Alfa's Norte: the Mexican conglomerate is readying itself to profit from the energy revolution in North America.

Author:Buchanan, Ronald
Position:CFO OF THE YEAR MEXICO - Financial report


For a man who manages the destiny of billions of dollars a year, Ramon Leal Chapa is singularly modest. "It's important to listen to other people and their viewpoints," emphasizes Latin Trade's CFO of the Year Mexico 2013. "The best piece of advice I can give to other people is to listen to banks and analysts," says the chief financial officer of the Monterrey-based conglomerate Grupo Industrial Alfa. "These are people who see what we don't see as CFOs," said Leal.

Alfa recorded revenues of $15.2 billion from its five divisions. Alpek, the petrochemicals heavyweight, pulled in $7.3 billion. Aluminum auto-parts leader Nemak pulled in $3.9 billion and chilled foods division Sigma earned $3.4 billion in quality cold cuts and cheeses.

The telecommunications Alestra division earned $400 million while the new kid on the Alfa block, Newpek, drew in some $100 million. Newpek may be small, but its potential is highly significant, Leal told Latin Trade. "Newpek is involved in the production of shale gas in the Eagle Ford formation in Texas. "That's on the cusp of the energy revolution in North America."

The Eagle Ford formation extends into Mexico, where the major shale gas and oil resources have been identified in the North not far from Monterrey, and also around the Gulf Coast on the borders of Veracruz and Tamaulipas. The current Mexican constitution bars the private sector from exploring and producing oil and natural gas. Only the state monopoly, Pemex, can do so. What that means is that Newpek cannot do in...

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