Slim risks losing title in crackdown on monopoly
NEW YORK: Carlos Slim's title as the world's richest person is increasingly under threat as Latin American countries move to crack down on his telecommunications dominance and his European investments turn sour.
The Lebanese immigrant's son, who acquired Mexico's phone monopoly and turned it into a pan-Latin American powerhouse, lost almost a 10th of his net worth last month, winnowing his fortune to US$73 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The main culprit: Slim's holdings in America Movil SAB, whose dominance in Latin America and especially its home country of Mexico is under fire, with lawmakers and regulators pushing for tighter controls.
"The challenge facing America Movil starts in Mexico because of the increasing resistance to its dominance," said Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, which manages funds that include Slim's phone carrier.
"As its competitors become much more viable, you're going to find America Movil in trouble in Mexico, not having the kind of earnings they've had in the past."
America Movil has long faced accusations from competitors and regulators that it wields monopoly power in Mexico, where it holds 70 per cent of the wireless market and about 80 per cent of landlines.
A draft of a new telecommunications reform bill in Mexico stipulates that companies with at least 40 per cent market share would be declared dominant and could be forced to rent parts of their network to rivals, the Reforma newspaper said last week. Bloomberg