The CFO who turned Gruma around.

Author:Ibarra, Nancy

Raul Cavazos Morales has spearheaded the strategy that positioned the Mexican corn miller as a financial titan. Latin Trade pays tribute to his talent and attributes in honoring him as the 2015 CFO of the Year in Mexico.

Sixty-six years after it was founded, the Mexican company Gruma finds itself in a sweet spot, thanks to a financial strategy that has enabled it to increase the value of its stock by 550 percent in just two and a half years.

Behind this program, put into effect in December 2012, is Raul Cavazos Morales, corporate director of finance and strategic planning for the corn flour and tortilla maker, and the recipient of Latin Trade Group's prize for CFO of the year 2015-Mexico.

"This reflects all of the efforts that were being made and, obviously, I want to repeat that it is a prize that I receive in the name of many people, of all of my team in particular, but very sincerely in the name of the entire company, because we are all very much together in the company's achievement," he said as he received the recognition at the CFO Forum in Monterrey, Mexico, in September.

Cavazos Morales is being modest when he refers to the company's successes, but the numbers speak for themselves: The multinational's debt-EBITDA ratio dropped from 4.8 times to 1.45 times in just a year and a half.

One success built on another: When the Mexican company reduced its debt and improved its economic performance, it was also able to improve its credit rating, and obtained a BBB-rating with stable perspective from Standard and Poor's. Gruma went from being "a speculative-grade company to an investment-grade company," the CFO said.

How could a tortilla manufacturer make such a jump? Cavazos...

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