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Medellin-based multinational Grupo Imsa – a spinoff last November from Medellin-based paints, chemicals and hardware multinational Grupo Orbis (the latter now part of global chemicals giant AkzoNobel) – on November 15 announced a third quarter (3Q) 2022 net profit of COP$13.7 billion (US$2.77 million).

Nine-months 2022 net profits likewise have soared by 165% year-on-year, hitting COP$27 billion (US$5.46 million), according to Imsa, a company that -- as a stand-alone -- is barely one-year old.

Grupo Imsa produces industrial tubing and posts (O-tek division), food additives (Addimentum) composite materials (Novascott, Novapol and Novaforma), cleaning/disinfectant products (MCM), and also develops commercial real-estate projects in Colombia. Imsa has eight production facilities in four nations: Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

According to the company, nine-months 2022 sales are up 39% year-on-year, to COP$$568 billion (US$115 million).

As for 3Q 2022, gross margin stood at 26.4%, up from 22.9% in 2Q 2022.

“The chemical business in Brazil [so far this year] has reached sales of COP$219.8 billion [US$44.5 million], 16.3% more than the accumulated figure for the third quarter of 2021, driven by a greater dynamism in the market and an improvement in the positioning of clients in the wind, swimming pools and industrial sectors,” according to Imsa.

Meanwhile, the “Addimentum” food additives businesses in Mexico and Colombia ended the third quarter with sales of COP$67 billion (US$13.6 million), up 26.3%, “mainly generated by the commercial consolidation in the local economies and in the international [export] markets, along with diversification of its portfolio and its client base,” according to the company.

As for the “O-tek” division – Imsa's pipes-and-poles businesses in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia – nine-months 2022 sales have jumped 88.2% year-on-year, to COP$221 billion (US$44.7 million), according to the company.

As for its “MCM” division -- specializing in home, vehicle and industrial products – sales are up 22.7% so far this year, to COP$66 billion (US$13 million), according to the company.

Grupo Imsa “continues without financial debt and its total liabilities only represent 3% of total assets, while this indicator as of December 2021 was 1.8%,” the company added.

Similarly, “current assets of COP$171.7 billion [US$35 million] exceed current liabilities by 10.5-times, maintaining a favorable liquidity situation,” according to the company.

“The main variations of the statement of financial position compared to December 2021 correspond to the increase in investments in subsidiaries that went from COP$194.9 billion [US$39 million, in 2021] to COP$259.3 billion [US$52.5 million, in 2022],” the company added.


Mineros 3Q 2022 Net Income Drops 68% Year-on-Year

Wednesday, 16 November 2022 08:17 Written by

Medellin-based multinational gold-mining giant Mineros SA announced November 15 that its third quarter (3Q) 2022 net income dropped 68% year-on-year, to US$2.6 million, from US$8.1 million in 3Q 2021.

Company president Andrés Restrepo blamed the decline on “impairment of assets related to the accident at the upgrading plant connected to the Llanuras dredger [at Nechi, Antioquia] on May 28 [2022] and for provisions for compensation in Argentina.”

That accident was the result of heavy rains and winds at its alluvial mining operation, “causing damage to the floating beneficiation plant connected to the suction dredge,” according to Mineros.

“Immediately after the accident, the company’s emergency protocols were activated. Investigations of the accident by Colombian authorities and investigators company-hired independents are underway.

“After a thorough review of the current status of the plant, as of September 30, 2022, management has not found a way to recover, repair or carry out any type of rescue or maneuver to return the plant to operations, therefore an impairment of US$4.8 million was recognized.

“Mineros has filed a claim with its insurers regarding damage to the Llanuras plant. The company has adjusted its production plan to compensate for the loss of the plant and, consequently, we do not expect any negative impact on our ability to meet our estimate of production or costs for 2022 at the Nechi alluvial property.”

As for gross revenues in 3Q 2022, Mineros reported a 13% year-on-year rise, to US$136 million, while adjusted 3Q 2022 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 33% year-on year, to US$43 million, according to the company.

