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Medellin-based multinational insurance, health care and asset management giant Grupo Sura announced May 15 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 consolidated net income rose 94% year-on-year, hitting a quarterly record of COP$834 billion (US$185 million).

Gross revenues likewise rose 39% year-on-year, to COP$9.6 trillion (US$2.1 billion), according to the company.

Citing the historic results, Sura explained that “at the end of 1Q [2023] the following accounting effects should be taken into account: SURA Asset Management incorporated new subsidiaries including [pension-fund manager] Protección, AFP Crecer and the new insurance company Asulado,” while depreciation of the Colombian peso against other currencies also affected results.

Meanwhile, “total costs and expense increased by 33% for the latest quarter, with operating earnings amounting to COP$1.4 trillion [US$311 million], for an increase of 80% compared to the same period last year,” the company added.

Grupo SURA's portfolio of subsidiaries and part-ownership in other companies showed the following results:

Suramericana: “This subsidiary recorded an all-time high net income totaling COP$318 billion [US$70.7 million] due to double-digit growth of the revenues obtained by all three insurance segments: Life (20%), Property and Casualty (29%) and Health Care (24%). This was coupled with a stable claims rate and a year-on-year increase in investment income of 122%.”

SURA Asset Management: “This subsidiary obtained a controlling net income of COP$206 billion [US$45.8 million] as a result of higher fee and commission income and the recovery seen with its legal reserves, together with a 35% growth in operating revenues, after adjusting for the effects of having consolidated Protección, AFP Crecer and Asulado as subsidiaries, in addition to the depreciation of the Colombian peso.”.

Investments in Bancolombia, Grupo Argos and Grupo Nutresa: Grupo SURA's income “also reflects the contributions made by [stock holdings in] associated companies that form part of its portfolio. Revenues via the equity method totaled COP$575 billion [US$128 million], for an increase of 6% compared to the first quarter of 2022. This reflects Bancolombia's positive return on equity (ROE), the double-digit increase in all of Grupo Nutresa's business lines and higher earnings on the part of Grupo Argos,” the company added.

Medellin-based textiles and plastics-recycling giant Enka announced May 12 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income dropped 66% year-on-year, to COP$4.59 billion (US$1.01 million), versus COP$13.8 billion (US$3.05 million) in 1Q 2022.

Revenues likewise slipped to COP$146 billion (US$32.3 million), versus COP$156 billion (US$34.5 million) in 1Q 2022.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization dropped by nearly half, to COP$9.1 billion (US$2.01 million) versus COP$17 billion (US$3.7 million) in 1Q 2022.

Declines in profits and sales came largely from “residual effects of the supply situation continuing from 2022 due to the conflict in Ukraine,” according to Enka.

On the other hand, “the approval processes for products from the new Eko-Pet [waste-plastics recycling] plant are advancing positively both in Colombia and abroad, which will boost the results in the coming months when recurring sales of this product begin,” the company added.

During 1Q 2023, Enka saw “signs of a slowdown in demand in some of our strategic markets and a greater competitive presence in Asia, after normalizing sanitary restrictions and logistics costs,” according to the company.

“This situation presents a major challenge for the company, since it has generated a reduction in international prices and makes it difficult to transfer to the sale price of inventory cost overruns caused by the war between Ukraine and Russia and inflationary increase in costs and expenses,” the company added.

Operating income dipped 6.3% year-on-year, to COP$146 billion (US$32.3 million), “as a consequence of a lower sales volume (-5%) and lower international prices,” according to Enka.

“Net profit also presents a decrease compared to 2022, as a consequence of the lower operating result and the increase in financial costs, mitigated by a positive result due to exchange difference from the revaluation of the Colombian peso against the U.S. dollar,” the company added.

“In the first quarter of 2023, exports reached US$14.6 million, similar to the levels of the previous year. However, the mix of destinations presents some changes due to the lower demand of some destinations, especially North America, which was offset by sales to Europe, Peru and Chile.”

In its “green” business lines (from recycling waste plastics), “accumulated revenues were COP$48 billion [US$ million], a decrease of 2.3% compared to the year above, mainly due to lower international prices that offset the higher 4% sales volume.”

Green products now account for 33% of sales, including “Eko-Pet,” “Eko-Fibras” and “Eko-Polyolefins” products.

