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Roberto Peckham

Colombia President Ivan Duque announced last night (December 6) that starting December 14, most international travelers 18-years-and-older to Colombia must present proof of COMPLETE vaccinations against Covid-19 – in part to help thwart the latest threat from the Omicron variant.

Following that announcement, Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced this morning (December 7) that anyone failing to show proof of full vaccinations must in the alternative present proof of a negative result from the highly accurate PCR test within 72 hours of boarding a flight to Colombia.

According to a separate December 6 announcement from Colombia’s Transport Ministry, Colombia expects to receive more than 1.2 million international passengers during the holiday season (from December 1 to January 10).

Meanwhile, all international or domestic travelers must fill-out the “CheckMig” application, and be in the airport three hours before any international flight or two hours before an in-country flight, according to the Ministry.

Colombian nationals and permanent residents must show that they have completed their Covid vaccinations at least 14 days prior to their flight, or else show a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the flight.  Non-resident tourists to Colombia must have at least one shot and a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the flight.

Once arriving here in Colombia, starting December 14, a new Ministry regulation requires all persons 18 years and older to show proof of COMPLETE vaccination in order to enter certain commercial or public spaces where “mass gatherings” occur. That includes bars, restaurants, cinemas, discoteques, concerts, casinos, sports events, amusement parks, museums and fairs, according to the Health Ministry.

Starting December 28, the same proof of complete vaccination applies to those 12 years and older, according to the Ministry.

Meanwhile, Colombia is fast approaching 60 million total vaccinations against Covid-19, with some 59.5 million already expected to have been vaccinated by the end of today (December 7), according to the Ministry. That means 70% of Colombians have gotten at least one shot -- far better than most other nations, and even matching that of the "advanced" United States.

Sinpro – the trade union representing most employees of Medellin-based utility giant EPM – and Cámara Colombiana de Infraestructura Seccional Antioquia (CCI-SA) announced December 5 that they have filed a lawsuit in a Cundinamarca Administrative Tribunal seeking to stop Colombia’s Controller-General from enforcing a COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.08 billion) fine that inevitably would delay construction of the US$5 billion Hidroituango hydroelectric project.

The EPM trade union and CCI-SA (which represents Antioquia’s infrastructure companies) say in their lawsuit that the Controller’s decision – if upheld by Colombia’s Council of State – will result in terminating the existing Hidroituango construction contracts, causing construction delays of at least another six to 12 months -- costing EPM an estimated COP$5.5 trillion (US$1.38 billion) in lost power sales and possibly threatening Hidroituango's very existence.

That COP$5.5 trillion loss would come in addition to the new loss of what had been favorable Hidroituango financing terms, as the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) just cancelled a US$450 million loan because of the Controller’s decision.

On a related front, former Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo just filed a separate lawsuit suit before an Interamerican Commission on Human Rights tribunal to overturn the Controller’s decision, claiming that the decision arose from the Controller’s own political corruption conspiracies.

Meanwhile, Sinpro and CCI-SA are asking the Cundinamarca court to suspend the Controller’s action until Hidroituango reaches full power capacity, now expected in 2025.

They also ask the court to block any move by the Controller that could result in future payments from project insurer Mapfre being given to the city of Medellin (currently directed by Hidroituango political critic Mayor Daniel Quintero) rather than to EPM for Hidroituango construction costs.

Colombia President Ivan Duque on December 4 officially inaugurated the long-awaited “Vias del Nus” highway connecting Medellin northward to Atlantic freight ports.

The new, 157.4-kilometers-long highway includes a four-lane, twin-tube tunnel that breaks through the historically problematic “La Quiebra” mountain, which until now has snagged road transport to and from Medellin and Colombia’s main northern ports.

Connecting to the “Magdalena 2” project at Alto de Dolores (Antioquia) and a brand-new bridge over the Magdalena River, the new, COP$1.2 trillion (US$302 million) “Vias del Nus” corridor slashes about two hours from travel times and avoids a twisting, complicated climb over “La Quiebra” at Cisneros, Antioquia.

