Billionaire Carlos Slim extended his lead as the world’s richest person by $2.4 billion as his wireless carrier America Movil SAB rose to a record.
The shares advanced 4.9 percent yesterday to 18.66 pesos in Mexico City, the highest price since America Movil’s 2001 spinoff from Telefonos de Mexico SAB, as the company overcame a regulatory hurdle and showed improved profits in Brazil. That boosted the net worth of Slim, who owns a 30 percent stake in America Movil, to $76.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His fortune is up 23.8 percent year-to-date.
A settlement last week with Mexico’s antitrust regulator is creating optimism that America Movil can grow in its biggest market, said Kevin Smithen, an analyst at Macquarie Capital USA Inc. in New York. America Movil agreed to cut fees charged to competitors as the government dropped a fine of almost $1 billion assessed last year for anticompetitive practices.
“Now you’ve got a relatively stable economy with improving fundamentals and a more benign regulatory environment,” said Smithen, who advises buying the shares. “We think there’s still room to go on a big run.”
America Movil adopted a new accounting method that showed profit is expanding in Brazil, its second-largest market, said Alejandro Gallostra, an analyst at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, in a phone interview yesterday from New York. That is making the company’s prospects look better in a country where it had appeared to be struggling, he said.
The carrier is also luring investors seeking exposure to Latin America as Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB shares slide amid a corruption scandal. The retailer’s shares have dropped 19 percent after allegations raised in an April 21 New York Times story that its executives bribed Mexican officials.
“America Movil does have the classic attractions of being large and liquid and having an established returns policy,” Richard Dineen, an analyst HSBC Holdings Plc in New York, said yesterday in a phone interview. “It’s often a good place to go when all other inspiration fails,” he said, advising holding the shares.