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Written by November 15 2018 0

Medellin-based textile manufacturer and plastics-recycling specialist Enka Colombia announced November 14 that its third quarter (3Q) 2018 net income rose 66%, to COP$1.8 billion (US$564,000), from COP$1.09 billion (US$342,000)in 3Q 2017.

Both domestic and export sales revenues improved by 15% year-on-year, to COP$304 billion (US$95 million), from COP$264 billion (US$82.7 million), while volume (in tons) also rose 5% year-on-year, to 43,780 tons, from 42,660 tons in 3Q 2017.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amoritization (EBITDA) also rose 19% year-on-year, to COP$19.8 billion (US$6.2 million), from COP$16.7 billion (US$5.2 million) in 3Q 2017.

Colombia revenues rose 19% year-on-year, while Brazil sales climbed 12%. USA/Canada sales jumped by 113% and Argentina sales soared 99%. The only sales declines were in Mexico, Peru and Spain, but these were relatively small.

Greater sales volumes and better realized prices in foreign markets were especially virtuous, given the weakening Colombian peso against the U.S. dollar, Enka noted.

The local Colombian market also improved thanks to greater efforts by the Colombian government to thwart below-cost contraband along with good performance in Enka’s recycled-plastics fibers markets.

Exports grew by 12% in pesos and 6% in volume, mainly in the USA and Canada, the company noted. Brazil and Argentina sales also rose despite recent economic difficulties in those nations, Enka added.

The “EKO-Fibras” line – derived from processing of waste plastics – saw a 16% boost in sales (in pesos) and 4% by tonnage, mainly to export markets, according to the company.

Meanwhile, the “EKO-Poliolefinas” recycling-production line is performing as expected in its first few months of operations here, according to Enka.

The export outlook for the fourth quarter 2018 is “in line with our expectations,” given a favorable situation in principal markets and a relatively weak Colombian peso-to-U.S. dollar rate. However, Enka added that it’s taking note of political and economic turbulence in Argentina and Brazil, which could affect future sales there.

As for the possible impact of higher USA tariffs on various Chinese goods, it’s possible that Colombian goods could gain greater market shares in the USA as a result. On the other hand, if China retaliates via devaluation of its currency -- and redirects more exports to South America – then this could negatively impact Colombian producers, Enka warned.

Written by November 15 2018 0

Medellin-based highway construction giant Construcciones El Condor announced November 14 that its third quarter (3Q) 2018 net income for its construction operations more than tripled year-on-year, to COP$53.5 billion (US$16.7 million), from COP$15 billion (US$4.7 million) in 3Q 2017.

The figures for the latest quarter “reflect a high level of project execution,” according to the company. "We note a 52.9% increase in construction services [in latest quarter] compared to the prior-year quarter.”

Likewise, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved along with a “very positive” boost in EBITDA margin, thanks mainly to efficient execution and favorable weather for outdoor construction, according to the company.

The improvement came despite a 7.6% decline this year in national construction activity in Colombia as measured by DANE, the national economic-statistics agency, El Condor noted.

Colombia’s “fourth-generation” (4G) highway construction projects continue to provide credits to construction companies, the company added.

Gross revenues so far this year are up 49%, hitting COP$676 billion (US$212 million), and the company expects similar growth in 4Q 2018.

Nine-month 2018 company-wide EBITDA dipped to COP$126 billion (US$39.5 million), from COP$252 billion (US$79 million), but this was because of a non-recurring, one-time sale of investments last year, El Condor noted.

If only measuring construction activity -- rather than including the one-time asset sale last year -- then nine-months 2018 EBITDA was up 40% year-on-year, the company added.

Similarly, nine-months net income corporate-wide was higher in 2017 that in 2018. But this was the result of the same non-recurring sales-of-investments last year, the company noted.

Written by November 15 2018 0

Medellin-based multinational retail giant Exito on November 14 posted a third quarter (3Q) 2018 net loss of COP$9.6 billion (US$3 million), but nine-months 2018 profits soared by 293%, to COP$119 billion (US$37 million).

Gross revenues as measured in Colombia pesos dipped 8.4% year-on-year in 3Q 2018, to COP$12.7 trillion (US$3.98 billion), but actually improved 9.5% if excluding Colombian peso weakening.

For nine-months 2018, gross sales are off 3.3% measured in Colombian pesos but up 8.2% if excluding the peso-weakness effect.

Sales in the four South American countries where Exito operates showed increases in local currencies: Colombia up 0.6%; Brazil 12.9%; Uruguay 4.7% and Argentina 23.5%, according to Exito.

Recurring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were COP$661 billion (US$207 million) with an EBITDA margin of 5.2%.

In Colombia, nine-months sales hit COP$8.1 trillion (US$2.5 billion), spurred by new retail formats (“Exito Wow” and “Carulla FreshMarket,”) new strategies, growing credit-card sales, income from the “Viva” real-estate venture and growing “e-commerce” sales, the latter of which now account for 3.6% of all Colombian sales, according to Exito.

The gradual improvement in sales here during the latest quarter came despite a 0.7% decline in the Colombian consumer confidence index, which has been weak in seven of the last 12 months, Éxito noted.