As for its conventional textiles lines – accounting for 66% of all sales -- “revenues for the quarter were COP$97 billion [US$21.4 million], 8% lower than the year above, mainly due to the slowdown in demand in all businesses and due to lower international prices,” of which exports amounted to US$13.5 million.

As for its rest-of-2023 outlook, Enka expects to see “low economic growth worldwide, which will make competition more intense, especially in markets with an Asian presence,” according to the company.

Nevertheless, “we are convinced that the strategy defined by Enka over the years -- where the sustainability and added value are decisive -- will allow us to continue growing and strengthening our competitive position in strategic markets,” the company added.


Medellin-based highway construction giant Construcciones El Condor on May 12 posted a COP$31.6 billion (US$6.8 million) net loss for first quarter (1Q) 2023, more than triple the COP$9.2 billion (US$2.03 million) net loss in 1Q 2022.

However, revenues from ordinary activities rose 36% year-on-year, totaling COP$219 billion (US$48.3 million), versus COP$151 billion (US$33.3 million) in 1Q 2022.

The revenue boost “reflects the upward curve in the execution of the following works: EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] with the Rio Magdalena Highway Concessions, public works at the El Toyo [Antioquia highway tunnel) project and the Putumayo highway project with Invias [Colombia’s national highway agency],” according to El Condor.

Operating costs during 1Q 2023 rose 67% year-on-year, to COP$223 billion (US$49 million), resulting in a net-negative gross margin, at -1.51% for the latest quarter.

“This result in 1Q 2023 is mainly due to deficits in highway construction consortia that are in the [financial] closing stage, including Consorcio Farallones and Consorcio Aburra Norte, along with execution of the final stage of some projects such as the EPC Ruta al Mar and the EPC Pacifico 3 and for the pre-operational stage of the EPC Ruta al Sur,” the company added.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) likewise declined year-on-year, to COP$12.6 billion (US$2.78 million) down from COP$33 billion (US$7.3 million) in 1Q 2022

“Interest expense increased by 147.39% compared to the same period in 2022, all due to increases in interest rates,” the company noted.

Net quarterly losses “will continue to occur for several periods while the concessions begin to generate accounting profit, a behavior that obeys the normal cycle of the concessions due to their project-finance nature,” the company added.

Meanwhile, El Condor’s assets at the end of 1Q 2023 totaled COP$2.42 trillion (US$534 million), while liabilities closed at COP$1.46 trillion (US$322 million), of which current liabilities were 86% and non-current at 14%.

“The company's indebtedness decreased with respect to the end of the first quarter of 2022, by 3.11%, due to payment of debt,” according to El Condor.

Construction backlog – defined as works under-contract and to-be-constructed -- now stands at COP$2.78 trillion (US$614 million), the company added.

Medellin-based international banking giant Bancolombia announced May 10 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income dipped almost 1% year-on-year, to COP$1.7 trillion (US$369 million).

“Annualized return on equity (ROE) at the consolidated level was 17.7% for the latest quarter and 19.0% for the last twelve months,” according to the company.

“Gross loans amount to COP$267 trillion [US$58 billion], decreasing 1.0% compared to the last quarter of 2022. It is important to highlight the 3.4% appreciation of the Colombian Peso against the U.S. dollar that impacted the loan balance.

“The operation in Colombia and Banistmo in Panama were the main contributors for the credit portfolio contraction on a consolidated basis,” the company added.

Total provision charges on past-due loans for 1Q 2023 were COP$2.046 trillion (US$444 million), up 17.5% when compared to 4Q 2022, “led by credit deterioration mainly in the consumer portfolio,” according to Bancolombia.

“Basic solvency stood at 9.75% and the total consolidated solvency ratio was 12.01% for 1Q 2023, complying with the minimum regulatory requirements,” the company added.

As for its digital banking strategy, “Bancolombia maintains an encouraging growth trend. As of March 2023, the bank has 7.8 million active digital customers in the retail APP (over a period of three months), as well as 22.2 million accounts in its financial inclusion platforms (6.6 million users in ‘Bancolombia a la Mano’ and 15.6 million in ‘Nequi’),” according to the company.

