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International News From the Field: Mexico, Brazil, and Latin America

High interest rates, inflation, and difficulty are on the horizon. Is it holding back investments and the economic growth of the Latin American market? That’s a no. The region seems busier than ever. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
Feb 13, 2023

Brazil

For more information, contact Achilles Arbex (aarbex@AMTonline.org).

  • Japanese floating equipment maker Modec is looking to win major platform contracts in Brazil as it aims to grow in the country’s offshore oil boom. The company already owns 12 platforms and is currently constructing three new ones, including one recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network as state-of-the-art by Industry 4.0 standards.

  • Tantal do Brasil will expand the operations of the carbide factory in Sao Jose dos Pinhais, Parana. The company is in advanced negotiations to acquire two presses, one automatic and the other isostatic, which will increase production capacity of special blanks. Today, Tantal supplies carbide blanks in different classes for stamping and dies (for screws, nuts, and fastening systems in general) and specific products for the mining and cellulose market.

  • Akaer, a technology company from Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, was the winner of two public bids of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MCTI) and the Financier of Studies and Projects (Finep) for innovation projects in aeronautical technologies. The resources provided by MCTI and Finep for the first bid is $24 million, which may still be supplemented due to an increase in budgetary and financial resources. In the second bid, the expected investment is $5 million.

  • Marelli, one of the world’s leading auto parts manufacturers, inaugurated the Interior Experience Division factory last week in the production complex in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo. Investments of around $30 million are being made in state-of-the-art technology and equipment in automated painting systems and injection machines in addition to traceability equipment for production control.

  • Horsch, a German equipment producer for soil preparation, planting, sowing, spraying, hybrid agriculture, logistics, and intelligence, keeps growing and is preparing to expand its operations in Brazil. In 2022, the company invested $40 million in the construction of its first factory in South America, which proved to be a great laboratory for testing adaptability capacity with more speed and precision to meet the productive needs of various Brazilian cultures and regions. The company produces machines using advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which can quickly learn and solve problems during field operations.

  • The machinery and equipment industry plans to invest $2.5 billion in 2023, according to a survey conducted by Abimaq (Brazilian Association of Machinery and Equipment Industry). The resources will be used for technological modernization, capacity expansion, and the replacement of depreciated machines. The largest volume should be invested in modernization: 37.6%. Next comes the increase in industrial capacity, with 31.7%, and the replacement of depreciated machines, with 27%.

Argentina

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org).

  • Grupo Mirgor and Agro y Tec announce plans to produce state-of-the-art consumer electronics equipment at the Escobar plant in Buenos Aires. A first batch of 140,000 cell phones made in Argentina will be exported to a neighboring country (Paraguay) as part of an effective growth plan.

  • In recent weeks, two leading global truck and bus manufacturers announced significant investments in Argentina to develop several of their models locally. Iveco’s announcement outlined its broader plan to invest $200 million to boost the company’s growth in Latin America, from developing new products such as the EURO VI line and renewing the CNG Tector truck, to continue increasing the supply of products in the alternative fuels sector. The second company, Mercedes-Benz, announced it will invest $20 million to purchase a property and build a logistics center for auto parts and spare parts.

Chile

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org).

  • After receiving all the legal authorizations, including the approved Environmental Qualification Resolution and a favorable Indigenous consultation, Minera Salar Blanco announced the 2023 start of lithium production in Proyecto Blanco, located in the northwest of Copiapo, in Chile. Investments are worth $700 million.

  • ENGIE Energia Chile announced an agreement with Sungrow Power Supply for the supply and acquisition of a battery energy storage system for the BESS COYA project. Investments are worth $650 million.

Mexico

For more information, contact Carlos Mortera (cmortera@AMTonline.org).

  • Lennox International announced a $150-million investment to expand its production in the state of Coahuila. Lennox supplies the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration markets.

  • Electric car manufacturer Tesla could announce the construction of a Gigafactory in the state of Nuevo Leon in the coming days, with a projected initial investment of up to $1 billion. This Gigafactory, planned on Monterrey's outskirts, would start by making components for current Tesla models, according to a source cited by Reforma, and would later produce a new model at lower cost than other plants.

  • General Motors will produce only electric cars at its complex in the city of Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila. It plans to launch more than 30 electric vehicles worldwide from 2022 to 2025.

  • Chinese company Noah Itech began construction on its plant in the Vynmsa Industrial Park with an investment of $100 million and will create 100 highly specialized next-generation jobs in Nuevo Leon to produce automation equipment for OEMs such as Tesla and General Motors; for technology brands like Google, Facebook; and companies dedicated to electromobility, such as Quanta Computer Mexico.

  • Mexico closed 2022 with a record in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the auto parts industry, around $4 billion, marking a growth of more than 10% compared to the previous year and will be a precursor to the specialization of micro, small, and medium-sized Mexican companies.

  • With capital investments of $2.3 billion, Guanajuato closed 2022 with 26 new investment projects. The new investments and expansions that took place in 2022 are in the following sectors: automotive-automotive parts, new technologies, agri-food, construction, plastics, general industry, metal-mechanics, services, textile-clothing, and leather-shoes-supply.

  • In 2022, the state of Nuevo Leon reported positive numbers regarding FDI and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As of October 2022, the state confirmed 101 investments: 53 new investments and 48 expansions of companies already operating in the state, representing a total of $4.3 billion. Most companies were from the manufacturing, automotive, logistics, furniture, and information technology sectors. In terms of origin, they were mainly from the United States (47 projects), China (22), South Korea (6), Germany (4), and Denmark (3).

  • BMW Group decided to open a plant to produce electric cars in San Luis Potosi, which will mean an investment of around $865 million. The BMW San Luis Potosi plant intends to produce fully electric cars, although the decision was pending.

  • Aptiv started operations of a third manufacturing plant in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, thus becoming the company’s sixth manufacturing center. The plant is expected to produce an annual average of 2.47 million parts for the North American market, which will be assembled into at least 1.10 million highly electrified vehicles. Aptiv’s plants will manufacture low-voltage harnesses for electric cars.

  • Navistar announced plans to invest $120 million in the next three years to expand its plant and painting capabilities in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

  • Swedish company SKF Group announced an investment of $68 million in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, to open a new plant dedicated to manufacturing transmissions for electric vehicles.

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Author
Carlos Mortera
Senior Director - Latin America
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