The project “directly benefits about 3.3 million inhabitants of Medellín, Bello, Copacabana, Girardota, Barbosa, Donmatías, Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa de Osos, Cisneros, San Roque and Maceo,” while simultaneously improving crucial freight transport, as noted by Colombia’s Transport Ministry.

The project is so monumental that Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro accompanied President Duque at the December 4 dedication ceremony.

“Today Colombia shows that large projects may take 100 years to ponder, but in this government we execute them on time, and we are going to give Antioquia the largest investment in fourth-generation highways, the largest investment in tertiary roads and the largest number of new kilometers” of new and upgraded highways, bridges and tunnels, President Duque bragged.

Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI) president Manuel Felipe Gutiérrez added that the Vias del Nus project also features 17 new pairs of bridges, notably including the curved, 220-meters-long “El Cariaño” bridge built in successive cantilevers -- an especially challenging engineering feat.

Centrist politician Sergio Fajardo – a former Antioquia Governor, former Medellin Mayor and now candidate for Colombia’s Presidency – this morning (November 30) publicly accused Colombia Controller-General Carlos Felipe Córdoba of shocking political manipulation and corruption in the Hidroituango hydroelectric-project damages case.

“Until today I have kept my defense in reserve, because I considered that it was the best way to protect [Colombia’s political] institutions,” Fajardo stated in his Bogota press conference.

However, the Controller-General, certain powerful Colombian politicians and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria together “are playing a nefarious game” by using the Hidroituango case to block Fajardo’s presidential candidacy, according to Fajardo.

“That is corruption and dishonesty,” he charged.

“In one way or another, the [Inter-American Commission on Human Rights] judges now have to review the manifest illegalities and inconsistencies” in the Hidroituango case, he said, citing his new complaint being brought before the Commission.

“Despite all my attempts to maintain this [Colombia presidential candidacy] process in the legal field, it has been the Controller himself who has taken it upon himself to bring it to the political arena.

“A few months ago, the journalist María Jimena Duzán confirmed to me that since 2016 there has been a coordinated, planned attack. She told me, ‘they want to screw Fajardo,’ and this is associated with the Toga Cartel [a popularized name for certain corrupt Colombian justices].

“Carlos Felipe Córdoba is not a Controller, he is a political record. He was the right hand of [former Colombia Vice-President and former Presidential candidate] Germán Vargas Lleras in the last elections and has the support of his fellow countryman from Pereira, [former Colombia President and Liberal Party Leader] César Gaviria Trujillo.

“His obedience was already put to the test in 2017 when, as an auditor, he presented false and illegal reports, without having any competence, pretending to show that in my [former Antioquia] governorship I had paid favors to donors of my campaign with contracts. Every [charge] fell apart and Mr. Córdoba never responded for his slander.

“He is the same politician who was a militant of the Uribista youth, Vargas Lleras's private secretary, and who appointed the prosecutor's wife as delegate comptroller.

“Apart from these political backdrops, the [Hidroituango damages-claims] process has been plagued with unusual irregularities that I am highlighting today before public opinion.

“First, Juan Carlos Calderón España, under the guise of a ‘citizen overseer,’ allowed the Controller General to initiate an exceptional control in the Hidroituango case. The supposed citizen and overseer concerned about the public interest is a personal friend of Carlos Felipe Córdoba and a month before requesting exceptional control over Hidroituango, he declared in the Council of State in favor of his appointment as Controller.

“And, oh surprise, in the same month he released his book, "The Overseer, Social Control, Media and Democracy," with a foreword by guess who: the same Controller he defended in the Council of State. Added to this are family contacts in the Controller's Office, and other evidence that was erased but that we rescued. All these are pieces of the puzzle that they have been putting together for years to eliminate us legally and politically.

