2015 All-Latin America Research Team: Technology, Media & Telecommunications, No. 1: Maurício Fernandes, Rodrigo Villanueva & team
Maurício Fernandes, Rodrigo Villanueva & teamBank of America Merrill LynchFirst-place appearances: 9
Total appearances: 26
Team debut: 1994Reclaiming the top position it held from 2009 through 2012, Bank of America Merrill Lynch rises from third place with a three-person team under the guidance of Maurício Fernandes and Rodrigo Villanueva. These analysts provide “good insights on the multiple events that have had an impact on Latin American media and telecommunications stocks,” comments one portfolio manager who is equally impressed with their “industry knowledge and access to the major players and regulators in the sector.” Investors also cheer their reporting on Mexico-based América Móvil, or AMX, which is one of the region’s leading wireless services providers. “In Mexico we expect AMX to continue to perform relatively well despite the implementation of regulatory measures against it given its dominant status,” says Fernandes, 41. “We project AMX’s Mexican [earnings] to touch bottom in 2015 and to start growing again in 2016 as the [mobile termination rates] that AMX pays to its competitors continue to decline. We also expect AMX shareholders to benefit from the spin-off of its wireless towers in Mexico, Telesites.” América Móvil’s stock was trading at 16.23 pesos in mid-July, and the squad predicts a rise to 18.50 pesos. More broadly, he advises, the Latin American telecoms market is going through significant changes in the face of such trends as consumers’ increasing use of mobile devices for data- rather than voice-related services. That shift has already occurred outside the region, notes Fernandes, including in the U.S., where unlimited voice minutes and pricey data plans are now the standard offering. Examples of additional catalysts transforming the industry are “the implementation of the telco reform in Mexico; the consolidation of the Brazilian telco market, with the potential to keep consolidating; AT&T reentering Latin America through the acquisition of DirecTV, Iusacell and Nextel Mexico; and the expansion of Entel Chile to Peru through the acquisition of Nextel del Perú, among others,” Fernandes explains. The São Paulo–based researcher debuted on this roster in 2007. Villanueva, who works out of Mexico City, first appeared six years later. The 36-year-old has been covering regional TMT names for BofA Merrill since August 2008 and previously worked as an equity analyst at Citi. He holds a BA in business from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and an MSc in project analysis, finance and investment from England’s University of York.