Sunday, May 28, 2017

Thanks to the Colombian government’s recent tax reform law (see Medellin Herald on December 29, 2016), Wall Street bond rater Fitch has just decided to upgrade Colombia’s debt-risk outlook to “stable,” up from its former “negative” rating.


Medellin and the surrounding Antioquia department are likely to see 3.3% growth this year in gross domestic product (“PIB” in Spanish initials), according to the latest forecast by the Camara de Comercio de Medellin para Antioquia (CCM), the local chamber of commerce.


Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI) announced March 9 the start of construction on the “Vias del Nus” highway project linking Medellin suburbs northward to major Atlantic ports including Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.

The COP$1.1 trillion (US$366 million) project -- also known as “Vinus”-- is financed privately, with Colombia’s Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) having arranged loans from investor-partners including International Finance Corporation, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporatión and Colombia’s Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito Público (see Medellin Herald on January 25, 2017).

Scheduled for completion by 2021, the “Vinus” highway system would run 157.4 kilometers and would enable freight and passenger vehicles to travel at speeds averaging 80 kilometers per hour -- slashing travel time between Medellín and Cartagena to 14 hours, down from 24 hours today, according to ANI.

When complete, “Vinus” will connect to Puerto Valdivia, linking with the “Rio Magdalena 2” and “Conexión Norte” highways, ANI noted.

“This project will push forward development and progress in Antioquia and in the entire country, given that it will be part of the highway connection to the Middle Magdalena region, the northeast of Antioquia and the new highway corridor to [the Atlantic ports of] Coveñas and Cartagena,” added ANI president Luis Fernando Andrade.

The first phase of construction involves rehabilitation of 35.6 kilometers of highway between Cisneros and Alto Dolores. Then -- over the next four years -- 24.3 kilometers of four-lane, divided highway between Pradera and Porcesito will be built. The "Vinus" project also includes new, twin tunnels (each of 4.1 kilometers) at the La Quiebra pass, plus a new link to Cisneros, plus 2.7 kilometers of a third lane of highway between San José del Nus and Alto Dolores.

By 2021, the “Vinus” project will form part of 97.5 kilometers of four-lane divided highway including the section between the Medellin suburb of Bello and Hatillo, ANI noted.


Medellin-based construction giant Conconcreto announced March 2 that its full-year 2016 consolidated earnings rose 8% year-on-year, to COP$103 billion (US$34.6 million), while consolidated revenues rose to COP$1.47 trillion (US$494 million).


U.S.-based global hotel magnate Hilton and local builder Constructora Colpatria jointly announced February 28 that they’ve signed a franchise deal to build and open a 25-story, 206-room “Hilton Medellin” luxury hotel on Avenida Las Palmas in second-quarter 2019.


Thanks to a favorable turnaround in fourth quarter (4Q) 2016, Medellin-based multinational supermarket giant Grupo Exito posted a full-year 2016 net profit of COP$43.5 billion (US$14.9 million).


Medellin-based industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos announced February 28 that its full-year 2016 net profit jumped 75% year-on-year, to COP$1.1 trillion (US$377 million), while company president Jorge Mario Velásquez just nabbed the prestigious “empresario of the year” award from Colombian business newspaper La Republica.


Medellin-based electric power, road concessions and telecom giant ISA announced February 28 that it enjoyed its best-ever financial year in 2016, with net income hitting COP$2.1 trillion (US$718 million) when including the recent valuation upgrade to its Brazilian power distribution subsidiary.


Medellin-based insurance and finance giant Grupo Sura announced February 27 that its full-year 2016 net income grew 26.3% year-on-year, to COP$1.7 trillion (US$556.3 million).


The Metropolitan Police for Medellin and the Valley of Aburrá announced February 27 that alias “Marulo” – one of four accused killers of two foreign visitors to Medellin last year -- has just voluntarily surrendered, following police investigations and citizen information.


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SILLETEROS PARADE 2016 by JOHN AND DONNA STORMZAND (click to enlarge)

MEDELLÍN PHOTOS by Gabriel Buitrago (click to enlarge)

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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

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