Carlos Slim's America Movil Extends Its Dominance in Mexico

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB, facing looser restrictions on its dominance in its business in Mexico, continues to pile up customers.

The nation’s largest carrier added 427,000 mobile users in that country last quarter, according to a statement Tuesday. That helped fuel earnings of 72 billion pesos ($3.8 billion), excluding some items, in line with an average analyst estimate of 72.1 billion.

The growth follows years of regulatory crackdown for the company controlled by Slim, Latin America’s richest person. Because of its commanding position in wireless, America Movil was forced by the government to share its network with competitors and connect phone calls from rivals at no charge. But that measure was overturned last year.

Competitors such as AT&T Inc. continue to advocate for stronger measures on the telecom giant.

America Movil also is pursuing a pay-TV license in Mexico -- something that it hopes will be granted soon, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj said on a call Wednesday. Regarding incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Hajj said he doesn’t expect the new administration to represent many regulatory changes because the country’s telecom reform is relatively recent.

The shares were little changed on Wednesday, trading at 16.42 pesos in Mexico City.

Sharp Gain

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 15 percent from a year earlier in Mexico. That was the sharpest increase in almost 11 years. The figure gained 9.9 percent in Brazil.

Sales rose 3.2 percent to 257.3 billion pesos, beating the 252.6 billion projected by analysts.

In Puerto Rico, the company has fully restored its mobile network and it’s “practically” functioning normally after last year’s Hurricane Maria left thousands without power.

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