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América Móvil, the mobile telecommunications company controlled by the Mexican investor Carlos Slim, on Thursday announced that it had added a record 7.4m subscribers during the second quarter, as it continued its battle across the region with Telefónica of Spain.

América Móvil's net profits reached 7.89bn pesos (about $742m) for the quarter, an increase of 147.5 per cent over the same period last year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 9.9 per cent over the same period, to 11.8bn pesos.

The company has aggressively expanded by acquisition throughout Latin America in the last few years, and reported that its fastest growth had come in Colombia, where it added a net 2.2m new subscribers. It also added 1.9m subscribers in Brazil, 1.7m in Mexico, and 824,000 in Argentina.

However the company said that it was still possible to increase cellular penetration in the region, which currently stands at 42 per cent in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Among the countries where it is hoping for significant expansion is Paraguay, where it agreed to buy the cellular business of Hutchison Telecom earlier this year.

The announcement followed disappointing results from Telefonica's Mexican operations earlier this week, which showed its number of active subscribers dropping by 1.5 per cent during the quarter.

Stephen Graham, Latin American telecommunications analyst with UBS, commented before the results: “If there is any major latent risk to the América Móvil story, it is that Telefonica might some day find competitive traction in Mexico. That day has not arrived.” He added that the second quarter figures suggested that the company's dominance in its home market was “barely threatened”.

The company's results were slightly below a consensus of analysts' forecasts by Infosel, the Mexican financial information service, and were announced after the close of trading in Mexico City. Its shares had moved from 11 to 11.2 pesos during the day. They have gained 65.6 per cent over the last 12 months.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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