2010, Year of Recovery and Consolidation of our Businesses
With the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, it's always worth stopping a minute to reflect on the environment, our strategies, actions, and results.
The crisis unleashed by the Lehman Brothers crash in September 2008 was the biggest in almost a century – not considering the Great Depression, whose consequences lasted almost a decade. The effects of the so-called Great Recession will also last for years to come and we should be prepared.
2010 was no exception, especially during the first six months, when few economists ruled out the possibility of a "double bottom" in the global crisis.
Nevertheless, thanks to timely adjustments, today we can say that 2010 was a year of consolidation and strengthening in the business divisions of Grupo Salinas. Let's take a look.
Grupo Elektra: The company improved its positioning in retailing and financial services thanks to progress in merchandise sales, especially electronics, motorcycles –a segment where we are market leaders -, and computers, among others. The higher revenue, combined with strict cost and expense control, resulted in a double digit increase in Grupo Elektra's EBITDA (or operating cash flow). Grupo Elektra consolidated its presence in eight Latin American countries.
Banco Azteca: The bank surpassed the figure of 10 million deposit accounts in Mexico, a country that is home to 25 million families. The consolidated balance sheet of deposits was close to P$50 billion, a figure that is double that of our credit portfolio. The quality of the Banco Azteca portfolio is outstanding when compared to that of its competition.
TV Azteca: The company achieved a 40% daily commercial audience share thanks to excellent programming, while its U.S. subsidiary, Azteca America, posted important increases in sales, expanding EBITDA. Proyecto 40 was consolidated as an important option for news and cultural programming in Mexico.
Grupo Iusacell: The company installed its high-speed GSM/HSPA+ network throughout the country, which complements its CDMA network, one of the most modern in Latin America. Thanks to this infrastructure, thousands of people have access to the state-of-the-art data and voice transmission at very competitive prices. The company consolidated its position as one of the principal providers of high-speed wireless Internet access.
Grupo Salinas is more than our business divisions. Fundación Azteca puts into practice one of our key values, generosity.
What did we do in 2010? A lot, for example.
Through the Limpiemos Nuestro México (Let's Clean Up Our Mexico) campaign, more than two million people responded to our call, and collected 8,500 tons of garbage from our streets, parks, and city squares. Another campaign, the Juguetón toy drive, collected more than 15 million toys that were delivered to the same number of children from low-income families.
Through six Movimiento Azteca awareness and fundraising campaigns, more than 60,000 people directly benefitted with food, medical attention, and social services. One the most important of these campaigns involved the delivery of more than 100 ambulances to the Mexican Red Cross.
We also promoted the Esperanza Azteca Musical Program (PROMESA), in which 5,000 children participated in 23 orchestras in 18 states. Our goal is to encourage participative community values through music. The Orquesta Nacional Esperanza Azteca brought together the best of the 23 orchestras with an exceptional recital in the Auditorio Nacional.
We continue supporting Plantel Azteca, which provides excellence in junior high and high school education to more than 2,300 youths from low-income families.
We strengthened the Caminos de la Libertad freedom project, which seeks to create awareness about this fundamental human right.
Finally, we collaborated in the construction of four new Rural Cities, which will benefit more than 10,000 people living in isolated, impoverished communities.
The efforts of Fundación Azteca have been extended to Peru, Guatemala, and the United States, through Fundación Azteca America.
In our business ventures and social action projects, we have even more ambitious projects for 2011.
We have more than 100 years of generating value in the communities where we operate. 2011 will be no exception.