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Latin America's 25 Fastest-Growing Companies

  1. Say Hola to the New Competitors
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    Say Hola to the New Competitors

    U.S. managers need not look as far as China or India to spot rivals. Advances in economic reform, technology, education, and management prowess in Latin American countries have propelled some the region's largest companies into leading positions globally. Brazil's JBS, for example, became the world's largest meat processor after buying a majority stake in chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride and merging with milk products, beef, and leather company Bertin in 2009. Many of these giants continue to thrive in the downturn, with several posting double-digit growth in the third quarter. Based on average yearly sales growth from 2004 to 2009, Boston Consulting Group ranked the world's 25 fastest-growing multinational Latin American companies, what it calls "Multilatinas." Annual sales of each company on this list have been growing at an average of 16 percent or more.

    Click to see the 25 fastest-growing Multilatina companies, ranked in ascending order. Gross revenue figures are for 2009.*

    Editor's note: There are 25 companies on the list, but because of ties, Businessweek.com ranked them from No. 1 only through No. 19.
    Getty Images/Crisafi
  2. No. 19 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Molinos Río de la Plata
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    No. 19 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Molinos Río de la Plata

    Victoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Business: Food manufacturing and distribution
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 16 percent
    Gross revenue: $2,114,000,000

    Molinos Río de la Plata (MOPLF:US), the largest exporter of branded food products in Argentina, manufactures, markets, and distributes such products as oils, flours, premixes, margarines, baked products, jellies, semolina, frankfurters, cold cuts, hamburgers, mate tea, rice, and pasta.

    *On all slides, average annual sales growth (2004-09) and 2009 revenue figures are from Boston Consulting Group.
    Molinos
  3. No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Alicorp
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    No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Alicorp

    Callao, Peru

    Business: Food processing
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 18 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,281,798,000

    Alicorp (ALICORC1:PE), Peru's largest foodstuff maker, manufactures cooking oils, butter, and margarine and markets flour and grain products and coffee. It also makes cosmetics, soaps, and other personal hygiene products. In January 2010, Alicorp announced it had opened an innovation center in Peru to improve the quality of its goods and develop new food products.
    Alicorp
  4. No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Industrias CH (ICH)
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    No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Industrias CH (ICH)

    Tlalnepantla, Mexico

    Business: Steel products
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 18 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,697,908,000

    Industrias CH (ICHBF:US), the largest Mexican steelmaker, manufactures steel equipment, including agricultural tools, automotive parts, construction equipment, and cranes. ICH is one of the main producers of special bar-quality steel, also called engineering steel, in North America.
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  5. No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Randon S.A. Implementos e Participaçoes
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    No. 18 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Randon S.A. Implementos e Participaçoes

    Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    Business: Road and railroad load transport
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 18 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,416,675,000

    Randon (RAPT3:BZ), which has interests in many businesses, chiefly manufactures, imports, and exports trailers for trucks and railroads and also makes auto components.
    Randon/Getty Images
  6. No. 17 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: SACI Falabella
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    No. 17 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: SACI Falabella

    Santiago, Chile

    Business: Retail centers
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 19 percent
    Gross revenue: $6,948,128,000

    SACI Falabella, Chile's largest retailer by market value, owns and operates department stores, home improvement stores, hypermarkets, and shopping centers. Its financial branch includes banks and credit-card operations. Falabella has operations in Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Colombia through its subsidiaries.
    Falabella
  7. No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Grupo Nacional de Chocolates
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    No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Grupo Nacional de Chocolates

    Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

    Business: Food
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 20 percent
    Gross revenue: $2,245,894,000

    Grupo Nacional de Chocolates (CHOCOLA:CB), incorporated in 1920, processes, distributes, and markets food products, primarily chocolate, candy, derivative products, and coffee. Other products include pizzas, sausages, turkey ham, cookies, crackers, ice cream, and pasta.
    Getty
  8. No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): América Móvil
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    No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): América Móvil

    Mexico City, Mexico

    Business: Cellular telecommunications
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 20 percent
    Gross revenue: $30,233,490,000

    América Móvil (AMX:US), the Mexican wireless carrier controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, offers wireless voice and data services as well as fixed-line services, broadband, and cable television.
    Getty/America Movil
  9. No. 15 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Alpargatas
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    No. 15 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Alpargatas