“Second, the Controller's Office changed the initial accusation against me. After an alleged and arduous investigation in which he invested time and resources, I was accused of only one conduct: not exercising control [over Hidroituango]. I provided clear and compelling evidence. This is where the case should have gone. However, the surprise was greater when all that investigation did not matter, they quickly changed the document and I ended up being charged with several different behaviors.

“They reproach my government for having agreed with the construction of a third [Hidroituango diversion] tunnel. But the Controller's Office lies when it says that the EPM advisory board contraindicated it. The Controller's Office refused to read the documents in full, refused to listen to the advisory board.

“For those lies, the person who convicted me, Juliana Velasco Gregory, is being investigated by the Judicial Discipline Commission. Other issues such as the lack of fines [imposed upon] EPM or the impossible guarantees of [construction project] acceleration or change of designs by the Board of Directors are tricks in the motivation of a conviction against me.

“Third, Córdoba appointed those who should decide [culpability] in the second instance. Here another key name appears in this whole mess: Cristian Castro, Anticorruption Delegate Controller.

“Castro was appointed [prosecution coordinator], but after a press article exposing his political ties, he was removed from the case and even went on vacation. What impartiality can a person have who is César Gaviria's minion, was secretary general of the Liberal Party in Pereira, is the political godson of Carlos Humberto Isaza, who was the Director of the Public Function of Cesar Gaviria and is today a contractor of the Comptroller's Office?

“And as if that were not enough, just a couple of days ago, a day after the second instance ruling was known, Castro shared on his personal Instagram account a meme attacking me directly using Yanfri, the boy who became famous in [social-media] networks for his walk.

“Textually the meme says: ‘Hey Yanfri, why are you walking like this all beautiful, hombe? The Controller's Office confirms that Fajardo is responsible for the detriment of COP$4.3 trillion in HidroItuango.’

“As I have repeated on several occasions, the [political opponents] no longer even hide. They do not care about the [Hidroituango] project, nor [admit] that there is insurance [covering the Hidroituango damages], nor the risk for the Ituango community [living downstream of the Hidroituango dam].

“They needed to blame me, they fear a change of power to a government in which hiring [political hacks] is not a booty.

“Colombia has to change. The supervision, control and inspection has to shine for everyone. Today the credibility of these institutions is on the floor. Justly.

“The capacity to investigate is low, the [investigation process] times are not reasonable, the impartiality is in doubt. The investigations are selective, and they become torture for millions of Colombians -- and that must change.

“I reiterate, there are many good people in the Prosecutor's Office, the Attorney General's Office, the Controller's Office, the control and surveillance entities, but the scaffolding today favors power and money. And that has to change.

“I believe in an independent justice where the force of reason prevails, and not the force of power and arbitrariness. I believe in sober justice. I reject these characters who debase public service.

“It is infamous to be singled out by a prosecutor who believes that he could have predicted the volatility of the dollar [in a separate, earlier case brought against Fajardo over an alleged exchange-rate error in calculating the cost of a public contract] , by a Controller who has spent years trying to convict me in any way.

“I am going to give this fight because I have the peace of mind that 22 years of public life give me, by acting correctly. I know very well who I face in this unequal struggle, but there is no alternative: that's how we started and that's how we continue.

“I would like to close by saying what I have repeated for many years: truth and decency always come out ahead, even if they sometimes take time.”

Colombia’s Controller-General (Contraloria General de la Nacion, CGR) announced this morning (November 26) finalization of CGR’s earlier-proposed COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.07 billion) fine against 28 individuals, politicians, insurers and companies that allegedly are responsible for the 2018 collapse of a diversion tunnel at the US$5 billion “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project in Antioquia.

The CGR’s final decision ironically came just hours after Hidroituango developer EPM publicly announced a tentative deal with its current construction contractors to continue building the project for at least another eight to 12 months -- all in order to ensure start-up of the first two generating units (out of a total eight) as planned and expected for late 2022.