In Brazil, 3Q 2018 food sales rose 12.9% year-on-year, thanks to strong growth at “Assaí” stores as well as improvements at the “Extra” and “Pão de Açúcar” outlets, according to Exito.

In Uruguay, sales so-far this year have grown 6.4% in local currency “amid a challenging economic situation in the neighboring countries,” Exito noted.

Operating profit margin in nine-months 2018 in Uruguay was 6.9% compared to 6.7% in the same period of 2017, while recurring EBITDA margin was 8% compared to 7.7% in the same period of 2017.

As for Argentina, the “Libertad” store chain in 3Q 2018 showed a “growth in its sales of 23.5%. Libertad had the best market performance, and according to Nielsen, to August of this year registered 18% of the market share in the territory where it operates. The recurring EBITDA margin in the third quarter was 4.7%, mainly leveraged by the real estate operation in its 15 galleries commercials that maintain an occupation close to 95%,” according to Exito.

At the end of 3Q 2018, Exito had 1,536 stores, of which 549 are in Colombia, 870 in Brazil, 88 in Uruguay and 29 in Argentina.

Written by November 15 2018 0

Medellin-based Grupo Orbis – which includes Pintuco paints, Andercol Chemicals and O-Tek water treatment technologies – on November 14 posted a COP$8 billion (US$2.5 million) net loss for 3Q 2018, compared to a COP$3.2 billion (US$1 million) net profit in 3Q 2017.

For the nine-months of 2018, Orbis posted a net loss of COP$35.5 billion (US$11 million), which was worse than the COP$6.5 billion (US$2 million ) net loss in nine-months 2017.

Revenues also declined year-on-year, to COP$367 billion (US$115 million) in 3Q 2018 versus COP$435 billion (US$136 million) in 3Q 2017, while nine-months 2018 revenues fell to COP$1.02 trillion (US$320 million) versus COP$1.2 trillion (US$376 million) in nine-months 2017.

“This result was impacted by the sales performance of the third quarter, decreasing by 2%,” according to Orbis.

“This situation is partly attributable to the slow performance during 2018 of the consumer, construction and industrial sectors, both in Colombia and in the other countries where we have a presence.

“In relation to the cost behavior, the group continues in its process of operational transformation with the transfer of its main chemical and piping business plants to the city of Cartagena, which has generated a temporary pressure on operating costs. Additionally, there has been a strong price increase in some strategic raw materials, which has temporarily affected the profitability of the businesses.

“To offset this performance, during the quarter adjustments were made in operating expenses, which are reduced by 12.3%. Accumulated [from January] to September 2018, the reduction in expenses is equivalent to 10.5% compared to the same period of 2017.

“Grupo Orbis continues with the goal of reducing its net debt, which in the last 12 months has been reduced 19%, or COP$95.9 billion [US$30 million],” according to the company.

Written by November 15 2018 0

Medellin-based insurance and asset manager Grupo Sura announced November 14 that its third quarter (3Q) 2018 net income fell 10.2% year-on-year, to COP$413 billion (US$139.2 million).

“The decrease is due to the impact of the difference in the rate of exchange [falling Colombian peso versus U.S. dollar],” the company noted.

However,  Suramericana insurance-division profits rose 33.2% year-on-year, while profit for the Sura AM division dipped 2.6%, as a results in differences in the rates of exchange.

Grupo Sura saw a 1.5% dip in assets, to COP$67.9 trillion (US$22.86 billion), while liabilities decreased by 1.4%, to COP$42.2 trillion (US$14.2 billion). Equity dipped 1.6%, ending at COP$25.8 trillion (US$8.68 billion).

“For the third quarter of 2018, we showed a positive operating performance for our subsidiaries, strategic decisions to not participate in some businesses, and external issues such as the volatility of capital markets,” according to the company.

For nine-months 2018, net income is up 0.7%, at COP$1.1 trillion (US$371.9 million), according to the company. The nine-month gain “is the result of a 7.7% increase in net income for Sura Asset Management, to COP$479 billion (US$161.3 million), plus a 0.5% increase for Suramericana, for a total of COP$394.8 billion (US$132.8 million),” as well as income from its partial holdings in Bancolombia and Grupo Nutresa.

Total revenue dipped 4.3%, to COP$14.5 trillion (US$4.48 billion), as a result of a “decision to not participate in pension insurance in Colombia, lower revenue from the investments in the portfolios of the subsidiaries, and the devaluation in Argentina,” according to Sura.

“These factors have been partially offset by higher revenue from commissions for the pension business, and the provision of health services in Colombia.

“Sura Asset Management, our subsidiary expert in pensions, savings, and investment, had a 6.6% increase in revenue from commissions in its mandatory pension business, while the voluntary savings business rose by 15.1% in comparable terms. It had a total of 19.8 million clients, an annual increase of 3.6%, while assets under management (AUM) represent COP$412.8 trillion (US$138.9 billion) and grew 7.5% compared to September 2017.

“In turn, Suramericana, our subsidiary specialized in insurance management, trends and risks, had increase revenue, in comparable terms, from all its segments: general (8.1%), life (13%), and health (20.5%).

“In addition, the rate of retained claims improved by going from 55.5% to 54.3%, and technical results increased to 8.3%, in spite of the decrease in premiums for not participating in retirement insurance in Colombia,” according to the company.

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