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Carlos Slim Helú

Slim Helú, Carlos (cärˈlōs slēm hēlōˈ) [key], 1940–, Mexican business executive. The son of a Lebanese Maronite immigrant who became a successful merchant and real-estate investor, Slim was trained as a civil engineer (grad. 1960). In the 1960s he began acquiring struggling Mexican companies and transforming them into lean, modernized, and profitable businesses, winning a reputation as a shrewd investor. In 1990 the well-connected Slim acquired Telmex, the government telephone company, and was then awarded the sole national cellular telephone license, which was used to establish América Móvil. He has since also become notorious for anticompetitive maneuvers to preserve his lucrative dominance of Mexico's telecommunications industry.

Slim's other holdings include Internet-related businesses and banks; energy, construction, and mining companies; insurance and real estate firms; retail chain stores; restaurants; and plants making cigarettes, auto parts, and many other products. Since 2000 an increasing number of his investments have in other Latin American countries and the United States. Slim, whose fortune was estimated in 2007 at $59 billion (equivalent to almost 7% of Mexico's annual economic output), is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. His financial success has made him the most visible example of the concentration of Mexico's economic wealth in the hands of a relative few. He has established several charitable foundations; one underwrites Mexico City's Soumaya Museum, which contains art and other notable items owned by Slim.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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