However, the CGR fine presumably would require the contractors to abandon the project -- pending final confirmation by Colombia’s Council of State – potentially causing chaos and enormously costly delays in finalizing construction, which is already way-over the initial budget (roughly estimated at US$3 billion) and almost four years behind its initially scheduled start-up.

EPM’s latest forecast indicates that all eight generating units won’t be operating until 2025, with gradual, additional generating-unit start-ups in 2023 and 2024.

The CGR’s now-finalized charges of “gross negligence” hit construction companies Camargo Correa SA, Constructora Conconcreto and Coninsa Ramon H SA, as well as project designers and consultants including Integral SA, Ferrovial Agroman Chile, Sainc Ingenieros, Ingetec and Sedic.

Also hit by the charges are former Antioquia Governors Sergio Fajardo and Luis Alfredo Ramos, former Medellin Mayor Fabio Alonso Salazar, and several former EPM executives and former Hidroituango project board members.

Acquitted of a previous CGR charge of culpability is current (and former) Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria. However, the CGR now reinstates previously exempted culpability charges against project insurers Mapfre and Suramericana.

Given the latest addition of those two companies, the CGR charges now hit 28 different persons and companies.

While the CGR announcement doesn’t explicitly say how the total US$1.07 billion fine would be split among the parties, if it were to be portioned equally, then (theoretically, at least) every person and company each would be responsible for about US$38 million.

Meanwhile, EPM on November 25 had announced a “comprehensive preliminary agreement with the representatives of the CCCI [construction-contractor] consortium in charge of the main works in the Hidroituango hydroelectric project,” according to its press bulletin.

“This comprehensive pre-agreement will allow the contract, which expires on December 31 [2021], to be extended by eight more months from January 1, 2022, plus three months” to help guide new construction contractors during a contract hand-over period.

“The extension of the contract between EPM and the construction consortium CCCI would make it possible to guarantee the continuity of the works in the future hydroelectric plant and comply with the schedules foreseen for the start of the commercial operation of the first two power generation units in the second half of 2022. Both EPM and the CCCI consortium will carry out additional internal procedures that are necessary before signing the [final contract-extension] agreement,” according to EPM.

Colombia’s Health Ministry and President Ivan Duque jointly announced November 19 that starting December 1, 2021, people over 18 years old must show proof of COMPLETE Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter most places of mass gatherings.

The upcoming mandate -- a stricter version that replaces the existing mandate, which today only requires partial (one-shot) vaccinations -- specifically hits bars, cinemas, discotheques, dance venues, concerts, casinos, bingo halls, leisure activities, sports venues, amusement and theme parks, museums and fairs, according to the Ministry.

Also hit by the new mandate: hotel mass events (such as conferences), but not individual hotel-room stays. As a result, proof-of-vaccination “must be requested for private events, receptions or similar” but “not required for [individual] hosting services,” according to the rule.

To help explain the new rules, the Ministry posted this internet question-and-answer document (in Spanish), see:

Since last year, Colombia started issuing a standard “MiVacuna” proof-of-vaccination card to all receiving Covid-19 shots here.

However, people from other countries visiting Colombia and attending now-restricted mass events can likewise show other Covid-19 vaccination cards or electronic documents as issued by their home countries, according to the Ministry.

Commercial and public places hit by the new rule must request proof-of-vaccinations “as a requirement of entry to face-to-face events of a public or private nature that involve massive attendance,” according to the Ministry.

“The Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior may extend this measure to other activities or sectors, in accordance with the evolution of the pandemic against Covid-19 and the progress of the national vaccination plan,” according to the document.

While children ages zero to 12 are exempted, those older than 12 also must show proof of vaccination starting November 30, 2021, according to the Ministry.

Either paper or digital proof-of-vaccination cards will be accepted.

Houses of religious worship won’t be hit by the mandate for ordinary services, but will be hit for weddings, funeral services or similar mass events, according to the document.

As for shopping centers, proof-of-vaccination “will only be requested in spaces where public or private events are held, as in the cinema area, or at theme parks,” according to the Ministry.

