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Multilatinas’ Success Despite Adversity Shows Why a Resilient Private Sector Is Latin America’s Greatest Asset

BCG Study Identifies Key Factors That Enabled 100 Elite Latin American Companies to Outperform Regional Peers in Growth and Shareholder Returns and Successfully Navigate a Shifting Business Landscape

SÃO PAULO—A set of elite, internationally minded companies managed to navigate turbulence and structural change in Latin American economies over the past decade to achieve 5.2% annual revenue growth, three times higher than the average for the region’s large companies. These companies—the 2018 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) multilatinas—also generated exceptionally high shareholder returns. These are among the findings of new report, Why Multilatinas Hold the Key to Latin America’s Economic Future, which is being released today.

The report identifies 100 large Latin American companies in sectors as diverse as consumer goods, financial services, telecommunications, and infrastructure that have a record of exceptional growth and operations beyond their national borders.  It also outlines the five key factors that are enabling multilatinas to win at home and abroad despite a rapidly shifting business landscape.

“The multilatinas demonstrate that a resilient private sector is one of Latin America’s greatest assets,” said Daniel Azevedo, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “The multilatinas are strong contributors to productivity, investment, innovation, and job creation and will be driving forces in taking Latin America to the next level.”

BCG has been identifying and tracking multilatinas since 2009, when it published its first list of 100 multilatinas—Latin America-based companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue and operations outside their national borders. The 2018 list includes, for the first time, internationally minded financial companies and a group of dynamic technology companies called the technolatinas.

The composition of the 2018 list highlights some of the major trends that have transformed the regional economy since 2009: 

  • A larger presence of consumer companies. The share of multilatinas specializing in consumer goods and services increased from 31% to 44%. The number of commodity companies fell from 12 to 7, largely owing to the downturn in commodity prices.
  • Greater geographical diversity. Although companies from Brazil, Chile, and Mexico still dominate the multilatinas list in 2018, there are more companies from Argentina, Colombia, and Peru than in 2009. Companies from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama also joined the list.
  • Superior value creation. The average total shareholder return—a broad measure of company stock performance—of the 2018 BCG multilatinas increased by 12% per year from 2000 through 2016, far outpacing the 8% average TSR of global companies in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
  • Strong contribution to job creation. Employment by multilatinas expanded by 2.6% annually from 2013 through 2016, well above the regional average for job growth of only 0.3% per year for the same period.

The Key Success Factors

BCG’s analysis of the 100 multilatinas identified several success factors. One is their skill in mergers and acquisitions. The share prices of multilatinas that are “serial acquirers” rose by almost 70% from 2009 through 2017, around ten times higher than for other Latin American frequent buyers. Other key factors are their ability to intimately connect with consumers, manage value chains despite difficult regulatory and fiscal environments, orchestrate innovation networks, and nurture talent.

“While these success factors will remain critical, Latin American companies will also have to adapt to new challenges in a global economy that is being transformed by technology and economic nationalism,” said Jorge Becerra, a BCG senior partner and a coauthor of the report. “But as they have demonstrated over the past decade, the multilatinas have a knack for navigating complexity—and have the power to push Latin America forward.”

A copy of the report can be downloaded

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

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