Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Peru miner eyes record gold and silver production


roque_benavides.jpgPeruvian miner Buenaventura said 2008 will be a record-setting year for its main silver and gold mines.

Silver output at its Uchucchacua mine should increase to 12 million ounces in 2008 from 9.9 million ounces in 2007, said Buenaventura Chief Executive Roque Benavides.

He said gold output at its Orcopampa mine will rise to 300,000 ounces in 2008 from 267,935 ounces in 2007. 

“Both will have record productions this year,” said Benavides, speaking at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Lima, Peru.

Audio – Mexican retailer Soriana focuses on debt


soriana.jpgAfter closing one of the biggest deals in the Mexican retail market in a decade by acquiring more than 200 stores from rival Gigante, Soriana plans to focus on keeping a tidy mid-term debt profile.
The Gigante transaction, which helped strengthen Soriana’s position against leader Wal-Mart de Mexico, will slow down the retailer’s organic growth for the next two years but the company hopes store openings will gather speed again in 2010.
Listen to Chief Financial Officer Aurelio Adan speak at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit about how the company will handle debt in the next five years and the reasons why he thinks Soriana stock is undervalued.

Audio – Tough ride ahead for Mexico’s biggest retailer


walmex.jpgWalmex, the Mexican arm of U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is set for another tough year amid an economic slowdown that is making it more difficult for customers to buy anything from food to clothing.
In 2007, retailers were hurt by a downturn in the Mexican and U.S. economies. However, Walmex hopes that its first-quarter results will be decent. 
Listen to the company’s Chief Executive Eduardo Solorzano talk about the challenges ahead during Reuters Latin America Investment Summit. 

AUDIO-Surprised by US intervention in credit crisis


ruben_iparraguirre.jpgRuben Iparraguirre, Chief Financial Officer at Banco Patagonia in Argentina, expressed his surprise over the U.S. government’s intervention to keep the credit crunch contained.

 During an interview for the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iparraguirre said the degree of U.S. activism was unexpected.

Audio – Mexico may need new tax reform over long term


finmin.jpgAs Mexico’s oil production gradually declines from peaks in 2004, future governments may need to come up with new ways to tax more products, like food or medicine, to keep healthy coffers, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
   Revenues from state oil firm Pemex currently bring government revenue to 20 percent of gross domestic product.

Audio – Copper still the new gold



Grupo Mexico’s Chief Financial Officer Daniel Muniz and Vice President of International Relations Juan Rebolledo sat down with Reuters during the Third Latin America Investment Summit to talk about the company’s struggle with blokades and strikes, which have hurt production at its key Cananea pit, and their hopes for a quick solution.
   They also share their long-term expectations that prices of the red metal should stay high, betting global inventories will remain tight.

Audio – Baby steps for FO network, PLC in Mexico


cfe.jpgNew technologies that enable a wider distribution of basic communications in Mexico are taking longer than expected to take off amid struggles between companies interested in accessing cheaper networks and high launch costs.
   A vast fiber optic network owned by Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), good for transporting data all across the country,  is currently used by just a handful of telephone firms seeking to bypass what they often criticize as very high fees from the dominant fixed-line phone company.
   CFE’s chief Alfredo Elias Ayub told Reuters said during the Third Latin America Investment Summit that in a couple of months there could be news about fiber optic rentals to new companies.
    He also shared his views about why power line communications, which carry information over the powerline, are stalled due to the high price of modems and the lack of sufficient research in countries like Mexico.

Audio – Against the odds, Mexico’s economy still growing


ortiz.jpgMany thought that with a sick neighbor, Mexico should have caught the blues already, right? Wrong. The Mexican economy looks like it is still growing at a good pace while its No. 1 trade partner, the United States, sails through choppy waters. 
   Central Bank Gov. Guillermo Ortiz told Reuters in an interview during the Third Latin America Summit that recent consumption, investment, industrial output and export data showed Mexico’s economic health appears sound, but inflation remains a concern.
   With Mexico’s average consumer prices currently hovering above the central bank’s comfort zone, Ortiz maintained expectations that inflation could range between 4 and 4.50 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Audio – Mexico’s anti-trust eyes Televisa cable acquisition


cofeco.jpg Mexico’s lax regulation has encouraged the unabashed growth of monopolies in the last few decades, ranging from telecommunications to beer empires. Cable television is no stranger to conflict as Televisa, the world’s biggest producer of Spanish-language content, sets its eyes on triple play amid cries from smaller rivals struggling to keep afloat.
   Eduardo Perez Motta, the head of Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission, sat down with Reuters during the Third Latin America Investment Summit to talk about a much-expected decision on a Televisa acquisition that would give the broadcaster a key push in the triple play market, where companies can offer cable TV, Internet and phone services using a single broadband link.
    Perez Motta set a series of requirements that Televisa should meet, including sharing its content with rivals, if it wants to buy a 49 percent stake in Cablemas, one of the biggest cable companies in Mexico.

AUDIO-US taking big steps to fight against credit crisis



Jose Luis Machinea, head of the U.N. Latin American Economic Comission (ECLAC), is confident the US won’t suffer a profund economic crisis from the credit crunch. 

Recent measures taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve to ensure bank liquidity and lower interest rates show the government has learned from a previous comparable crisis, the Great Depression, Machinea says.