The Institute for Economic Research (IIEc) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), a joint initiative of the Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, are releasing the results of their survey of Mexican multinationals today. The survey is part of a long-term study of the rapid global expansion of multinational enterprises (MNEs) from emerging markets. The present report focusses on data for the year 2008.

The foreign assets of the 19 companies ranked in table 1 below totaled about USD 97 billion in 2008. Their overseas sales were about USD 58 billion and the number of their employees abroad was around 190,000.

The company in first place, Cemex, is ranked 45th among the 100 largest non-financial multinationals in the world that UNCTAD’s World Investment Report presented in its 2009 edition.3 In this same report, in addition to CEMEX, another four Mexican companies appear among the 100 largest non-financial multinational companies of developing countries.

The most common industries among the 19 Mexican companies on the list are food and beverages (four firms) and non-metallic minerals and telecommunications (three each). The oldest company in the ranking is Cervecería Cuauhtémoc (today FEMSA), founded in 1890. All companies in table 1, with the exception of PEMEX, are privately owned and all, with the exceptions of XIGNUX and PEMEX, trade on stock markets.

Three companies on the list include banks among their Mexican subsidiaries: GRUMA with Banorte, Grupo ELEKTRA with Banco Azteca, and Grupo Carso with Banco Inbursa and Casa de Bolsa Inbursa.

The year 2008 was one of great dynamism in outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) for several of the listed companies. However, some have adopted austerity measures to face the world economic crisis: In Corporación Durango5 and XIGNUX,6 there was divestment of their international assets.

The geographical map of the OFDI of the listed companies reveals that the main destinations for their investment flows are the United States, especially the southern states, and Central and South America, followed by Europe.

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