As for nine-months 2022 results, net income has dropped 24% year-on-year, despite a 6% hike in revenues and a 10% rise in adjusted EBITDA, according to the company.

During 3Q 2022, gold production rose 17% year-on-year, to 74,513 ounces, while all-in-sustaining-costs and cash costs both have declined year-on-year.

“The company has maintained a low ratio of net-debt to adjusted EBITDA, down 53% after paying financial obligations taken for the purchase of Luna Roja [Nicaragua gold mine],” the company added.

 


Medellin-based multinational electric power, cement and highways/airport concessionaire Grupo Argos announced November 14 that its third quarter (3Q) 2022 net income dropped 13% year-on-year, to COP$192 billion (US$40 million).

Revenues nevertheless rose 24% year-on-year, to COP$5 trillion (US$1.04 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) likewise rose 10% year-on-year, to COP$1.26 billion (US$262 million).

As for nine-months 2022, consolidated net income is up 10% year-on-year, to COP$1.05 trillion (US$219 million), with EBITDA up 14%, to COP$3.8 trillion (US$782 million), according to the company.

Despite the 3Q 2022 profits decline, gross revenues continue to rise in all of the Argos subsidiaries, including a 25% hike at Cementos Argos, a 33% jump at electric power division Celsia and a 57% jump in passenger traffic at Odinsa-concession airports, according to the company.

“These results show the financial strength of the organization and the positive performance of all its businesses,” according to Argos.

“In line with the announcement made at the beginning of 2022, we reiterate that the listing of the cement operation in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange continues to be a strategic priority for the organization,” according to Argos.

“Among the most relevant milestones for this operation, the refinancing of US$750 million of debt stands out, which strengthens the [Cementos Argos] capital structure and liquidity position with variable rate conditions tied to ESG [environmental, social and governance] indicators,” the company added.

Argos also highlighted its September 2022 announcement for a new collaboration with Macquarie Asset Management, “the largest infrastructure investment fund manager in the world, for COP$1.4 trillion [US$292 million] to develop private initiatives such as the new airport at Cartagena, maximization of the use of the current El Dorado Airport [Bogota] terminal and developing improvements in the runways and taxiways with state-of-the-art technology and the expansion of capacity.”


Sura 3Q 2022 Net Income Dips 2% Year-on-Year

Saturday, 12 November 2022 08:16 Written by

Medellin-based multinational insurance, asset management and health-care giant Grupo Sura announced November 11 that its third quarter (3Q) 2022 net income dipped 2% year-on-year, to COP$400 billion (US$83 million).

Total revenues nevertheless rose 19% year-on-year, to COP$7.9 trillion (US$1.6 billion).

Despite the 3Q dip in profits, through nine months 2022, Sura’s net income is up 34.6% year-on-year, to COP$1.4 trillion (US$291 million), according to the company.

“Revenues continue on an uptrend thanks to a double-digit growth with the insurance business, where written premiums rose by COP$1.1 trillion [US$229 million], that is to say 19.1% more compared to the same quarter last year,” according to Sura.

“On the other hand, fee and commission income amounted to COP$838 billion [US$174 million], remaining at similar levels to the third quarter last year.

“So far this year [nine-months 2022], total revenues have risen by COP$4.1 trillion [US$853 million], now standing at COP$22.3 trillion [US$4.6 billion], with written premiums scoring a growth of COP$3.7 trillion [US$769 million], thanks to good levels of performance in all segments,” according to Sura.

However, “while [nine-months] fee and commission income has declined by COP$15.4 billion [US$3.2 million] compared to the year-to-date figure corresponding to the same period last year, this is due to regulatory reductions in the amounts charged in Mexico as well as lower levels of performance for the voluntary savings segment due to losses in value on the financial markets,” the company added.

“During this period, the Suramericana [insurance division] portfolio continued to show higher yields thanks to higher interest rates and higher inflation throughout the region, hence the positive performance posted for the portfolios held in Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and the Dominican Republic.