As for residential complexes, routine entries aren’t hit by the mandate, but “meetings that are held in the social or communal rooms of the residential complexes” are hit. “Likewise, in any event that takes place in the common areas such as social gatherings or celebration of novenas,” such residential complexes must require proofs-of-vaccinations.

Medellin-based multinational gold mining giant Mineros SA announced November 15 that third quarter (3Q) 2021 profits fell 67% year-on-year, to US$8.2 million, as cost hikes in Nicaragua and Argentina hurt over-all results.

Corporate-wide gold production dipped by 1% year-on year, to 63,758 ounces, “in line with the company’s updated guidance for 2021,” according to Mineros.

Revenues dipped 1% year-on-year, to US$120 million, as the average realized price per ounce sold fell to US$1,782 in 3Q 2021 versus US$1,896 in 3Q 2020. “Key drivers were a decrease in average realized price of 6%, partially offset by a 4% increase in ounces sold,” according to the company.

Average cash costs in 3Q 2021 rose to US$1,235 per ounce, from US$1,020 in 3Q 2020, while all-in sustaining costs (AISC) rose to US$1,476/ounce, versus US$1,225 in 3Q 2020.

“The increase in average cash cost and AISC was a result of purchasing more material from artisanal miners at the Hemco Property [in Nicaragua] and higher production and sustaining costs at the Gualcamayo Property [in Argentina] as the mine nears end of life,” according to Mineros.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 38%, to $32.4 million, compared to $51.9 million in 3Q 2020.

Meanwhile, capital investments rose 35% year-on-year, to $25.7 million, including investments into existing mines along with exploration and evaluation projects.

On the health and safety front, “Mineros has vaccinated 100% of its employees at the head office in Medellin and over 90% of its employees at the Nechí Alluvial Property against Covid-19,” while in Argentina and Nicaragua, “Mineros employees are beginning to be vaccinated against Covid-19 through the respective countries’ [vaccination] programs,” according to Mineros added.

Medellin-based textiles and plastics-recycling giant Enka de Colombia reported November 12 net income of COP$42 billion (US$10.8 million) for nine-months 2021, a huge improvement over the COP$2.2 billion (US$566,000) net income in nine-months 2020.

Nine-months 2021 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) likewise have nearly tripled year-on-year, to COP$61 billion (US$15.7 million), while revenues hit COP$398 billion (US$102 million), up from COP$$254 billion (US$65 million ) in nine-months 2020.

“The construction of the new PET [polyethylene terephthalate] Bottle-to-Bottle recycling plant, which will double the installed capacity, is progressing smoothly with investments of COP$29.7 billion [US$7.6 million] -- 27% of the total investment -- and it is expected to start operations by the end of 2022,” according to Enka.

The positive results came despite negative macro impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months, including global demand weaknesses and logistics problems especially in maritime freight, the company noted.

Fortunately, Enka management had accelerated its acquisition and supply of many raw materials “before the severe shortages” emerged, according to the company.

As a result, by the end of September 2021, Enka’s total assets grew by COP$81 billion (US$20.8 million) year-on-year, to COP$693 billion (US$178 million), “mainly due to an increase in working capital derived from the increase in sales and higher international prices, and due to capital investments for projects in execution,” according to the company.

Total liabilities also increased, to COP$244 billion (US$62.8 million).

“The company continues with a positive financial position at the end of this quarter, with available cash of COP$44 billion [US$11 million] and a low net debt of COP$5.8 billion [US$1.5 million], even after making capital investments in the year for COP$32 billion [US$8.2 million], mainly in the new PET Bottle-to-Bottle recycling plant,” according to Enka.

As for sales of its various products in various markets so far this year, “sales in the local [Colombia] market increased by 65%, reaching COP$233 billion [US$60 million], while exports increased by 46%, ending at COP$164 billion (US$44 million), going from a share of 44% to 45% of the total,” according to Enka.

