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Grupo Salinas Makes Strong Advances in 2012
—Grupo Elektra surpasses 6,000 points of sale in 9 countries, after the acquisition of Advance America—

MEXICO CITY, Jan. 2, 2013, /PRNewswire/ -- Grupo Salinas (www.gruposalinas.com), a group of dynamic, fast-growing and technologically advanced companies deeply committed to the modernization of the countries in which they operate —founded by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo Salinas (www.ricardosalinas.com) —announced today that 2012 was a year of great strategic advances and significant operational achievements by its companies.

Grupo Elektra (www.grupoelektra.com.mx) —Latin America's leading financial services company and specialty retailer—almost doubled its distribution network, reaching more than 6,000 points of sale in 9 countries, through organic growth and the acquisition of Advance America (www.advanceamerica.net), the largest non-bank provider of cash advance services in the United States.  The increased distribution network strengthened the company's already close relationship to its target market, which is an important  competitive advantage.

The purchase of Advance America added more than 2,400 points of sale in 29 states in the US. The company grants close to 10 million short term loans yearly to a market segment with strong dynamism, building solid brand awareness in the US.  This acquisition additionally widens and diversifies the consolidated income of Grupo Elektra, driving its solid growth perspectives.

With more than 16 million active credit accounts and more than 15 million deposit accounts, Banco Azteca (www.bancoazteca.com.mx) a subsidiary of Grupo Elektra, consolidated itself as the largest bank with a focus on the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Mexico —a country with approximately 25 million households.  The Bank generated competitive loans, increased the wellbeing of its clients, and expanded the patrimony of families that were unattended by traditional financial institutions.

Punto Casa de Bolsa —Punto Brokerage— (www.puntocasadebolsa.com), started operations with the highest quality and efficiency in client services standards in 2012, complementing the solid operations of Grupo Elektra and reaffirming its commitment with the development of the Mexican financial system, and the strengthening of overall economy.

In the media sector, Azteca (www.azteca.com) —one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming in the world— inaugurated its new Azteca Novelas soundstages, the most modern in Latin America. The seven forums, measuring over 5,000 m2 further boosted the company's capacity for stellar productions, which continue to attract large audiences and effectively bring advertisers' brands to target markets.  On the other hand, Proyecto 40 (www.proyecto40.com), increased its coverage in Mexico through digital transmission, and offered programming with informational, opinion, investigation, and debate segments, with the most remarkable voices in Mexico on culture, society, economy, and politics; contributing to a plural and better informed country.

In the telecommunications industry, Azteca builds and will operate the most important fiber optics network in Latin America, with a coverage of close to 80% of the Colombian territory, in 753 municipalities. With the operation of the network, Azteca will have even more dynamic growth, as well as diversification, and income strengthening; in addition to the solid performance of the broadcast television business.

Also in the telecommunications sector, Grupo Iusacell (www.iusacell.com) —a cellular phone operator that provides a wide range of services and multimedia applications— continued driving world class communication alternatives to millions of users in Mexico, while Totalmovie (www.totalmovie.com) —a leading company in the OTT (Over the Top) video streaming industry— has presence in 40 countries and will offer the first OTT and live television service over the Internet in the world.

The combined income of the companies of the Group was remarkable, and represented close to 1% of Mexican gross domestic product in 2012. The companies of the group directly employed close to 90,000 people in 10 countries in the Americas.

In addition to generating social value through solid business operations, Grupo Salinas continued its activities of direct social action; it developed important initiatives through Fundacion Azteca (www.fundacionazteca.org), which celebrated its 15th anniversary. Some of those initiatives are Limpiemos Nuestro Mexico (www.limpiemosnuestromexico.org) which, in its fourth edition, united 6,200,000 volunteers to collect and separate 30,500 tons of garbage, creating consciousness regarding  the need to care for the environment; through Esperanza Azteca (www.esperanzaazteca.com.mx), in only three years it integrated a network of 54 youth orchestras and choirs —with the participation of 12,000 underprivileged children— and  the goal of promoting important values and developing better human beings through music.  

Jugueton (www.azteca.com/jugueton) collected more than 16 million toys that generated the smiles of children. Six Movimientos Azteca —televised awareness and fundraising campaigns that encourage social and environmental co responsibility— took place. On the other hand, Plantel Azteca provided free excellent junior high and technical high school to more than 2,400 youngsters with outstanding academic performance. The efforts of Fundacion Azteca do not only improve the wellbeing of Mexican families, they also reach the US, Peru, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The companies of the Group seek economic development while protecting the environment; this happens through the efficient use of resources.

The Group saved 135 thousand MWh or 14% of its energy consumption. This savings reduced the release of more than 90,000 tons of CO2 into the environment, an amount that would require a forest of 449,000 trees to be offset; the energy reduction is equivalent to the consumption of 81,500 households, saving 138,000 barrels of oil.

Through these advances, Grupo Salinas was awarded first place in the XVI National Electric Energy Savings Award.

Grupo Salinas also promoted the activities of Kybernus (www.kybernus.org) —an organization focused on developing political and social leadership; with values and commitment. The program has currently 350 participants and has presence in 12 states in Mexico; it seeks to continue expanding its reach to generate a better future.

Caminos de la Libertad (www.camionosdelalibertad.com), which seeks reflection on the concept on freedom, was also supported; together with the Aspen Institute there was analysis on the freedom to communicate, to protect the free flow of ideas and encourage contexts where freedom and communication prosper.  Additionally, the Group sponsored La Ciudad de las Ideas (www.ciudaddelasideas.com), which brought together brilliant minds in the city of Puebla to present avant-garde ideas to thousands of spectators.

Grupo Salinas also supported Fomento Cultural Grupo Salinas (www.fomentoculturalgruposalinas.com.mx), which diffuses art and culture through books, expositions and the promotion of handcrafts. It organized the exhibitions "Trip into the architectural patrimony of Mexico. The view of Peabody, Kahlo, and Vazquez," "Mexico in silver: five centuries of shared identity" and also organized the "Sixth National Silver Award," as well as publishing the books "Esperanza Azteca Symphonic Orchestra in La Constancia Mexicana" and  "Memoirs of the Sixth Essay Contest of Caminos de la Libertad."

Grupo Salinas believes that in addition to generating wealth, its companies are a medium to achieve social change and create better living conditions. The Group has over a 100 years of adding value to the communities in which it operates, and looks forward to firm advances in 2013.

Grupo Salinas Profile.

Grupo Salinas (www.gruposalinas.com) is a group of dynamic, fast growing, and technologically advanced companies focused on creating shareholder value, building the middle class, and improving society through excellence. Created by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo B. Salinas (www.ricardosalinas.com), Grupo Salinas operates as a management development and decision forum for the top leaders of member companies. These companies include: Azteca (www.tvazteca.com.mx ; www.irtvazteca.com) Azteca America (www.aztecaamerica.com), Grupo Elektra (www.grupoelektra.com.mx), Banco Azteca (www.bancoazteca.com.mx), Advance America (www.advanceamerica.net),  Afore Azteca (www.aforeazteca.com.mx), Seguros Azteca (www.segurosazteca.com.mx) and Grupo Iusacell (www.iusacell.com). Each of the Grupo Salinas companies operates independently, with its own management, board of directors and shareholders. Grupo Salinas has no equity holdings.

Contact: Daniel McCosh; +011-(5255)1720-0059; dmccosh@gruposalinas.com.mx

SOURCE Grupo Salinas

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