EPM Full-Year 2016 Profits Jump 85% Year-on-Year
Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) – now a multinational electric power and utilities giant – reported March 17 that its full-year 2016 profits rose 85% year-on-year, to COP$1.86 trillion (US$641 million).
Gross revenues rose 14%, to COP$15.8 trillion (US$5.4 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 12%, to COP$4 trillion (US$1.38 billion).
Payments to its sole shareholder – the city of Medellin – rose to COP$817 billion (US$282 million), while infrastructure investments hit COP$3.87 trillion (US$1.3 billion), mainly for its 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam project in Antioquia, now two-thirds complete, according to the company. EPM projects that its payment to the city of Medellin is likely to hit COP$1 trillion (US$345 million) for the 2017 operating year.
The improved results came despite the “El Niño” drought in Colombia in early 2016 (which reduced water flow to hydroelectric plants) as well as a four-months-long outage at its Guatape hydroelectric plant in Antioquia, which had suffered a fire that destroyed several cables. However, insurance covered the losses from the Guatape incident, hence lessening the financial impact on 2016 income.
EPM now serves 22 million customers in Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, México and Panamá, producing and delivering electric power, water, sanitation, sewage treatment and natural gas for homes, offices, factories and vehicles.
EPM director-general Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta added that the year 2016 brought “great challenges for our group [but] we achieved excellent results, as evidenced by our projects and our financial figures.” Londoño de la Cuesta added that EPM has maintained a favorable investment-grade debt rating of “BBB+.”
Meanwhile, in Antioquia alone, EPM added another 35,922 sewer hookups last year, as well as 67,472 more customers for natural gas service, plus another 60,127 new customers for electric power service, according to the company.
EPM’s tiered tariff structure – where homes and businesses in higher-income neighborhoods subsidize customers in poorer neighborhoods -- enabled 15,355 more low-income families to obtain water, power and gas services last year, Londoño de la Cuesta noted.
EPM also continues to lead all of Colombia in offering prepaid utility services, which encourages more-efficient and more-economical use of water, power and gas, he noted.
During 2016, EPM added 25,400 more customers to its prepaid energy services and another 8,924 to its prepaid water services. In addition, a new “Precarga” service now enables EPM clients to buy prepaid power and water service via cell-phone apps.
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