“On the other hand, returns from [investment fund] Sura Asset Management’s legal reserves continued to be affected by the losses in value sustained on different financial markets throughout the region. Investments, on a year-to-date basis, came to COP$1.2 trillion [US$249 million], for a drop of COP$22.3 billion [US$4.6 million] compared to the same period last year,” the company added.

During 3Q 2022, the insurance claims rate “continued to be impacted by increases in average costs and higher claims frequencies with the auto insurance unit, as well the required update in reserves for the life insurance segment in the light of expectations of the increase in minimum wage in Colombia as well as a higher claims rate for the Mandatory Health Care subsidiary (EPS) due to a recent update to the PBS (Basic Health Plan) as well as increased frequencies with the amount of health services rendered,” according to Sura.

In its health-care segment, “the increase in the net loss posted was due to higher claims on the part of the EPS (mandatory health care) subsidiary as well as lower revenues posted by the Ayudas Diagnosticas Sura (Diagnostic Service Provider) subsidiary, which last year were driven up by a higher volume of Covid-related services,” which have since dropped dramatically as the Covid crisis has now subsided.


Medellin-based highway construction giant Construcciones El Cóndor reported November 11 a COP$57 billion (US$11.8 million) net loss for third quarter (3Q) 2022, down from a COP$16 billion (US$4.1 million) net profit in 3Q 2021.

“The results are recognized by the equity method and the unrealized net exchange difference,” according to El Cóndor. “These items present accounting effects but have no impact on the company's cash. If this effect is discounted, the net profit is COP$4.178 million [US$869,000] and the net margin is 0.65%.

“This effect will continue to occur for several periods while the [highway] concessions begin to generate accounting profit, a behavior that is due to the normal cycle of the concessions due to their project finance nature,” the company explained.

Income from ordinary activities totaled COP$638 billion (US$133 million), increasing by 57.86% compared to 3Q 2021.

“The increase reflects the upward curve in the execution of the following works: EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] with the Concessions Autopista Rio Magdalena, Ruta al Mar and Pacífico Tres, El Toyo and Putumayo public works with Invias and the normalization contract with the Ruta al Sur Concession,” according to El Cóndor.

Operating costs rose 47% year-on-year, to COP$564 billion (US$117 million), while gross profit came-in at COP$74 billion (US$15 million), “equivalent to a gross margin of 11.60%, which is higher than the gross margin of 2021, since new projects earn revenue share on 4G [fourth-generation highway project] EPCs,” according to the company.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) hit COP$102 billion (US$21 million), “equivalent to an EBITDA margin of 16%, increasing with respect to the EBITDA margin for the year 2021, which was 12.62%,” according to El Cóndor

“Interest expense increased 56.71% compared to the third quarter of 2021. Of this effect, 51.86% is due to the increase in interest rates and 4.85% is explained by the increase in the company’s indebtedness,” the company added.

Construction backlog at end-September -- defined as the balance of works contracted and to be executed -- stood at COP$2.99 trillion (US$622 million), the company added.


Medellin-based multinational banking giant Bancolombia announced November 11 that its third quarter (3Q) 2022 net income jumped 73% year-on-year, to COP$1.6 trillion (US$333 million).

Gross loans in 3Q 2022 rose 23.7% year-on-year, to COP$260 trillion (US$54 billion). “When excluding the foreign-exchange effect [that is, the declining value of the Colombian peso versus the U.S. dollar], the loans increase during the last twelve months was 15.8%. Commercial and consumer segments presented a dynamic activity, growing at 23.4% and 26.4%, respectively,” according to Bancolombia.

“Customer deposits totaled COP$238 trillion [US$49.5 billion], an increase of 25.3% compared to 3Q 2021. When excluding the foreign-exchange effect, the increase during the last twelve months was 16.0%. Savings accounts and time deposits grew 23.4% and 36.5%, respectively, compared to 3Q 2021,” the company added.

