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Logo Central America Link

The Mexicans are back

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


José Antonio Diego thinks that his company is likely to earn about $30 million a year in Central America, thanks to a new trend that revives an old one - Mexican investment in the region.

Diego is the chief financial officer of El Puerto de Liverpool, Mexico’s leading department-store chain, which last month raised a small stake in Regal Forest to 50%.

Regional retail powerhouse Grupo Simán, based in El Salvador, owns the other half.

Regal Forest may not be famous. But in Central America and the Caribbean, its joint venture with Simán includes such well-known businesses as La Curacao, Tropigas, and Radio Shack. For the time being, Liverpool has no plans to introduce any of its formats in the region. The amount of the acquisition has not been revealed.

Other Mexican investors have renewed interest in Central America. After a 6% slump in Mexico’s economy in 2009 - the biggest drop in Latin America - much of the lost ground has been regained. Those who are knocking on the door include representatives of Monterrey-based Gruma, the world’s leading producer of corn flour, tortillas and related products, which aims to develop a major plant in Nicaragua.