As of March 31, 2023, Bancolombia's consolidated assets totaled COP$349 trillion (US$75.7 billion), down1.0% versus 4Q 20 but up 19.9% compared to 1Q 2022.

“The variation in total assets during the last year is largely explained by loan book growth,” according to the company

“During the latest quarter, the peso appreciated 3.4% against the U.S. dollar and depreciated 23.7% in the last 12 months. The average exchange rate was 11.8% higher in 1Q 2023 versus 4Q 2022, and 21.6% higher in the last 12 months,” the company added.

“In 1Q 2023, gross loans declined 1.0% compared to 4Q 2022 (increasing 0.3% when excluding the foreign-exchange effect) and rose 20.1% compared to 1Q 2022. During the last 12 months peso-denominated loans grew 14.0% and the dollar-denominated loans (expressed in U.S. dollars) grew 7.0%.

“At the end of 1Q 2023, Banco Agricola operations in El Salvador, Banistmo in Panama and BAM in Guatemala represented 28.7% of total gross loans. 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 36.7% of the portfolio, and decreased 0.9% in the quarter (when expressed in COP).

“Total reserves (provisions in the balance sheet) for loan losses increased 6.7% during the quarter and totaled COP$16.513 trillion [US$3.58 billion] or 6.2% of the gross loans at the end of the quarter.

“During 1Q 2023, for the first time since 2020, the credit portfolio experienced a quarterly contraction. Such decrease is partially explained by the Colombian peso appreciation that impacted the balance on foreign subsidiaries.

“The largest decrease took place in the commercial portfolio both in absolute value and in percentage change (-1.2%).

“In consumer lending, the loan reduction was led by Bancolombia S.A. in line with the strong pick-up in interest rates and the lower credit demand, which was reflected in the decline of personal loans and credit card balances,” the company added.

Medellin-based Grupo Argos – parent of subsidiaries Cementos Argos (cement/concrete), electric power producer Celsia and highways/airports concessionaire Odinsa – announced May 10 that its first quarter (1Q) net income jumped 81% year-on-year, to COP$570 billion (US$124 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) likewise rose 28%, to COP$1.6 trillion (US$349 million) and revenues rose 25%, to COP$5.7 trillion (US$1.24 billion).

Highlighting the 1Q 2023 results, Grupo Argos noted that Cementos Argos achieved 39% EBITDA growth Colombia, 2% in Central America 2% and 77% in the U.S.

“For its part, Celsia continued to consolidate its solar and power transmission and distribution platforms, which translated into a 13% growth in consolidated EBITDA,” the company noted.

“Odinsa registered a growth of passengers in its airport concessions, reaching 18%, while in roads it registered a growth in traffic of 3%,” the company added.

“During the quarter, Fitch Ratings confirmed Opain's BB+ rating and improved its outlook to stable given the recovery in traffic that the El Dorado Airport [Bogota] has been showing.”

Meanwhile, Grupo Argos' urban-development business “recorded extraordinary results with a cash flow that was almost 500% higher than the same period of the previous year. This business has guaranteed income of COP$400 billion [US$87 million] in the next five years,” according to the company.

“Since 2019, the urban development business not only has provided Grupo Argos with income in its separate states of close to COP$1 trillion [US$218 million], but also has positively transformed the growth of Barranquilla and Barú with the best planning standards and the development of urban infrastructure and first class hotels,” the company added.

Vancouver, Canada-based Aris Mining (formerly Gran Colombia Gold) – owner of one of Colombia’s most productive gold mines at Segovia, Antioquia -- announced May 10 a US$5.4 million net loss for first quarter (1Q) 2023, down from a US$5.2 million net profit in 1Q 2022.

Gross income from mining operations in 1Q 2023 came-in at US$33.2 million -- down from US$44 million in 1Q 2022 -- while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped to US$$21.1 million, from US$35 million in 1Q 2022.

Commenting on the results, Aris Mining CEO Neil Woodyer noted that company produced 50,903 ounces of gold during 1Q 2023 at Segovia and also at its Marmato mine in Caldas, Colombia.

“Our current focus is on completing the final steps for permitting the Marmato Lower Mine expansion project and planning for construction expected to commence in mid-2023,” according to Woodyer.

The company sold 49,158 ounces of gold during the latest quarter, at an average realized price of US$1,869 per ounce.

