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America Movil’s Telmex Gets $51.6 Million Antitrust Fine

Telmex, the Mexican landline unit of America Movil SAB, was fined 657 million pesos ($51.6 million) from the nation’s antitrust agency for anticompetitive practices.

The sanction follows an investigation into the market for lines leased to competitors, the agency said today in a statement. Telmex didn’t provide service for almost two years to rival Axtel SAB in 32 cities and six inter-city routes, the agency said.

Regulators are setting their sights on America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, in an attempt to loosen its grip on Mexico’s phone market. President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took power in December, has said improving competition in telecommunications is one of his top goals.

While Telmex is still reviewing the antitrust ruling, its initial conclusion is that evidence the carrier provided to the agency wasn’t properly taken into account, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The carrier has 30 business days to appeal the decision, the antitrust agency said.

Telmex has about 80 percent of the nation’s landlines, and Mexico City-based America Movil also controls 70 percent of the mobile-phone market.

America Movil was little changed at 15.85 pesos at the close in Mexico City. The shares have risen 2.2 percent in the past 12 months, compared with an 18 percent jump for Mexico’s benchmark IPC index.

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