Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Latin America: no longer the man with a moustache and a guitar

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on November 23, 2010

by John Paul Rathbone for Financial Times, November 22nd, 2010.

If you have flown on a regional airline in Europe or the US recently, it is quite possible you were sitting in an Embraer aircraft – designed and built in Brazil. If you have eaten grilled chicken on the Fourth of July at a barbecue in the US, the poultry could well have been provided by Pilgrim’s Pride, majority-owned by JBS, the Brazilian meat processor.

And if you perhaps drank a Budweiser at that barbecue, nowadays that is a slice of Brazil as well. The iconic American beer brand belongs to Anheuser-Busch InBev, the $37bn Belgian-headquartered company, most of whose top managers call Brazil home.

These are just three of the growing band of Latin multinationals dubbed “multilatinas”. It is no accident they hail from Brazil, which accounts for roughly half of Latin America’s economy and population. But multilatinas are common to Spanish-speaking Latin America as well.

Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo is the world’s third-largest bakery, behind Japanese-based Yamazaki Baking and US-based Nabisco, part of Kraft. With more than 91,000 employees worldwide, Grupo Bimbo operates in more than 18 countries, selling English muffins, white bread and ready-made pizza crust across the US and baked goods as far afield as Europe and China.

Or there is the Guatemalan restaurant chain Pollo Campero, which has spread from its home base to employ more than 7,000 people working in more than 260 restaurants worldwide, with outlets in Spain and Asia that clearly appeal to diners beyond the company’s Hispanic roots.

Clearly, the rise of emerging economies in the world order is not just reshaping geopolitical questions; their companies are changing global business patterns, too. (continue reading… )



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