Food hits the high spots: sales from the retail, food and beverage sectors experienced double-digit growth last year, but oil companies suffered, according to Latin Business Chronicle's Multilatinas Index.

Author:Ramirez, David
Position:TRENDS: THE MULTILATINA INDEX
 
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Led by growth in retail and the food and beverage industry, the 25 companies that comprise the Latin Business Chronicle Multilatina Index posted $498.3 billion revenue in 2012, or 4 percent more than the previous year. This is an outstanding outcome considering the difficult environment that Latin America faced in 2012. Economic growth receded amid uncertainty brought about by the fiscal problems in the United States, the crisis in the European Union, and a slowdown in China.

The multilatinas operating in extractive industries and in the production of primary goods continued to account for a 48 percent lion's share of the total revenue of the 25 companies of the LBC Index. Producers of food and beverages accounted for 22 percent. In terms of countries, Brazilian and Mexican multilatinas accounted for 83 percent of revenue, Chile for 13 percent, and the remainder was sourced in Argentina, Colombia and Peru.

In general, multilatinas are expected to perform better this year, thanks to relatively more favorable conditions for the region. Several of the companies will also continue to expand through joint ventures and acquisitions that could reach beyond the Americas--some of them aim to penetrate Asian markets.

THE WINNERS

Last year, the revenues of the biggest retail chains grew by 28 percent, reflecting its dynamic role within the LBC index. Chile's Cencosud grew in line with its aggressive expansion plan, based on acquisitions throughout the region. These included the addition of 31 new supermarkets from Prezunic in Brazil and 39 department stores from the acquisition of Chile's Johnson chain.

Cencosud's sales are expected to expand this year at a similar pace on the back of the contribution of its recent acquisition of the assets of French company Carrefour in Colombia, which will add 100 stores, and of GBarbosa in Brazil, with 46 stores.

In turn, Fallabella has publicly revealed that it aims to continue growing this year, not only through regular expansion, but also by potential mergers. In 2012, this Chilean multilatina opened 37 new stores and three shopping malls in the four markets where it operates--Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. Fallabella is planning to open 42 stores and four malls in 2013, when it forecasts double-digit growth of revenue, supported by the financial activity of Banco Fallabella.

The Multilatina Index shows that the food and beverage sector was yet another winner in 2012, after growing...

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