As for outstanding past-due loans, “30-day past due loans stood at 3.6% and 90-day past due loans at 2.43%. Total provision charges, net for 3Q 3022 were COP$1.17 billion [US$24 million], which indicates a lower release compared to 2Q 2022 and higher provisions in the consumer and commercial portfolio in line with the growth of the loan book,” according to Bancolombia.

As for its digital strategy, “Bancolombia shows constant growth in line with 2021 results. As of September 2022, the bank has 7.3 million active digital customers in the retail app, as well as 20.6 million accounts in its financial inclusion platforms -- 6.4 million users in ‘Bancolombia-a-la-Mano’ and 14.2 million in ‘Nequi,’” according to the company.

“Operations at Banco Agricola in El Salvador, Banistmo in Panama and BAM in Guatemala represented 29.2% of total gross loans for 3Q 2022.

“Likewise, the gross loans denominated in currencies other than COP -- generated by operations in Central America, the international operation of Bancolombia Panamá, Puerto Rico and the U.S. dollar-denominated loans in Colombia -- accounted for 37.5% of the loan portfolio, an increase 13.2% (when expressed in COP), as well as 2.4% (expressed in U.S. dollars),” according to the company.

“During 3Q 2022, the loan portfolio at a consolidated level continues with good dynamism in all geographies, consistent with the trend of the last 12 months. Growth in commercial and consumer is remarkable.

“Colombia reported the highest quarterly growth of 4.3% in loan portfolio for 3Q 2022, mainly driven by the commercial, consumer and mortgage portfolio.

“Regarding loan book share, all segments remained relatively stable during the quarter. Colombia is closely followed by the Banistmo operation, which presents an increase of 4.3% (calculated in U.S. dollars), due to the positive dynamics of the commercial portfolio, which grew 8.2% for the quarter and continues to be the largest share in the loan portfolio.

“Banco Agricola grew 2.3% (calculated in U.S. dollars), with a 3.6% growth in consumer loans, which continues to increase its share to 41% of the loan portfolio. Commercial has shown moderate growth but maintains the largest share of the portfolio.

“Banco Agromercantil reports a 0.5% consolidated growth in U.S. dollars, where the consumer portfolio stands out with an increase of 10.4% during the quarter, in line with the good performance experienced since 2021,” the company added.


Medellin-based textiles and real-estate giant Fabricato on November 10 reported a 68% drop year-on-year in third quarter (3Q) 2022 net income, to COP$3.06 billion (US$625,000).

However, gross revenues rose 5.7% year-on-year, to COP$129 billion (US$27 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 10% year-on-year, to COP$$45.7 billion (US$9.5 million).

In its textile division, accumulated gross profit rose 7%, to COP$3.7 billion (US$770,000).

In total, “90% of the result achieved at the EBITDA level corresponds to the textile operation,” according to Fabricato. “Accumulated textile EBITDA as of September 2022 was COP$41 billion [US$8.5 million], 3% higher than in 3Q 2021,” according to the company.

In its real estate division, gross income rose COP$4.27 billion (US$888,000) year-on-year, while net income rose by COP$4.7 billion (US$978,000) year-on-year. Real estate EBITDA nearly tripled year-on-year, to COP$4.7 billion (US$978,000), according to Fabricato.

“In the third quarter of the year a slight reduction in [textile] demand is observed, and is less than cumulative growth behavior for the year,” according to the company.

“International logistics service fluctuations in placement of containers has resulted in higher freight cost [although] exports show a year-to-date growth of 21%,” the company added. "Our main markets abroad (for all of 2022) are: Ecuador 37%, Mexico 28%, Peru 17% and others, 18%.

“In the third quarter there is a significant reduction in the Honduran market (August), mainly for the execution of tenders for the military forces. However, the trend of sales maintains growth in the rest of the countries.

“Volatility and uncertainty persists for the main raw materials. The raw material with volatility and greatest impact due to price variation is cotton; its price has fluctuated between US$116.85 and US$85.16 per-pound in the period. A downward trend continues.

“The textile market maintains high product inventories, mainly due to an increase in textile imports (28% more than in 2021, according to Inexmoda) and also due to post-pandemic recovery," the company added.

