Walmart Is Being Sued for Allegedly Bribing the Mexican Government

09/22/16 Fortune

WalmartWalmart must face a class-action lawsuit accusing the world’s largest retailer of defrauding shareholders by concealing suspected bribery to help it expand faster in Mexico, a U.S. judge said.

In a decision on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville, Arkansas rejected Walmart’s contention that a Michigan pension fund had no standing to lead the case because it had not suffered losses on the retailer’s stock.

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Wal-Mart de Mexico Profit Falls

07/26/16 The Wall Street Journal

WalmartMEXICO CITY— Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, Mexico’s biggest retailer, said Tuesday its net profit fell in the second quarter, while sales and operating profits saw double-digit increases from a year earlier.

The unit of Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported net profit of 6.19 billion Mexican pesos ($330 million) in the April-June quarter, compared with 6.81 billion pesos a year earlier. Excluding discontinued operations, net profit was up 14.5%.

Sales rose 11.5% from a year before to 127.55 billion pesos, helped by strong consumption in Mexico where the company runs 2,362 stores, and gains in Central America where it has 709 stores.

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Western Union partners with Walmart in Mexico

Business Insider 07/07/16 

WalmartThrough a partnership with Walmart de Mexico y Centroamérica, Western Union will add 1,266 Walmart-owned stores across Mexico to its pickup locations, according to Finextra. The partnership, which expands upon the firm’s 13,600 agent locations in Mexico, will begin servicing customers in the third quarter.

Western Union has recently expanded in Mexico, which is a critical market.

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Mexico’s Walmex considers selling restaurant business

Photo by Flikr user elmadaReuters, 6/14/2013

Wal-Mart de Mexico, Mexico’s largest retailer, surprised analysts on Friday by saying it may sell its restaurant unit, including the popular Vips chain, after receiving interest from potential buyers. Walmex, which is controlled by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has reported weak same-store sales recently, but is not in need of cash, analysts said.

“Part of the reason is that there have been third parties in the past who have expressed interest (in the restaurants),” Walmex spokesman Antonio Ocaranza told a local radio station. “As a responsible company, we should respond to what may be of interest to our shareholders,” he added. The group of 364 restaurants, which accounts for only a fraction of Walmex’s profits, may fetch between $600 million and $700 million, estimated one analyst who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

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Mexico’s Robust Wind Energy Prospects Ruffle Nearby Villages

windmillNational Geographic, 2/7/2013

Largely thanks to Oaxaca’s unique geography, Mexico’s wind power capacity expanded to 1,350 megawatts in 2012, according to reports from a national wind industry conference in Mexico City last month, marking nearly a 140 percent expansion in capacity in a single year. Stands of the turbines now fill Oaxacan horizons, with more planned as developers pour millions of dollars into wind farms. While bringing development to the isolated area, the turbines have disrupted pastoral lifestyles and divided villages over leasing fees and other benefits promised to local communities.

The projects have arisen with strong support from Mexico’s central government. Before leaving office in December, Calderón was seen as an active proponent of wind power. The projects also have the participation of well-known Mexican companies, including cement maker Cemex and retailer Walmart de Mexico.

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Walmart scales back Mexico plans

Financial Times, 6/21/12

Photo by Flikr user elmadaWalmart Mexico said on Wednesday that it expected to open 325 to 335 new stores  this year, a reduction from plans announced in February to open 410 to 436. It  said total investment this year would be cut to 17.5bn pesos from 19.7bn pesos.

Without referring to the bribery allegations, it said: “The revision to the  expansion programme is primarily due to additional steps the company is adding  to its real estate process that extends the average time required to open a  store.”

According to allegations in the New York Times in April, Walmart  paid bribes to secure new store permits in Mexico and then hushed up the  practice more than six years ago. Last year Mexico made up 6.5 per cent of its  total sales.

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Op-ed: The Sun, the Moon and Walmart

The New York Times, Homero Aridjis, 5/1/12

A CHILD in Mexico soon learns that corruption is a way of life, and that to get ahead in school, work and politics, “El que no transa, no avanza” – loosely, “You’re not going anywhere if you don’t cheat.”

When I was in junior high school, my history teacher sold us lottery tickets, promising that the more we bought, the higher our grades would be. The winning number, he said, would coincide with the National Lottery winner. I happened to buy that number and received the highest grade, but because he kept the tickets, I never got the money.

Years later, as president of an environmental activist organization called the Group of 100, I was offered visits to Las Vegas (chips provided), cars (drivers included), cash and even prostitutes in exchange for staying silent. But my most uncomfortable experience was in 1988, when I met with the secretary of Fisheries to protest the killing of dolphins by tuna fishers. He asked me, “What’s your problem?” “I don’t have any problems,” I replied. “How can I help you?” “Make the tuna fleet stop killing dolphins.” He reached for his checkbook. “Let’s talk money, how much do you want?”

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