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AXTEL

MEXICO - Telecoms & IT

Armando de la Peña

CEO, Axtel

Bio

Armando de la Peña studied industrial and systems engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM). He has participated in several executive programs at Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, and IPADE, among others. Since 2022, he has been CEO of Axtel, previously serving as chief at Sigma Foodservice. He has over 32 years of experience, 20 of them in administrative positions at ALFA Corporate.

"We plan to expand to six more cities, making 76 in total."
Axtel’s growth strategy includes reorganizing itself along specialized business lines, leveraging its 25 years of experience in the market, and opening in more cities.
Why did the Alfa Group decide to divest Axtel, and what advantages does this bring to the company’s business model?

The incorporation plan is a strategy that Alfa has implemented for the last five years to create greater value for its shareholders. We started our divestment strategy with Nemak a few years ago, Axtel was spun off in 2022, and Alpek is next in line. We eventually plan to end up with four independent groups. This happened at the right time for Axtel because it strengthens our autonomy and resource-making decisions, which are necessary for our further growth. We want to refocus Axtel on specific types of services and can make better decisions on investments that have the greatest potential for us. Even though the decision-making process, team, and shareholders are all similar, Axtel now has greater autonomy.

What strategies are you employing to achieve your goals, such as 10% growth?

The first change is that we are moving away from a “push” strategy of delivering technological innovations to the market to a “pull” strategy to understand clients’ needs and problems, and from there, work on solutions, products, and services. The other approach is focusing the company on industrial sectors with the greatest growth potential for Axtel and the telecommunications industry. We will develop solutions that best support and automate our clients’ processes. We want to present solutions that truly change profitability and speed. The other strategy has to do with organizing the company along business lines, which means being organized by type of solution. We have connectivity, cybersecurity, IT, and mobility, and we are moving toward our goals through these four specialized, autonomous business lines.

What added value does Axtel offer the Mexican market?

Our added value include the specialization of our personnel, the partners we work with, and our more than 25 years of experience in the Mexican market. Most importantly, the people make the difference, with the right culture and knowledge. We are focused on having an empowered and motivated team. Technology is present everywhere and is becoming increasingly accessible, so the difference lies in the training and motivation of the personnel. We encourage leadership by changing processes, policies, and criteria so people can develop, grow, and make decisions.

What are your growth predictions for the year?

We plan to expand to six more cities, making 76 in total. We will start with those cities where we already have clients and businesses are growing. The driver is to ensure greater connectivity for clients’ accessibility. We have a CAPEX of USD70 million per year as part of our support offerings. Our entire DNA has to do with businesses and commerce. We have approved a major investment to connect industrial parks as a result of the nearshoring effect. Our second strategy is to boost our services portfolio with current clients in the business lines including cybersecurity, telecommunications, IT, and mobility. Some clients tend to categorize us as specializing in an area; however, we aim to specialize in all areas. We are also growing in terms of our coverage. We are growing by around 2,500km of fiber optic per year, which gives us the infrastructure and services that the country will require for nearshoring. We are also betting heavily on cybersecurity. Mexico is at an incipient stage when it comes to cybersecurity, similar to other countries in Latin America. The greater the connectivity, the more risks there are. We have a complete portfolio and the right team to help people protect themselves. We have all levels including basic, advanced, and preventive, and these services can be tailor-made for clients. Cybersecurity is considered an expense, even though it should be considered as insurance. It is a necessary investment that gives companies a competitive advantage and protects them. It is vital to make clients aware of the importance of cybersecurity regardless of their size.

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