“During this quarter we had important advances in the operation in terms of new projects and innovation in products and processes. We have concluded the project for the installation of rotor spinning machines; a total of 18 open-end spinning machines were installed. This translates into an autonomy of 75% of the thread needs required for the textile operation.

“We continue to advance in the development and production of natural fibers other than cotton, seeking to minimize the ecological footprint left by our textiles. We have installed equipment for the extraction and preparation of these fibers to be processed in the fiber machinery infrastructure for cotton.

“The ozone washing machine business is complete, which will represent a substantial decrease in water consumption for denim washing, generating less wastewater discharges for our treatment plant and offering the market a denim product with characteristics that will result in better garment laundry processes, better performance in laser uncovering and reduction of resources,” the company added.


Medellin-based textiles and plastics-recycling specialist Enka announced November 10 that its nine-months 2022 cumulative net income has dropped 57% year-on-year, to COP$18 billion (US$3.7 million million).

Enka blamed the profits decline on “exchange differences [the declining value of the Colombian peso against the U.S. dollar] and an increase in financial expenses, due to an increase in rates and greater indebtedness,” according to the company.

While gross revenues rose 15.7% year-on-year, to COP$460 billion (US$96 million), earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA) fell 28%, to COP$44.5 billion (US$9.3 million).

“After a positive start to the year, in the third quarter profit margins and sales volumes have been affected by two main factors,” according to Enka:

“First, the European energy crisis -- unleashed by the conflict in Ukraine -- has increased significantly the demand for coal and, as a consequence, our costs of energy generation.

“Second, inflationary pressures and monetary policies of central banks have begun to affect the world demand and put downward pressure on the prices of raw materials.

“To face this situation, the company has developed different markets to mitigate the lower demand and continue to rotate their inventories in order to reduce exposure to higher price reductions in the face of a possible global recession, which increasingly seems more probable.”

The boost in operating income came “mainly due to higher international prices and the strengthening of the dollar, which offset a lower demand and lower short-term sales of virgin PET,” according to the company.

As for the decline in EBITDA, this came “mainly due to lower demand from the textile and industrial businesses, higher energy costs and inflationary effect on fixed costs and expenses,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, Enka reports that its new “EKO-PET” plastic bottles recycling plant “is already undergoing final tests and set-up for its entry into operation,” the company stated..

That plant -- with executed capex of COP$93.7 billion (US$19.5 million) to date, or about 84% of the total investment -- is “advancing under the schedules and estimated budgets,” according to Enka.

Exports reached US$49.5 million (44% of total income) -- higher by 23% compared to nine-months 2021 -- “mainly due to the strong increase in international prices. The good performance of demand in Brazil has contributed to increase export participation in sales at 20%, from 16% in 2021,” according to Enka.

Recycling ‘Green Business’ Results

In its recycling sector, revenues rose 36% year-on-year “due to higher prices that compensate for a 7% lower volume of sales. Green business participation in total sales rose to 32% versus 28% in 2021,” according to Enka.

“The three recycling plants operate at maximum capacity, with ‘EKO-FIBRAS’ increasing its sales from colored bottles for geotextiles, along with high-value-added products, allowing to mitigate the strong, low-price Asian competition,” according to Enka.

Textile and Industrial Business Results

Excluding sales of virgin PET, revenues rose 16% year-on-year, “as a result of higher international prices and the decline in the exchange rate, which offset a 15% decrease in volume,” according to Enka.

Textiles and international sales accounted for 64% of total sales, matching nine-months 2021 results.

Industrial yarns revenues increased 24% year-on-year “mainly due to higher international prices and exchange rate that compensate for the 8% lower sales volume mainly in ‘Tarpaulin’ for tires in the USA due to lower demand partially mitigated by better behavior of Brazil,” according to Enka.

Textile filaments volumes declined 12% in the local market “due to reduction in Asian prices, but export income increased by 7% mainly due to the higher [U.S. dollar/COP] exchange rate,” according to Enka.


