MEXICO CITY, March 21 (Reuters) - Shares of top Mexican broadcaster Televisa fell on Thursday ahead of an expected vote on a sweeping telecommunications bill that could threaten its market position, while Carlos Slim’s flagship phone company clawed back ground from a recent fall.
Later on Thursday, the lower house of Congress is expected to vote on the bill, which has been hailed as the biggest planned shakeup of the closed telecoms industry in decades. If it is passed, the bill then heads to the Senate.
Televisa shares fell 1.7 percent to 64 pesos in early trading. The stock had risen on Wednesday, helped by speculation that lawmakers could soften proposed regulations affecting the company’s pay TV business. That is now in doubt.
Meanwhile, shares of Slim’s America Movil rose as they continued a recovery from their lowest price in about four years. The stock was hit by concerns that the bill could undermine Slim’s dominance of Mexico’s phone and Internet data markets.
America Movil shares rose 1.52 percent to 12.01 pesos. The stock has lost about a fifth of its value this year due to weak earnings and the threat of tougher regulation.
With the bill it presented on March 11, the government is trying to boost competition in the telecoms sector by increasing foreign investment and giving regulators the power to force companies with a market share above 50 percent to sell assets.
Slim, the world’s richest man, controls about 70 percent of the Mexican mobile phone market and roughly 80 percent of the fixed line business through America Movil. Televisa has about 60 percent of the broadcast market.
Shares of America Movil have fallen by about 12 percent, and Televisa stock is down by about 6 percent since March 8, the last market close before President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled the bill. (Reporting by Michael O‘Boyle; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)