MEXICO CITY, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Grupo Salinas, a group of dynamic, fast-growing and technologically advanced companies deeply committed to the modernization of the countries in which they operate -created by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo B. Salinas (www.ricardosalinas.com)- announced today that 2009 was once again a year of solid advances in its companies: Grupo Elektra, Banco Azteca, TV Azteca and Grupo Iusacell.
Grupo Elektra -the leading consumer finance and specialty retailer in Latin America- stimulated its solid geographical expansion through the launch of Banco Azteca in El Salvador in July, with the simultaneous opening of 29 branches. With the operations in El Salvador, positive perspectives are further strengthened in new markets with the successful consolidation of operations in seven Latin American countries in addition to Mexico.
Banco Azteca, the financial arm of Grupo Elektra, was positioned as one of the top banks in Mexico, with 10 million loan accounts and 8 million deposit accounts. The large base of loan accounts is a positive factor for asset quality since the potential of non-payment is diluted among a large number of clients, while the extensive number of depositors strengthens the liquidity of the bank. The quality of Banco Azteca's portfolio was excellent within the segment of financial institutions focused on the bottom of the pyramid.
As for Grupo Salinas' presence in the television industry, TV Azteca - one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language television in the world - further strengthened its solid foundations with a 40% market share for full-day commercial audiences in 2009, above the share for the previous year. Programming highlights include novelas, the Hechos Noche national evening newscast and the successful musical reality program La Academia.
On the other hand, Azteca America - the broadcast television network of the U.S. Hispanic market fully-owned by TV Azteca - continued strong growth, increasing primetime audiences and sales by double digits despite an adverse economic environment.
In telecommunications, Grupo Iusacell - the first supplier in Mexico of third- generation wireless cellular service with national coverage - developed unparalleled technological applications.
An application of fundamental importance is Geocontrol - which allows thousands of users to administer essential business operation functions at a distance, including filling orders with precise control of inventory and carrying product catalogs through a cellular phone. Another tool is Taxista Vigilante - where thousands of taxi drivers in the state of Chiapas report problems to benefit the local community, including accidents, street crime or water main leaks with text messages and photographs through cellular technology.
Another relevant product is Red Movil Azteca - which allows users to make payments, transfer money, check balances and account movement, as well as purchase air time with cellular phones. Finally the BAM wireless broadband Internet service finished the year with more than 100,000 users, offering the fastest data transmission speeds in Mexico.
Grupo Salinas companies took opportune actions to continue strengthening operational efficiency in a difficult environment, with important cost and expense reductions, which generated in many cases excellent levels of profitability.
Grupo Salinas also mobilized efforts through Fundacion Azteca to support the nourishment of thousands of families. Through five Movimientos Azteca television awareness and fundraising campaigns, almost 800,000 persons were attended with food, medical attention and services, thanks to a Ps.218 million collection. Fundacion Azteca also contributed to the construction of a new rural city to attack marginalization in Chiapas, and promoted consciousness about the need to improve the environment through Limpiemos Nuestro Mexico, which mobilized more than one million persons to collect 3,500 tons of garbage. The efforts of Fundacion Azteca not only improved well-being of the families in Mexico, but also in the United States, Peru and Guatemala.
Grupo Salinas has been adding value to the communities in which it operates for more than 100 years, taking advantage of constant changes to generate growth opportunities. The Group thinks that it has an unparalleled platform to continue with solid performance and excellent results in 2010.
Grupo Salinas (www.gruposalinas.com) is a group of dynamic, fast growing, and technologically advanced companies focused on creating shareholder value, building the Mexican middle class, and improving society through excellence. Created by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo B. Salinas (www.ricardosalinas.com), Grupo Salinas operates as a management development and decision forum for the top leaders of member companies. These companies include:: TV Azteca (www.tvazteca.com.mx; irtvazteca.com), Azteca America (www.aztecaamerica.com), Grupo Elektra (www.grupoelektra.com.mx), Banco Azteca (www.bancoazteca.com.mx), Afore Azteca (www.aforeazteca.com.mx), Seguros Azteca (www.segurosazteca.com.mx) and Grupo Iusacell (www.iusacell.com). Each of the Grupo Salinas companies operates independently, with its own management, board of directors and shareholders. Grupo Salinas has no equity holdings.
SOURCE Grupo Salinas