Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, only behind Brazil. It maintains the 16th largest economy in the world thanks to having the world’s biggest market – the US – as its neighbour in the north.
The country has an economically diverse, export-oriented economy, with its most influential sectors being telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and tourism.
Financial analysts are bullish on the nation’s economic prospects, pointing to the government’s tax, pension and judicial reforms that could lead to substantial growth nationwide. Mexico’s finance minister thinks the nation’s economy ‘could easily’ grow in 2021 and the years to come.
When combing through the data, it is easy to share his confidence. But one of the most notable benefits of the Mexican economy is that it has the hardest-working employees globally, based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which measure the number of hours worked yearly. This could explain why Mexico has more than a dozen businesses listed on the Forbes Global 2000 report.
But who are the largest companies in the country and what do they specialise in? Let’s examine the ten largest companies in Mexico based on the publication’s latest report.
10. Grupo Inbursa
Global 2000 ranking: 1,554
Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB de CV is a holding company that was founded in May 1985. Thirty-six years later, this financial institution with a market capitalisation of $4 billion and a workforce of nearly 12,000 offers a long list of banking services: personal and commercial banking, mortgages, insurance, loans and financial consulting.
9. Arca Continental
Industry: Food, drink and tobacco
Global 2000 ranking: 1,473
Arca Continental SAB de CV specialises in the production, distribution and wholesale of beverages and purified waters. It has become a big business after 20 years by manufacturing, distributing and selling soft drinks of the Coca-Cola brands throughout Mexico and South America. It also generates additional revenue through vending machines in Mexico and snacks across Ecuador and the US.
8. Grupo Bimbo
Industry: Food, drink and tobacco
Global 2000 ranking: 1,435
Grupo Bimbo is one of the largest companies in Mexico, thanks to its $6.8 billion market cap and $15.2 billion in sales. So, what caused it to become such a profitable business? Baked goods. That’s right. Throughout Mexico, North America, Latin America and Europe, Grupo Bimbo manufactures, distributes and sells fresh and frozen sliced bread, buns, English muffins, cookies and bagels. To grasp how large this organisation is, consider the number of employees it has on its payroll: 134,458.
No wonder why Grupo Bimbo is one of the largest companies in Mexico today.
Global 2000 ranking: 1,327
After more than a century in operation, CEMEX SAB de CV has become one of Mexico’s most influential companies. The firm produces, distributes, markets and sells cement and ready-mix concrete. The construction company has expanded its reach beyond the borders of Mexico by operating throughout the US, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. That is not too bad for a $3.2 billion entity.
Its presence in Asia could seriously support the business for many years to come. China, South Korea, Japan and several others are employing various public-works projects that require construction material. While they have their own supplies, just having the opportunity is huge for Cemex.
Global 2000 ranking: 1,296
ALFA is a major holding company that operates throughout Mexico, Latin America, the US and Europe with several brands that operate in petrochemicals, food, automobiles, telecommunications, energy and more. With a $2.1 billion market cap, the conglomerate’s key brands are Alpek, Sigma, Nemak, Alestra, Newpek and others.
5. Grupo Elektra
Global 2000 ranking: 1,022
As you may have noticed by now, some of the largest companies in Mexico became market behemoths by expanding operations outside the country’s borders. Grupo Elektra SA de CV is no different, offering financial and retail services across Mexico and the US. With $6.2 billion in revenues, $18.4 billion in assets and nearly $840 million in profits, the business has a solid financial footing.
Global 2000 ranking: 585
Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV is a holding company that concentrates primarily on banking and has been around since 1899. That’s a long time to be in existence, especially with the ever-changing global economy. Banorte became an $8 billion juggernaut by offering several banking services, including long-term savings, brokerage and wholesale banking. Its profits have topped $1 billion for seven consecutive years.
3. Grupo Mexico
Global 2000 ranking: 549
Copper has become one of the most valuable industrial metals. As a result, businesses that engage in the mining, exploration and transportation of copper have witnessed exponential growth. One of these firms is Grupo México SAB de CV, which also operates a few other divisions: mining, infrastructure, corporate and transportation. With operations in the US and Mexico, it also mines for silver, which has also turned into a highly valuable precious and industrial metal.
Industry: Food, drink and tobacco
Global 2000 ranking: 431
Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB de CV is a $23.4 billion business that operates as a holding company that produces, distributes and markets beverages. It generates billions of dollars in sales by utilising Coca-Cola trademarked beverages and operating through several segments and brands, including the investment and distribution of the popular Heineken beer brand.
1. America Movil
Global 2000 ranking: 157
The company that tops the list of biggest companies in Mexico is America Movil, a telecommunications behemoth that enjoys a market cap north of $40 billion, despite only being founded in 2000.
If you haven’t heard of America Movil before, that’s okay. But you may have probably heard of this name: Carlos Slim - Mexico’s richest man and one of the wealthiest people on the entire planet.
America Movil offers a whole host of telecom services such as wireless services, broadband internet, pay television and information technology services. While it is well established in Mexico, America Movil has moved into other markets, including Brazil, the Caribbean, the US and Europe.
Will Mexico dominate the world by 2050? It is questionable if more or fewer businesses will land a spot on the next Forbes Global 2000 list.
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the Mexican economy, and experts warn that it could take years for the nation to mitigate the economic damage and escape the rubble.
However, considering the work ethic of Mexican employees and the company culture of so many businesses, Mexico could do well in the years to come.
Market analysts are optimistic about the country’s growth prospects since policymakers are implementing a series of market-oriented reforms. The revival could be swifter than some would anticipate. That said, the next Forbes Global 2000 list should be interesting to peruse since it could see some substantial changes in the post-coronavirus international economy.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in March 2015.