In the NAFTA market (United States, Mexico and Canada), sales grew by 56% year-on-year, “mainly in the industrial wire line, positioning Enka as a strategic supplier to the main tire manufacturers. Similarly, the Brazilian market recovered and grew by 47%, increasing its share to 18% of sales,” according to Enka.

As for its “green” line of recycled products, sales grew 23% year-on-year, to COP$110 billion (US$28 million), accounting for 30% of total corporate revenues. Exports represented 13% of the income of the “green” lines.

The “EKO PET” (13,027 tonnes output) plant operation “is at full capacity. Virgin PET supply restrictions continue due to the international freight situation and some production problems from large global suppliers that affect supply,” according to Enka.

As for “EKO Fibras” (8,317 tonnes), sales volume increased by 17% year-on-year “due to the recovery of local and Brazilian demand affected by Covid-19 in 2020 and due to difficulties in the supply of Asian products due to high rates of logistical restrictions,” according to the company.

As for “EKO Poliolefins” (1,281 tonnes), sales “decreased by 27% due to consumption in 2020 of high inventories generated at the start-up of the plant and due to the negative impact of the national strike [the ‘Paro Nacional’] in May 2021 on the collection of bottles. This year sales are adjusted to the availability of byproducts (caps and labels) from current recycling processes,” according to Enka.

As for all the “Eko Red” lines that involve recycling plastic bottles, “bottle collection continues to recover after the impact of the pandemic in 2020. Bottle collection was related to the national strike, which strongly affected recycling volumes in the south of the country and generated difficulties and logistical cost overruns in much of the national territory. However, it has since been possible to recover pre-Covid-19 levels,” the company added.

As for the textile and industrial businesses lines, these grew 55% year-on-year “due to the recovery of strategic markets and the high international prices of raw materials,” according to Enka.

“Exports represent 59% of the revenues of this business segment and 91% of Enka's total exports, reaching US$40 million,” the company added.

As for industrial yarns (9,775 tonnes), “volume increased 18%, mainly in canvas (+ 30%) due to its positioning in strategic clients,” according to Enka.

The “Hilo Técnico” line grew by 7%, “mainly in the USA and Colombia,” according to Enka.

Finally, the “textile filaments” line saw sales grow by 34% year-on-year “due to the recovery in demand previously affected by Covid-19 and difficulties in the importation of Asian products, mainly benefiting the sales of nylon filaments, which already exceeded to those of polyester filaments,” Enka added.

Medellin-based multinational insurance, health-care and financial-services giant Grupo Sura announced November 12 that its third quarter (3Q) 2021 net income skyrocketed by 192% year-on-year, to COP$445 billion (US$114 million).

Revenues rose 23% year-on-year, to COP$6.6 trillion (US$1.7 billion), the company added.

As for the first nine months of 2021, net income is up 181%, to COP$1.1 trillion (US$283 million), while revenues are up 17%, to COP$18 trillion (US$4.6 billion), according to the company.

“Grupo Sura continues to see an ongoing recovery with its different lines of business,” the company noted, citing economic recovery along with declining rates of Covid-19 infections.

“During 3Q 2021, revenues rose by 23.3%, given growths of 20.5% in written [insurance] premiums and 15.4% in fee and commission income, with investment income rising by 41.6%.

“Total costs and expenses rose by 15.5% compared to the same period last year and 20.6% for the third quarter alone. This growth is mainly due to the impacts of the pandemic that continued to affect [insurance division] Suramericana, bearing in mind that Covid-related costs and expense for nine months total COP$1.5 trillion [US$386 million] on a [nine-months 2021] year-to-date basis and COP$352 billion [US$90.6 million] for 3Q 2021,” the company added.

The Suramericana division has seen its health-care insurance premiums grow by 36% for the first nine months of 2021, while the life insurance segment gained 13% year-on-year, according to the company.

