Big Mexican companies keep investing abroad

New market development
New market development

Despite some adverse conditions facing Mexico at the moment (cough Trump cough), the Mexican government has kept up its steady promotion of the country as a destination for foreign direct investment.  A couple of high-profile investments in the automotive industry appear to have been waylaid by threats or uncertainty over the future of NAFTA, but overall large foreign companies with long-term strategies for the Americas continue to establish new Mexico operations or expand existing ones.  Within this context, we once again took a look at the less-heralded flip side of Mexico FDI – investment by Mexican companies in other countries.

The samples provided below are taken from media reports collected since early 2016.  Once again we see some of the customary industries in which Mexico is strong, such as food processing, chemicals and automotive component manufacturing.  Some of Mexico’s largest companies are represented on the list, such as Mexichem, Gruma, FEMSA and GIS, among others.  We left off the list some reported expansion plans that did not seem particularly specific but were worthy of interest.  For example, KidZania, a Mexican operator of innovative family entertainment centers in which children pretend to work at jobs (!) reported plans to open locations in the United States in the coming years, in addition to sites in development in Toronto and Paris.  KidZania, despite its bizarre (in our very personal opinion) concept, has been a remarkable success as a Mexico-based entertainment service expanding abroad, now operating 24 locations in 19 countries.

One other clear outlier that appeared briefly in local media was a reported US$200 million investment by Monterrey-based meat importer Comercializadora de Carnes MFM, to construct a cattle raising operation, slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This one raised eyebrows around the Mexico Business Blog water cooler since we work regularly in the meat industry and we are not familiar with this company, not to mention that large investments by Mexican firms in central Africa are infrequent.  This may all be on the up-and-up and herald a new era in Mexico-Africa business, but our calls to the number listed for the company went unanswered so we decided to hold this one off the list just in case it, uh, doesn’t pan out for whatever reason.

In any case, here’s the list so have a look to see if there’s anything of interest related to your industry.  Please remember this is a selected list, so there is more out there for those doing further research.


Mexico investment abroad from 2016 through March 2017



Industry Location of


Vitro Glass USA Vitro acquired Pittsburgh Glass Works automotive glass plant for US$310 million.
FEMSA Appliances South Africa FEMSA subsidiary Imbrea established a plant to manufacture commercial refrigerators in alliance with South African manufacturer Innochill.
Grupo México Railway USA Grupo México acquired Florida East Coast Railway for US$2.1 billion.
Vitro Glass USA Vitro announced a US$55 million expansion to its automotive glass plant in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Sigma Food processing Spain Sigma inaugurated a US$237 million remodel and upgrade at a meat processing plant in Burgos, Spain.
Alpek Chemicals Brazil Alpek acquired two PTA and PET plastic producing subsidiaries from Brazil’s Petrobras for US$385 million.
Asur Airports Colombia Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Sur (Asur) acquired majority ownership of Colombian airport operators Airplan and Aerop
Mexichem Chemicals UK Mexichem acquired UK-based PVC compounds producer Vinyl Compounds Holdings Ltd.
Bimbo Food processing Argentina Bimbo inaugurated a commercial bread factory in Córdoba, Argentina, via investment of US$33 million
Grupo Industrial Saltillo Auto parts Spain GIS acquired Spanish metal casting firm Infun for approximately US$295 million.
Mexichem Chemicals Canada Mexichem acquired Gravenhurst Plastics, a Canadian manufacturer of polyethylene pipe, for an unspecified amount.
Lamosa Ceramics Argentina Grupo Lamosa acquired Argentinian ceramic products maker Cerámica San Lorenzo, including subsidiary operations in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina, for US$230 million.
Gruma Food processing Malaysia Gruma inaugurated a US$55 million manufacturing plant in Malaysia to produce tortillas, savory snacks, wraps and pizza crusts.
Nemak Automotive Turkey Mexican auto parts manufacturer Nemak acquired Turkish aluminum cylinder head manufacturer Cevher Döküm for an undisclosed price.

Source: Media reports March 2016 – March 2017

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