    São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Footwear, sporting goods, and industrial textile
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 21 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,150,322,000

    São Paulo Alpargatas (ALPA3:BZ) produces and markets sporting goods, footwear, apparel, waxed cloth, canvas, and fabrics for local and export markets in North America, Europe, and Latin America. Its portfolio includes Havianas, Topper, Rainha, Mizuno, Timberland, and Locomotiva brands.
    Alpargatas
  10. No. 15 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras)
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    No. 15 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras)

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Business: Oil, gas, and energy
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 21 percent
    Gross revenue: $104,813,200,000

    Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PBR:US) explores for, and produces, oil and natural gas. It also produces and distributes biofuels and other renewable energy sources. Petrobras operates oil tankers, distribution pipelines, marine, river, and lake terminals, thermal power plants, fertilizer plants, and petrochemical units. The company has a presence in 28 countries, according to petrobras.com.br.
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  11. No. 14 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Vale
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    No. 14 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Vale

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Business: Metals and mining
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 22 percent
    Gross revenue: $27,820,130,000

    The world's biggest exporter of iron ore, Vale (VALE:US) produces and sells iron ore, pellets, manganese, alloys, gold, nickel, copper, kaolin, bauxite, aluminum, and potash. The company made its debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange in December 2010 to boost its profile in the Asia market.
    Vale/Getty
  12. No. 13 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE)
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    No. 13 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE)

    Santiago, Chile

    Business: Energy
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 23 percent
    Gross revenue: $3,571,902,000

    Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE:CI) generates, transmits, and distributes electricity in Chile and Argentina. In December the company raised $90 million with 21-year inflation-indexed bonds to refinance debt and pay for new projects.
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  13. No. 13 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Companhia de Tecidos Norte de Minas
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    No. 13 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Companhia de Tecidos Norte de Minas

    Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil

    Business: Textiles
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 23 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,529,356,000

    Companhia de Tecidos Norte de Minas (CTNM3:BZ) manufactures and distributes textile and apparel products, such as yarns and fabrics, bed sheets, T-shirts, socks, table linens, and towels. Its brands include Springmaid, Wamsutta, Regal, Artex, Santista, Paládio, Calfat, Garcia, Arco Íris, Magicolor, Attitude, and Jamm.
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  14. No. 12 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Weg
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    No. 12 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Weg

    Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil

    Business: Electric motors, power transformers, frequency drives, controls
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 24 percent
    Gross revenue: $2,415,457,000

    One of the world's largest manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment, Weg (WEGE3:BZ) manufactures and distributes electric motors, power and distribution transformers, large motors, DC motors, generators, drives, programmable controllers, electric panels, and electrical components. The company also offers technical assistance and repair services. Weg announced in December that it acquired battery and power products maker Equisul Indústria e Comércio.
    WEG
  15. No. 11 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Companhia de Concessões Rodoviárias (CCR)
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    No. 11 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Companhia de Concessões Rodoviárias (CCR)

    São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Highway concession, passenger transportation, and environmental vehicular inspection
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 26 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,772,224,000

    CCR (CCRO3:BZ) invests in and manages highway concessions in Brazil and is the country's biggest toll-road operator.
    CCR
  16. No. 10 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: TAM
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    No. 10 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: TAM

    São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Passenger and cargo air transportation
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 27 percent
    Gross revenue: $5,679,404,000

    TAM (TAMM3:BZ) is Brazil's largest airline by market share. It offers passenger and cargo air transportation services in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and the U.S., among other countries.
    TAM
  17. No. 9 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Natura Cosméticos
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    No. 9 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Natura Cosméticos

    Itapecerica da Serra, São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Cosméticos, fragrances, and hygiene products
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 30 percent
    Gross revenue: $2,433,491,000

    Brazil's largest cosmetics maker, Natura Cosméticos (NUACF:US) manufactures skin treatments, bath products, and fragrances, and products for children. Its brands include Natura Chronos, Ekos, Mamãe e Bebê, and Crer Para Ver.
    Natura/Bloomberg
  18. No. 9 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Cementos Argos
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    No. 9 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company (tie): Cementos Argos

    Medellín, Colombia

    Business: Cement and concrete
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 30 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,688,578,000

