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Written by January 27 2018 0

Medellin-based Celsia – the electric-power division of corporate giant Grupo Argos – on January 26 reported full-year 2017 net profits of COP$251 billion (US$89 million), up 47% from COP$171 billion (US$61 million) in 2016.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) hit COP$1.12 trillion (US$399 million) for full-year 2017, up 9% year-on-year -- an all-time record.

As for fourth-quarter (4Q) 2017, net profits dipped slightly, to COP$71 billion (US$25 million), down from COP$75 billion (US$27 million) in 4Q 2016. However, 4Q 2017 EBITDA rose 21% year-on-year.

Consolidated earnings for full-year 2017 dipped 18% year-on-year, to COP$3.1 trillion (US$1.1 billion) because of a decline in thermal-power generation and lower power prices in Colombia, the company explained. However, 4Q 2017 consolidated earnings rose 4% year-on-year.

Total power generation in Colombia for full-year 2017 totalled 5,226 gigawatt-hours (GWh), down from 5,596 GWh in 2016. However, 4Q 2017 generation rose 31% year-on-year thanks to heavier rainfall that enabled greater output at Celsia’s hydroelectric plants.

Celsia’s power operations in Central America generated 9% more income in 2017 versus 2016, hitting US$245 million.

Celsia president Ricardo Sierra added that the company is “very content” with its 2017 financial results, adding that Celsia is now a leader in development of solar-photovoltaic power arrays as well as photovoltaic roofs for commercial operators -- including the Compañia Nacional de Chocolates chocolate factory in Rionegro, just outside Medellin.

Meanwhile, Celsia hailed a recent decision by Colombia’s national power regulator (CREG) that has boosted the financial outlook for thermal power generation -- via a “marginal scarcity price” scheme that allows thermal power generators to tap special revenues mainly generated by hydropower operators. These special revenues enable thermal power generators to survive for months or years until called-upon to boost output during occasional droughts that sap Colombia’s overwhelmingly hydropower-dependent electrical grid.

The company also hailed the recent start-up of a natural gas regasification plant in Cartagena, enabling thermal power generators to tap liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports during periods of peak demand for gas in Colombia.

Written by January 19 2018 0

Medellin business-development agency Agencia de Cooperación e Inversión de Medellín y el Área Metropolitana (ACI) announced January 19 that Switzerland-based multinational consultant Amaris plans to expand its Colombian and South American operations following start-up of new offices at Medellin’s “Ruta N” high-tech hosting center.

“Teamwork between ACI Medellín, Ruta N and ProColombia, managed to consolidate the presence of this company in the country,” according to ACI.

Amaris – now operating through 65 offices in 50 countries, with some 700 corporate clients – chose Medellin for expansion because of the “innovative environment offered by the city and its strategic geographical location to support its other offices in the provision of recruitment services, human resources, administration, finance and technical support,” according to ACI.

“Ruta N offered us a pleasant work environment,” added Sara Mondragón, platform manager at Amaris Medellin. “Thanks to the other [high-tech] companies installed [here], we are surrounded by an innovative and challenging environment. We constantly interact with the members of other foreign companies that are part of the Ruta N ecosystem” and “we see an excellent opportunity to benefit from their knowledge of the Colombian market.

“To make this decision we made an analysis of the environment and the quality of life in Latin America. Medellín was the best decision [considering] cost, safety, quality of life, institutional support and human talent,” Mondragón concluded.

Amaris -- founded in Switzerland in 2007 -- specializes in business-administration consulting, information technology, telecommunications, engineering, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors.

“With a turnover of €187 million [US$228 million], its goal in 2018 is to reach a team of 5,000 employees -- currently amounting to 3,650 -- and thus ratify itself as a world leader in independent consulting,” according to the company.

Written by December 31 2017 0

Medellin-based multinational power giant EPM announced December 29 that it won a US$1 billion credit from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) “Invest” funding subsidiary for debt finance of its 2.4-gigawatt, US$5 billion “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project in Antioquia.