The Segovia raw-ore processing facility averaged 2,097 tons per day in April 2023 and “remains on track to achieve 2023 production guidance of 200,000 to 230,000 ounces” of gold, according to the company.

During 1Q 2023, Aris reported total cash costs of US$922 per ounce produced and all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of US$1,214 per ounce.

On a related front, on April 20, 2023, the company signed an association agreement with more artisanal and small-scale miners to purchase ore mined by these groups at the currently operating Marmato Upper Mine.

The company also “continued working to create new partnerships with artisanal and small-scale miners throughout the Segovia Operations, the Marmato Mine and the Soto Norte Project [Santander, Colombia], the company added.

Medellin-based multinational gold miner Mineros SA announced May 9 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income rose 47% year-on-year, to US$15.4 million -- all thanks to a one-time insurance payment for accidental destruction of mining equipment at its alluvial operation in Colombia.

However, revenues actually declined by 5% year-on-year, to US$118 million, “explained by the reduction in the number of ounces sold, by lower production in Gualcamayo [Argentina] and a temporary suspension in Nechí [Colombia] due to the mining strike, “according to the company.

Cost of sales declined 7% “explained by lower maintenance and material costs, lower labor costs and the effect of the devaluation of local currencies,” according to Mineros.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 1% “as the reduction in revenues was offset by lower costs,” according the company.

All-in-sustaining costs (AISC) were stable thanks to cost reductions, compensating for lower revenues, according to Mineros.

Production at its Gualcamayo, Argentina mine fell 31% year-on-year, accounting for a 51% drop in gross profit there.

As for the rest-of-2023 outlook, Mineros sees gold production “in a range between 264,000 292,000 ounces” with an estimated cash-cost-per-ounce of gold sold between US$1,160 and US$1,250. AISC per ounce of gold sold is seen at between US$1,400 and US$1,490, according to the company.

Medellin-based electric power multinational Celsia announced May 9 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income fell 26.3% year-on-year, to COP$122 billion (US$26.8 million) -- mainly because of higher financial expenses and government-mandated cuts in power tariffs.

Revenues rose 15% year-on-year, to COP$1.5 trillion (US$330 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 13%, to COP$514 billion (US$113 million), according to the company.

Operations in Colombia produced COP$1.35 trillion (US$297 million) in revenues, accounting for 90% of the total, while Central America added COP$145 billion (US$32 million).

Colombia EBITDA accounted for COP$472 billion (US$104 million) with Central American adding COP$42 billion (US$9 million). EBITDA margin for the latest quarter was 34.1%.

Financial expenses rose 138% year-on-year due to higher interest rates and inflation.

Income taxes dipped 31.6% year-on-year, to COP$64.2 billion (US$14 million) “mainly due to lower income before taxes,” according to the company.

Celsia closed 1Q 2023 with consolidated debt at COP$5.69 trillion (US$1.25 billion) and a leverage ratio of 2.89 times net debt-to-EBITDA, while average life of the company's debt stood at 5.63 years.

“Asset management and investment platforms allow us to grow rapidly,” added Celsia CEO Ricardo Sierra. “At the beginning of the year we put new solar assets and distribution infrastructure into operation.”

Transmission assets and operations -- now valued at COP$2.06 trillion (US$441 million) -- grew 33.1% in revenues in the latest quarter.

The “C2 Energía” solar-power unit “grew significantly in revenue reaching more than COP$17.4 billion [US$3.8 million] and more than COP$14.4 billion [US$3 million] in EBITDA. This unit now has 166-megawatts (MW) of power capacity in operation and 133-MW under construction,” according to Celsia

So far this year, Celsia has put seven new solar-power farms into operation in Colombia: five in Tolima department and two in Valle del Cauca, the company added.

Meanwhile, Celsia just sold several power-gen assets in Panama and Costa Rica, netting the company COP$900 billion (US$198 million). With those new revenues, “over the next three years, we plan to multiply our solar energy capacity in the region by almost four times, going from 55-MW to 200-MW,” according to the company.


Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos announced May 9 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income skyrocketed 10-fold year-on-year, hitting COP$118 billion (US$26 million), its best-ever 1Q in history.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) likewise jumped 71% year-on-year, to COP$593 billion (US$131 million), while revenues rose 31%, to COP$3.38 trillion (US$747.7 million), according to the company.

