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 third 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 focuses on data for the year 2010.

In 2010, the top 20 Mexican MNEs had foreign assets of USD 123 billion (table 1 below), foreign sales of USD 71 billion, and employed 255,340 people abroad (see annex table 1 in annex I). The top two firms, America Movil and CEMEX, together, controlled USD 85 billion in foreign assets, accounting for nearly 70% of the assets on the list. The top four firms (including FEMSA and Grupo Mexico) jointly held USD 104 billion, which represents almost 85% of the list’s foreign assets. Leading industries in this ranking, by numbers of MNEs, are non-metallic minerals (four companies) and food and beverages (another four companies). All but two of the 20 are firms whose shares are traded on a stock exchange. The exceptions are PEMEX, Mexico’s fully state-owned oil and gas firm, and Xignux, a diversified family-owned enterprise.

The top 20 MNEs had 223 foreign affiliates (branches, subsidiaries, et al). As with their counterparts elsewhere in Latin America, Mexican MNEs show a very strong regional orientation. As annex table 2 makes clear, the top 20 overwhelmingly prefer to invest in Latin America. The next region of choice, with a substantial presence of Mexican affiliates, is North America. Europe (mainly the European Union) is a somewhat distant third. The presence of Mexican MNEs in Asia seems to be growing, if slow. In 2008, four of them had affiliates in Asia; in 2010, seven did.

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