The credit package includes payback terms of eight-to-12 years. Draws would take place during a four-year period, virtually completing 100% of Hidroituango project finance, according to EPM.

Commenting on the deal, EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta said the finance package is of “profound significance” for the company as it ensures broader funding diversity.

As a result of the latest deal, 36% of Hidroituango finance will come from EPM’s own resources with the other 64% from debt sources.

Winning IDB backing not only represents debt diversification but also means that major international lenders fully recognize EPM’s technical, social, environmental and financial capacity, he added.

The US$1 billion package includes US$50 million from the Chinese government, US$300 million from IDB and US$650 million from private international banks including Sumitomo Mitsui, BNP Paribas, BBVA, Banco Santander, CDPB, KFW PEX and ICBC, according to EPM.

The Hidroituango project is now 80% complete with the first 300 megawatts of power output scheduled to start at year-end 2018, according to the company.

EPM is 100% owned by the city of Medellin and now operates throughout Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panamá, Chile and México, providing electric power, natural gas, drinking water and sewage treatment systems.

Written by December 03 2017 0

Medellin-based textile giant Fabricato SA announced November 28 that it has begun the process of moving the entire operations of its “Riotex” factory in Rionegro to its Bello factory – both of which are nearby Medellin.

Transfer of dry production units will be completed by January 2018, while the wet production units will move to Bello by July 2018, according to the company.

“Transfer of the wet process [units] will be done at a later stage because expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at Bello is necessary,” according to Fabricato.

“This expansion has already been contracted and should be operating as of May next year. The [wastewater treatment] technology is the same with which we operate today and will allow us to treat and reuse water in our production process. Thus, the current [water] volume of 50,000 cubic meters per month will rise to 100,000 cubic meters per month,” the company added.

Total investment for expansion of wastewater treatment is US$900,000, according to the company.

“The consolidation of the productive process [at Bello] was made possible due to the investment made during the previous years and will allow us to maintain the installed production capacity using fewer resources, including space,” according to Fabricato.

“Consolidation of production will not require elimination of any business unit. Fabricato will continue to be present in the production and marketing of denim fabrics, drills (for fashion, for manning and for military forces), knitted fabric, woven interlinings and nonwoven interlinings.

“This [consolidation] process will not affect the fulfillment of the purchase orders of our clients,” the company added.

Consolidation will cut fixed production costs, improve the use of self-generated hydroelectric and thermoelectric power at the Bello plant, cut logistics costs and enable development of a real estate project at Rionegro – via leasing of the 36,000 square meters available at the old plant.

“The lease of the Riotex property is additional to the well-known ‘Ciudad Fabricato’ projects in Bello and ‘Fibratolima’ in Ibagué, thus giving full use to the available real estate assets,” the company added.

Antidumping Decision

Meanwhile, Fabricato announced November 28 that as a result of its request for an investigation into foreign denim-fabric-dumping into the Colombian market, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism on November 23 adopted a US$4.63/kilogram provisional duty on Chinese denim for at least the next six months, “renewable for three additional months or until the investigation is completed,” according to the company.

Written by December 03 2017 0

Medellin-based multinational utilities giant EPM reported November 28 that its net profits for the first nine months of 2017 hit COP$1.6 trillion (US$534 million), up 25% year-on-year, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 22%, to COP$3.9 trillion (US$1.3 billion).

So far this year, the city of Medellin – EPM’s sole owner – has netted COP$1.2 trillion (US$400 million) in profit transfers from EPM, according to the company.

While profits and EBITDA improved, EPM group revenues dipped to COP$12.2 trillion (US$4 billion), 48% of which came from local operations, 17% from Colombian subsidiaries and 35% from foreign subsidiaries. Lower average prices for electric power in the Colombian market this year versus last year explain the revenue dip, according to company.

“These results show the commitment of this organization to the social, environmental and economic dynamics of the regions where we are present,” said EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta.

"The national and international subsidiaries maintain an important dynamic that drives our business group. Likewise, in Medellín and Antioquia, we continue to contribute so that there is better quality of life and more development opportunities for people," he added.

Page 5 of 14

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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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