* Carlos Slim producing TV content for Colombia
* Leading Latam telecom firm to lay cable link to U.S.
* Company sees 6 pct/yr average rev growth through 2014
* Shares rise 1.28 pct in Mexico, 2.10 pct on Wall Street (Adds background on Slim, financial services; closing quotes)
By Cyntia Barrera Diaz
MEXICO CITY, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Leading Latin American wireless operator America Movil has begun producing programming for Colombian television, appearing to signal a first step into regional media from its owner, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim.
The company is a telecommunications giant in Latin America, but was not known to have ever produced content.
Officials gave few details of the plans at the company's annual investor day in the Mexican capital, but with inhouse shows, America Movil AMX.NAMXL.MX could potentially take on regional giant Televisa TV.NTLVACPO.MX, the world's top Spanish-language content producer.
Adding content production to fixed-line phone, Internet and television services could put Slim in a whole new game that would further expand his vast empire.
Oscar Von Hauske, America Movil’s wireline business director, told some 200 guests at the gathering that penetration of pay-television in Latin America is still very low, meaning the company could tap underserved audiences.
According to information he provided, Argentina and Chile are among the countries with highest pay-TV penetration, with 56 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
America Movil has been rapidly adopting new technologies and services to prevail as the top communications firm from Mexico to Argentina. Just two years ago, it launched satellite pay television in Brazil. It now has 1 million subscribers.
Except for a few missteps in the past, Slim tends to turn into gold any business he touches.
However, some of his companies have been investigated for monopolistic practices in Mexico, where competitors in the cellphone and fixed-line markets often complain about the charges to connect to Slim’s vast network.
In Mexico, the government had yet to allow Slim to offer television services.
STRONG GROWTH AHEAD
In a wide-ranging presentation to investors, company officials forecast ambitious growth across Latin America and beyond for the world’s third-largest cellphone company by number of wireless clients.
“We are open to invest outside Latam; we are open to review alternatives,” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj. “If it makes sense, we are going to do it ... there are few opportunities left in Latin America.”
America Movil shares ended up 1.28 percent on Thursday, rising in part on the news, traders said. America Movil comprises about 25 percent of the IPC index .MXX of leading Mexican companies. Its New York-traded stock added 2.10 percent.
America Movil expects 6 percent average revenue growth per year through 2014, Hajj said.
The company closed the third quarter with 267 million service accounts. Of those subscriptions, 217 were wireless, 28 million were fixed-line, 12.5 million broadband Internet and 9.4 million were paid television.
Given that position, America Movil said it is testing wireless triple play offerings in some Latin America countries.
Company officials said that America Movil also planned to lay a huge undersea cable from the United States to reach Colombia and Brazil in a further expansion of service.
In Mexico, America Movil could start offering financial services next year, giving clients the chance to buy from their phones for example, but details were thin. (Editing by Gary Hill)