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Companies 157

Written by July 18 2018 0

Tango fanaticism in Medellin is perhaps second only to Buenos Aires -- and only partly because the world’s most famous tango singer Carlos Gardel tragically died in a plane accident here on June 24, 1935.

Since then, numerous tango clubs have sprung-up around Medellin, eventually prompting the city to organize the popular, annual Medellin Tango Festivals each June.

These events and venues draw thousands of national and international spectators and dozens of internationally famous tango stars (see "Medellin’s Annual Tango Festival Shines This Month," Medellin Herald, June 15, 2016, and "Tango in Medellin Continues to Thrive; Salon Malaga, Patio del Tango Local Favorites,” Medellin Herald, August 31, 2016).

This fame continues to grow in unexpected ways, as evidenced by a July 18, 2018 report in Portafolio, one of Colombia’s two major national business newspapers.

That report recounts the founding and growth of Medellin-based shoe-maker D’Raso, which specializes in shoes for tango, flamenco, jazz, salsa and ballet -- for customers in cities as far-flung as Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, New York, Montreal and Melbourne, where the company has specialist sales representatives.

According to the company, its hand-made shoes employ “exclusive designs evolved from quality and functionality,” tailor-made for each dancer.

“In our D’Raso shoes it is essential that all seams are resistant and that all its parts are reinforced, to ensure that the shoes between jumps and movements absorb shock and energy without breaking, of course, without losing the comfort and flexibility that our brand offers," according to the company.

“Our shoes make a difference by being specially designed to dance. Softness, flexibility, comfort and light weight allow you to more easily perform your pivot movements, turns, rotations, insteps, jumps among other movements.”

The family-owned company first ventured into footwear in 1962. But a succeeding generation --- led by current owner Robiro Ocampo (himself a tango dancer) – spotted an international market for specialist dancing shoes.

“The main characteristic of a D'Raso shoe is that it should be comfortable and should be adjusted to the foot as if it were a glove,” according to the company.

“When a shoe is not adjusted to the foot, this forces the dancer to make an extra effort to maintain posture while making turns or fast movements. We know how important it is for you to be comfortable when it comes to dancing, so our team is committed to do our best to meet your expectations, providing a product of excellent quality,” according to the company.

Written by July 18 2018 0

Medellin-based motorcycle assembler/wholesaler Auteco announced July 10 that it just opened a massive, 9,125-square-meters parts-distribution center in the neighboring suburb of Rionegro, Antioquia.

Auteco – born in Medellin in 1941 – currently builds and markets major motorcycle brands for all of Colombia, including Kawasaki, Bajaj, Kymco, KTM, and Stärker, the latter an electric-powered, zero-emissions motorcycle. The distribution center not only will handle parts distribution for those brands, but also for other major motorcycle brands including Victory.

The company also is a major supporter of  Medellin’s pioneering bilingual-education program for underprivileged children (see “Medellin’s Fundacion Marina Orth Seeks Volunteer English Teachers, Mentors, Donors,” February 20, 2017, Medellin Herald).

The new distribution center employs 218 workers and will handle 65,000 different parts and accessories, according to the company. The center also includes a novel “extended warehouse management” computerized logistics system, as well as an automated, vertical conveyor system, for which Auteco was a pioneer in all Colombia.

The center also includes 16 loading docks for trucks serving 1,400 retail destinations nation-wide. On average, the center each month will receive 35 shipping containers of various motorcycle parts, then handle 14,000 monthly requests for some 22,000 outgoing parts from the tens of thousands of individualized slots at the warehouse, according to the company.

 

Written by July 05 2018 0

Medellin-based national electric-power grid operator and wholesale trading center XM announced July 5 the debut of an ultra-high-tech control center that will help maintain and improve power reliability and rationality for all Colombia.

According to XM, the new control center is “the most modern of [all] America, with technological platforms of latest generation, ensuring that during [at least] the next 12 years [we can meet] the challenges of the operation and integrated control of the resources of the Sistema Interconectado Nacional [SIN, the national power grid.]”

The new control center also includes two high-tech training rooms that “allow [trainees] to simulate in real time the operation of the entire SIN in a controlled environment,” according to XM.

“We monitor and control around 26,000 electrical variables measured throughout the depth and width of the national geography, employing multi-site technology for the continuous operation and phase measurement as well as maximum observability of the network, identifying [power-disruption] phenomena impossible to detect with traditional technologies,” according to the company.

XM’s system coordinates 66.89 terawatt-hours/year of power production and dispatch, involving more than 55,000 coordinated power moves annually by 112 players in the Colombian power market, including 74 power generators, 60 centrally-dispatched plants, 146 non-centrally-dispatched plants, 16 power transmitters, 32 power wholesalers, 26,000 kilometers of 110-kilovolt power lines, 249 power substations and the power interconnection with Ecuador.

“The new control center of the National Dispatch System will have two updates of hardware and software every four years, which will guarantee the latest available versions and will ensure the best technology to meet the challenges of the operation, maintainance and integrated control of the SIN until 2030,” XM added.