“On the other hand, retained claims rose by 27.9%, mainly due to the effects of the pandemic that, on a year-to-date basis at the end of September stood at COP$1.5 trillion [US$386 million] compared to COP$648 billion [US$167 million] for the same [nine-months] period last year,” according to Sura

“However, a slight decrease in the spread of Covid-19 compared to previous quarters accounted for an improvement in the company’s earnings, thereby producing a year-to-date net income [for the Suramericana division] of COP$4 billion [US$1 million], which is very much in line with the results obtained for the third quarter, at COP$4.7 billion [US$1.2 million],” the company added.

As for the Sura Asset Management investment division, “this subsidiary’s operating revenues reached COP$2.2 trillion [US$566 million] at the end of 3Q 2021, for a growth of 18.3% in pesos and 12.8% in local currency compared to the same period last year,” according to Sura.

“The 15.8% growth in fee and commission income -- as well as the improved revenues received via the equity method, mainly from [pension fund operator] Protección --reached COP$19.8 billion [US$5 million].

“The investment management and ‘Inversiones Sura’ lines of business continued to score double-digit growths at the end of 3Q 2021, both in assets-under-management as well as fee and commission income compared to the same period last year, thereby posting COP$33 billion [US$8.5 million] in net income.

“Thanks to all of the this, [Sura Asset Management] posted a net income figure of COP$525 billion [US$135 million] at the end of 3Q 2021, for a growth of 104.1% compared to the same period last year,” the company added.

As for Sura’s stock holdings in Medellin-based Bancolombia, Nutresa and Grupo Argos, “these produced a growth of 228.7% compared to [nine-months 2020], adding another COP$867 billion [US$223 million] to Grupo Sura’s bottom line,” according to the company.

“This improvement was mainly due to an increase with Bancolombia’s net income, along with a sustained growth with Nutresa’s bottom line and the recovery seen with that of Grupo Argos,” the company added.

Toronto-based Gran Colombia Gold – whose principal mining operations are in Antioquia – on November 11 announced third quarter (3Q) 2021 net income rose to US$25.3 million, up from US$18 million in 3Q 2020.

The profit boost came a result of lower tax expense and non-mining income, even as operating income actually fell year-on-year, according to GCC.

For the first nine months of 2021, net income soared to US$173.4 million, compared with US$23.7 million in the first nine months of 2020.

The profit boost “benefitted from ‘other income’ items including the $56.9 million gain on loss of control of Aris, a $52.1 million gain on financial instruments (compared with a $21.3 million loss on financial instruments in the first nine months last year) and the $8.9 million gain on sale of the Zancudo project,” according to GCC

GCC’s gold production from its Segovia, Antioquia mining operations totaled 49,848 ounces in 3Q 2021, down from 51,555 ounces in 3Q 2020. On the other hand, total gold production from Segovia for the first nine months of 2021 rose to 151,104 ounces compared with 146,278 ounces in the first nine months of 2020.

“The company remains on track with its annual production guidance and has narrowed the range to between 203,000 to 210,000 ounces of gold from Segovia in 2021,” according to GCC.

“Gran Colombia is adding revenue diversification at its Segovia operations through a new polymetallic recovery plant that will recover commercial quantities of zinc and lead as well as gold and silver into concentrate from its tailings. The company completed construction of the plant in the third quarter of 2021 and the plant is currently in the commissioning process with first concentrate production expected in the fourth quarter of this year,” the company added.

Sustaining capital expenditures at Segovia totaled $30.9 million in the first nine months of 2021, up from $22.2 million in the first nine months of 2020, “which reflected a slowdown in activity in 2020 during the Covid-19 national quarantine in Colombia that delayed many of the company’s initiatives until later in 2020,” according to GCC.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped to $39.9 million for 3Q 2021 compared with $56.7 million in 3Q 2020, while total adjusted EBITDA for the first nine months of 2021 dipped to $134.3 million compared with $144.7 million in the first nine months of 2020.


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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.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

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