    Cementos Argos (CEMARGOS:CB), Colombia's largest maker and exporter of cement, also produces ready-mix concrete and aggregates. It exports to 27 countries and has a strong presence in the U.S.
    Argos
  19. No. 8 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Cencosud
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    No. 8 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Cencosud

    Santiago, Chile

    Business: Retailing, credit cards, and retail bank
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 33 percent
    Gross revenue: $10,501,150,000

    Cencosud has retail operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru, including supermarket chains Jumbo, Santa Isabel, and Disco; the department store chain Paris; and the home center chain Easy. Cencosud also manages store credit cards and provides retail banking products and services, travel services, and insurance products and services.
    Cencosud
  20. No. 7 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Localiza Rent a Car
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    No. 7 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Localiza Rent a Car

    Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

    Business: Car rental, fleet rental, used car sales, and franchising
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 35 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,044,583,000

    With a total fleet of 86,351 vehicles, Localiza Rent a Car (RENT3:BZ) is the largest car rental company in Latin America. It has a presence in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador. The company's net income more than tripled in the third quarter of 2010, to BRL74.9 million.
    Localiza
  21. No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Minerva
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    No. 16 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Minerva

    Barretos, São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Food processing
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 37 percent
    Gross revenue: $1,492,728,000

    Minerva (BEEF3:BZ), Brazil's fourth-largest beef company, produces and sells raw meat and its by-products. It also sells leather and live cattle and repackages prepared food for other companies. In the third quarter of 2010, the company's net revenue was a record BRL909.9 million, up 31.2 percent from a year earlier.
    Minerva/Getty
  22. No. 5 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Brasil Foods
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    No. 5 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Brasil Foods

    Jaguaré, São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Food production
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 38 percent
    Gross revenue: $9,124,486,000

    Brasil Foods (BRFS:US), the world's largest poultry processor, raises chickens and owns 60 industrial plants in Brazil that produce meat, dairy products, and margarine. Its core business is chilled and frozen food, but the company also processes frozen pastas and soybeans and their derivatives and distributes frozen vegetables.
    Getty/BR
  23. No. 4 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Mexichem
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    No. 4 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Mexichem

    Tlalnepantla, Mexico

    Business: Chemicals and petrochemicals
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 40 percent
    Gross revenue: $2,351,441,000

    Mexichem (MXCHF:US) produces a diverse portfolio of chemical and petrochemical products, including resin and hydrofluoric acid, that are sold globally. The company is also Latin America's biggest maker of plastic pipes. Sales in the first nine months of 2010 were up 19.4 percent over the previous year.
    Getty/Mexichem
  24. No. 3 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Marfrig Alimentos
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    No. 3 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Marfrig Alimentos

    Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Meat and poultry processing and distribution
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 62 percent
    Gross revenue: $5,516,151,000

    Marfrig Alimentos (MRRTY:US) processes beef, pork, lamb, and poultry and produces frozen vegetables, canned meats, fish, ready meals, and pasta. It is Latin America's second-largest beef producer, after JBS. In the third quarter of 2010, the company reported record net revenue of BRL3.9 billion, 60 percent more than in the same period last year.
    Marfrig/Getty
  25. No. 2 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Ultrapar Participações
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    No. 2 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: Ultrapar Participações

    São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Fuel and chemicals
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 63 percent
    Gross revenue: $20,718,180,000

    Brazilian fuels and petrochemicals group Ultrapar (UGP:US) sells bottled and bulk liquefied petroleum gas to residential, commercial, and industrial markets directly, as well as through its retail stores and independent dealers. It also distributes gasoline, ethanol, diesel, NGV, fuel oil, kerosene, and lubricants through service stations and manufactures chemicals through its subsidiary Oxiteno.
    Ultrapar/Getty
  26. No. 1 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: JBS
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    No. 1 Fastest-Growing Latin American Company: JBS

    São Paulo, Brazil

    Business: Beef processing and export
    Average yearly sales growth since 2004: 75 percent
    Gross revenue: $19,683,260,000

    The world's biggest meat producer, JBS (JBSAF:US) offers fresh and frozen meat, canned meat, ready-to-eat meals, fresh and frozen hamburger, minced meats, and precooked products, cured meats, and meat snacks. JBS-Friboi is one of the company's fresh beef brands. JBS has 140 production units worldwide.
    JBS/Getty