February 14, 2018 / 6:19 PM / 9 months ago

America Movil will spend $8 billion on capex in 2018, CEO says

FILE PHOTO: The logo of America Movil is pictured on the wall of a reception area in the company's corporate offices in Mexico City, Mexico, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - America Movil, Mexico’s largest telecommunications firm, will increase capital expenditures to around $8 billion this year, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj said during a call with analysts on Wednesday.

Detailing the telecommunications firm’s fourth quarter results, Hajj said the company will continue to invest heavily in Brazil and Mexico, its principal markets. America Movil, which is controlled by the family of billionaire Carlos Slim, spent $6.95 billion on capital expenditures in 2017, according to its fourth quarter report.

“We are thinking long-term and investing to have the best network and good customer service,” Hajj said.

On Tuesday, the telecommunications firm reported a loss of 11.295 billion pesos for the fourth quarter, its biggest in 16 years. The company said its results were hurt by the depreciation of the Mexican peso.

Chief Financial Officer Carlos García Moreno said Mexico could generate better earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in 2018 due to a reduction in costs and greater efficiencies.

Mexico’s telecommunications regulator ruled in November that America Movil could resume charging rivals such as AT&T Inc and Telefonica SA for calls to its network. A 2014 sector reform aimed at lessening Slim’s dominance had barred America Movil from charging the fees.

America Movil is also expecting to perform better this year in Brazil, its biggest market, helped by a recovery in the nation’s economy.

Shares of America Movil, which operates throughout Latin America and Eastern Europe, rose 3.48 percent on Wednesday to 16.67 pesos.

Reporting by Sheky Espejo; additional reporting by Julia Love and Noe Torres; writing by Julia Love; editing by Michael O'Boyle and Tom Brown

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