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    Walmex to Invest 7.2 Billion Pesos Over Next 18 Months

    MEXICO CITY - Wal-Mart de Mexico SA, also known as Walmex, announced yesterday its plans to invest 7.2 billion pesos ($1=11.1250 pesos) in the opening of 77 retail outlets over the next 18 months, according to Dow Jones Business News.

    MEXICO CITY - Wal-Mart de Mexico SA, also known as Walmex, announced yesterday its plans to invest 7.2 billion pesos ($1=11.1250 pesos) in the opening of 77 retail outlets over the next 18 months, according to Dow Jones Business News.

    Mexico's largest mass merchandiser, which is controlled by United States-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., issued a press release saying that the investment plan seeks to boost installed capacity by 15 percent.

    As of December the retailer had 11.76 billion pesos in cash. At the present time it runs more than 640 commercial outlets and restaurants in Mexico.

    Last year Walmex invested 5.18 billion pesos to build and modernize stores, restaurants, distribution centers, and information systems. It additionally created over 7,100 jobs to cover operations in 64 cities across Mexico.

    The new investment plan was approved at a shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. The company plans to open 38 Bodega Aurrera discount supermarkets, 10 upscale Superama outlets, 14 restaurants, nine Sam's Clubs, and six Wal-Mart supercenter hypermakets.

    The aggressive expansion of Walmex has led to increased market share at the expense of its biggest competitors, Controladora Comercial Mexicana SA, Grupo Gigante SA and Organizacion Soriana SA, the three of which last year created a purchasing joint venture to bring down costs, improve operating efficiencies, and counter the growing purchasing power and extensive investments of Walmex.

    Walmex shareholders also approved the board's proposal to convert all of its class C shares into voting class V shares, forming a single stock class in an attempt to enhance rights for minority shareholders. The stock conversion will occur March 3.

    Shareholders additionally authorized the distribution of a dividend of 0.44 pesos per share in cash or stock on March 22.

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