While new Colombia President Gustavo Petro broadly demonizes energy and mining companies -- and pushed a new law eliminating royalty tax deductions -- ironically a growing number of copper, gold and silver-mining companies here are confounding Petro’s rhetoric with eco-friendly, people-friendly, economy-boosting and more-transparent projects.

At the seventh edition of the annual “CGS Colombia” symposium here in Medellin on November 8-9 – attracting a record 350 delegates -- numerous companies touted remarkable progress in “green” and “people-oriented” metals-mining projects.

In several proposed and existing projects, mining companies successfully -- even amazingly – have convinced harsh and skeptical mining critics actually to become project defenders.

One of the most astounding examples is that of the proposed Zancudo mining project in Antioquia, where the local Mayor, City Council members and most of the local residents had originally opposed that project, citing fears of water-quality degradation and potentially broader social problems.

But as Zancudo Metals executive Nicolas Lopez explained here, a concerted, years-long educational-outreach effort completely reversed this opposition, resulting in the very same political leaders and 95% of the local population now endorsing an eco-friendly project, which will avoid historically “dirty” mining schemes that (for example) had dumped toxic mercury and cyanide.

Similarly, the AngloGold/B2 Gold “Gramalote” gold-mining project in Antioquia also flipped historic, widespread opposition to this project to endorsement by 90% of locals, thanks to rigorous environmental studies, “green” project features and vigorous community outreach, including community-development and economic-development projects, as Gramalote executive Juan David Ramirez explained here.

However, AngloGold and B2 Gold just announced this month that, unfortunately, the project no longer meets their companies’ financial goals. So the US$925 million project is up-for-sale.

Despite these notably “green” and “people-friendly” projects, today’s anti-mining political climate – exacerbated by Petro – makes it hard to imagine new mining licenses being granted here in the next few years, as mining-industry consultant Hernan Rodriguez contended in a panel-discussion here.

For some companies that can afford to wait-out the next four years of Petro, or (optionally) sell their licenses to more-optimistic third parties, or successfully maintain eco-friendly, positive relations with local communities, this picture might not seem so bleak.

Even so, those companies sticking-it-out need to have a robust regulatory compliance program “to avoid losing your license,” as mining consultant Alejandro Ramirez warned here.

On the other hand, as CGS Colombia founder and chairman Paul Harris explained here, “there’s no reason for the mining sector to be overly fearful” for the future -- or at least a future as might be applied to the metals-mining sub-sector.

Today’s widely-acknowledged, growing movement away from coal, oil and natural gas – seen as principal “global warming” threats – should stir much-greater support for “eco-friendly” mining of certain metals crucial to the transition to “green” electric power and “green” transportation, Harris noted.

So while Petro and others are broadly railing against energy and mining companies -- in political forums such as the COP-27 global-warming conference in Egypt this month -- and while social-media twits spew vituperative rhetoric in all directions, the metals-mining sectors actually should see themselves calmly playing a key role in the “green” transition, Harris pointed-out here.

With Petro claiming to push goals such as poverty reduction, climate-change avoidance and trimming of Colombia’s crushing national debt, metals-mining companies actually can be seen aligning with his goals, he explained.

“It’s almost a duty for Petro to support Colombian copper,” he added, citing five new Colombian copper-drilling projects already proposed or underway here.

Buy-in by local populations and local governments for any development project is also a top Petro priority, he noted. “This could be key to unlocking projects,” Harris emphasized.

While some government officials want to see a revised, tougher Colombian mining code – which could snarl and delay beneficial projects for years – this seems unlikely as Petro’s main priorities now are tax reform, health-system reform, pension reform and labor reforms, all of which will take time -- and eventually exhaust Petro’s political capital in Colombia’s multiparty, divided Congress, he added.

As Colombia Risk Analysis analyst Sergio Guzman added here, changing the mining code “is not a priority” as compared to Petro’s other, more-urgent priorities.

Actually, “what’s most important to Petro is symbols,” such as pushing “change,” showing “strength,” being “green” and perhaps most of all, viciously attacking former center-right President Alvaro Uribe, ironically the most popular Colombian president in history.