“The global electricity industry is facing one of its biggest changes [in history] and Colombia is not immune to this reality,” said XM general manager María Nohemi Arboleda.

“For this reason it is essential to have very strong institutions that incorporate new elements and actors in the most appropriate and harmonious ways possible. At XM we have been developing initiatives and projects for several years that point in that direction -- and the new control center that we are inaugurating today is proof of this,” Arboleda added.

Written by June 22 2018 0
Cemex Colombia – a subsidiary of Mexican multinational cement producer Cemex Inc. and Cemex LatAm Holdings – announced June 22 that it failed in its final appeal over a cement price-fixing charge brought by Colombia’s Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC).
 
The company will pay a COP$923 million (US$316,476) fine as a result of the final ruling by Colombia’s Council of State (Consejo de Estado), which also upheld fines against alleged co-conspirators including Medellin-based Argos (which has denied the charges) and Bogota-based Holcim Colombia (a division of Swiss-based LafargeHolcim).
 
According to Cemex Colombia's June 22 filing with Colombia’s Superintendencia Financiera (Superfinanciera), the price-fixing was alleged to have occurred between May and December of 2005. However, the latest Council of State ruling doesn’t cover separate SIC allegations of price-fixing between 2010 and 2012 -- charges which Cemex continues to dispute in separate proceedings.
 
Maceo, Antioquia Scandal Continues
 
On another front, Colombia’s Attorney General (Fiscal General) announced June 12 that it has brought criminal charges against Édgar Ramírez Martínez (former Cemex Colombia vice president of planning) and Camilo González Téllez (former Cemex Colombia vice president legal affairs) over the Maceo, Antioquia, cement-plant land-acquisition scandal (see Medellin Herald 02/09/2018).
 
Ramirez and Gonzalez both faces charges of illegal enrichment as well as “unfair administration” over allegedly illegal acquisition of lands around the mostly complete, US$420 million Maceo cement plant, which hasn’t started-up and remains in legal limbo pending operating-permit approvals.
 
The Attorney General also brought illegal-enrichment and money-laundering charges against Eugenio Correa Díaz, the legal representative of “C.I. Calizas SA,” which is alleged to have illegally sold land to Cemex for the Maceo plant.
 
The lands originally held by C.I. Calizas had been subject to another legal proceeding (“extinction de dominio”) over non-payment of Colombian taxes on allegedly phony exports of auto parts by former C.I. Calizas owner Jose Aldemar Moncada, who was assassinated two years ago.

According to the Attorney General, Ramirez, González and Correa “advanced negotiations to acquire several assets” of C.I. Calizas -- including lands that supposedly should have been in control of Colombia’s tax authorities because of the earlier tax-evasion charges against Moncada.
 
“According to the investigation, the executives of Cemex and Eugenio Correa were aware of this situation and despite this they insisted on the negotiation, under which the cement company would have disbursed more than COP$40 billion [US$13.7 million], money that went into the personal accounts of Correa Díaz, and from which apparently one part was used to pay obligations of José Aldemar Moncada, while the rest was converted into cash without having entered a single peso into C.I. Calizas S.A.,” the Attorney General charges.
 
Cemex LatAm Holdings earlier brought details of this situation to the attention of the Attorney General, as the alleged scheme “caused serious damage to property and reputation, both to the company and its shareholders,” according to the Attorney General.
Written by June 21 2018 0

Medellin’s business promotion agency ACI (Agencia de Cooperacion e Inversion de Medellin y el Area Metropolitana) and Netherlands-based Sana Commerce jointly announced June 21 the launch of Sana’s e-commerce consulting business at the high-tech “Ruta N” business center here.

Attending the launch was Netherlands Ambassador to Colombia JJ Roodenburg as well as Sana Commerce director Cas Nieskens.

According to the company, over the past 10 years, Sana has developed e-commerce strategies based upon enterprise resource planning (ERP), tapping the Microsoft Dynamics systems, applications and products (SAP) software.

Besides the new office in Medellín – targeting customers throughout Latin America -- Sana also has branches in the Netherlands, USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Germany, Austria and Australia, according to the company.

“The city of Medellín was chosen as the location for our newest office for its emphasis on IT [information technology] and engineering education, startup environments and entrepreneurship, as well as for its supportive government and favorable business environment,” Nieskens added.

Medellin’s northern South America location and time-zone “allows Sana Commerce to efficiently deliver technical solutions to a rapidly growing number of customers across the Americas,” the company added.

“Our e-commerce solution leverages existing business logic and data in powerful and user-friendly web stores. This lets our clients focus on improving customer experience, streamlining sales processes, and increasing sales volume and frequency.”

The company touts having developed more than 1,200 “web stores” worldwide, with support services including “online marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advice, hosting, design and online payment providers.”

“We would like to extend our gratitude to the Colombian government, and in particular to the ACI, ProColombia, the Dutch Embassy and the Holland House for their support in our research and start-up phase,” added Sana chief operating officer Tim Beyer.

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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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