing list of companies, which operate in all or much of the region.
Grupo Roble, based in El Salvador, has in recent years taken its signature real estate concept – a mall-hotel-office cluster – to each Central American country, and is now moving into Colombia.
Honduras-based Grupo Terra owns several energy ventures, including six hydroelectric and two geothermal projects, along with UNOpetrol, Central America's leading fuel importer and retailer.
For its part, Importadora Monge, with headquarters in Costa Rica, has a chain of domestic-appliance stores in five countries ot the region,
With its participation in Telefónica, Corporación Multi Inversiones will become an important actor in the telecom sector in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador.
Telefónica is keeping its 100% position as a mobile services provider in Costa Rica.
Multi Inversiones for several years has operated in five Central American countries, through its Pollo Campero chain of fast-food restaurants.
The list of so-called “Regionationals”, the Central American version of multinationals, includes other firms, less well known.
Operating in several countries may involve differences in consumer preferences.
On the other hand, the same issue applies in big markets, such as Brazil or the United States, where various parts of each country often have local habits.
Meanwhile, the evolution of regional operations lets companies spread costs over a wider base, thereby increasing efficiency in areas, which include tech support, marketing, and software and other purchasing.