Meanwhile, Petro’s fragile coalition in the Colombian Congress this month just slashed his unpopular, initial COP$50 trillion (US$10.2 billion) tax-hike legislation to COP$20 trillion (US$4 billion) and likewise is expected to hobble or delay other “reform” proposals, Guzman explained.

What’s more, the upcoming October 2023 elections would seem likely to spur a broad anti-Petro backlash, as Colombians are suffering heavy inflation, recession and currency-devaluation problems.

As a result of a sour national economic outlook, Petro’s disapproval ratings already have soared and his approval ratings likewise have plunged to only 46% -- just three months into his four-year term.

Petro’s similarly bombastic, chaotic earlier term as a Bogota Mayor likewise produced mediocre results, including irrational blame-shifting schemes that flipped 65 cabinet secretaries though 19 positions in just four years.

“He’s not a good administrator,” Guzman explained here. “Will he learn to compromise? It’s not his favorite thing to do. He wants power. If the October 2023 elections are bad for Petro, that will make him even more frustrated.

“He can’t pack the courts [as the Colombian Constitution prevents him from sidestepping Congress] and that will lead to stalemate and brinksmanship. He’s also facing fiscal and current account deficits -- and the tax reform won’t fix that.”

If Petro instead tries to impose populist price controls, new subsidies and bring import tariffs, then that will only worsen deficits and cause new scarcities, provoking consumer/voter anger, he explained.

Meanwhile, Petro’s proposed “total peace” plan with the narco-terrorist ELN, re-FARC and “Clan del Golfo” groups seems dubious as many of these actors “don’t negotiate in good faith,” Guzman added.

Bottom line: mining companies here need to avoid “getting between Petro and his symbols,” and instead should seek to promote and emphasize eco-friendly, people-friendly, economically friendly and transparent projects that (at least notionally) align with Petro’s main goals, he concluded.


Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos announced November 9 that its third quarter (3Q) net income dropped 35% year-on-year, to COP$79 billion (US$16 million).

On the other hand, sales rose 25% year-on-year, to COP$3.1 trillion (US$632 million), while 3Q earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 23%, to COP$583 billion (US$119 million), according to the company.

As for nine-months 2022 results, Argos brags that it has achieved “the highest levels of sales and EBITDA in its history, at COP$8.5 trillion [US$1.7 billion] and COP$1.5 trillion [US$306 million], respectively,” according to the company.

In its U.S. operations, 3Q 2022 income grew 23% year-on-year, while EBITDA rose 26% year-on-year, according to Agros.

As for total shipments, “from January to September [2022] , Cementos Argos delivered 12.3 million tons of cement, 2.3% less, and 5.8 million cubic meters of concrete, 8.7% more,” according to the company.

In its Colombia operations, Argos 3Q 2022 revenues rose 10.6% year-on-year, to COP$705 billion (US$144 million), “primarily leveraged on an efficient-trade strategy that seeks to offset inflation,” according to the company

Colombia operations EBITDA rose 14% year-on-year, to COP$157 billion (US$32 million), while EBITDA margin rose 75 basis points, hitting 22.3%.

Concrete exports from Cartagena grew 37%, totaling 319,000 tons, “the highest quarterly figure in the company’s history,” according to Argos.

Meanwhile, Colombian nationwide shipments of cement “remained stable, as the concrete business continues its sustained recovery, supported by construction projects, infrastructure projects and formal housing,” according to Argos.

In its Caribbean and Central America operations, 3Q 2022 revenues rose 8.3% year-on-year, to US$136 million, while EBITDA was stable at US$31 million, according to the company.

On the other hand, Caribbean/Central American cement shipments dipped 12.7% year-on-year, to 1 million tons, “affected, in part, by the serious social situation in Haiti, winter weather and government transition in Honduras, and scheduled maintenance in Dominican Republic. In contrast, shipments of concrete were 77,000 meters cubic and increased 59.2%,” according to the company.


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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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