Exports from its Cartagena, Colombia plant to the United States grew by 81% during the latest quarter, boosting both revenues and profits.

“Grupo Argos continues to show the benefits of its geographical diversification and its presence in the United States,” according to the company.

“These results account for the successful execution of our pricing strategy, efficient cost management and stable dynamics in the markets where the company operates,” according to Argos.

“On a consolidated basis, the company dispatched 3.9 million tons of cement, 0.6% less than in the first quarter of 2022 -- an impact caused, to a large extent, by the slight declines in the Colombian market.

“On the other hand, volumes of concrete were 1.7 million cubic meters, with a slight decrease of 2.3%. This was mainly due to unfavorable weather conditions in the United States,” the company added.

“In the first quarter of the year we experienced stable market dynamics in most of the territories in which we have a presence, sequential improvements in costs, especially in fuels, energy and, in some cases, raw materials, and mixed macroeconomic signals that keep us optimistic about medium-term trends,” according to Cementos Argos president Juan Esteban Calle.

USA Highlights

So far this year, U.S. cement volumes rose 7.1%, to 1.5 million tons, “leveraged by the import of product, favored by our extensive logistics network of ports and terminals,” according to Argos.

“Concrete shipments decreased by 2.5%, to 1.1 million cubic meters, affected to a large extent by detrimental weather conditions in the region, specifically in Georgia.”

U.S. operations saw revenues rise 22% year-on-year, to US$416 million, while EBITDA rose 77%, to US$65 million, with EBITDA margin up 483 basis points.

Colombia Highlights

Colombian cement volumes dipped 4.6 % year-on-year, to 1.4 million tons, "mainly impacted by the drop in the local market and the closure of the main road between Popayán and Pasto, which altered efficiency supply logistics to the southwest of the country,” according to Argos.

Concrete volume likewise dipped 4.3%, to 621 million cubic meters, the company added.

“Of total shipments, Colombian sales volumes abroad were 345 million tons, with an increase of 16%,” according to Argos.

“In a challenging environment, Colombia revenues reached COP$712 billion [US$157 million], 13% higher than the same quarter of 2022. In addition, EBITDA stood at COP$181 billion [US$40 million], 39% higher than last year,” the company added.

Caribbean and Central America Highlights

In this region, Argos cement shipments dipped 5.2% year-on-year, to 1 million tons, while concrete volumes rose 22% year-on-year, to 71 million cubic meters.

“This slight impact is the result of Argos' strategy of replacing trading volumes with exports from its Cartagena plant to supply its markets in the region,” according to the company.

For the Caribbean/Central America region, Argos revenues rose 5% year-on-year, to US$145 million, while EBITDA grew by 2%, to US$30 million.

“These results were leveraged to a large extent by the satisfactory recovery of cement volumes in Panama and the Dominican Republic, which increased by 21% and 14%, respectively, and the commitment to new products that diversify Argos' value proposition,” the company added.


Medellin-based multinational electric power and utilities giant Grupo EPM announced May 3 that its first quarter (1Q) 2023 net income rose 27% year-on-year, to COP$1.6 trillion (US$346 million).

Revenues also rose 22% year-on-year, to COP$9 trillion (US$1.94 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 29%, to COP$2.9 trillion (US$627 million).

The city of Medellin -- EPM’s sole owner -- netted COP$299 billion (US$64.6 million) in transfers as a result of the profitable quarter.

EPM’s electric-power distribution segment accounted for 43% of EBITDA, at COP$1.3 trillion (US$281 million), up 16% year-on-year. That growth “was due to a greater amount of energy sold at a higher unit price and increased revenue from the financing of public services,” according to the company.

Electric power generation – boosted by the recent entry-into-service of the Hidroituango hydropower plant in Antioquia – accounted for 34% of EBITDA, at COP$1 trillion (US$216 million). This segment saw growth of 49% year-on-year, thanks to greater amounts of power generation and higher sales prices.

During 1Q 2023, EPM’s total energy generation rose 14% year-on-year, to 5,025 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with 16% coming from the first two generation units at Hidroituango.

EPM subsidiaries providing drinking water, wastewater management and solid waste management collectively accounted for 16% of the group's EBITDA, up 23% year-on-year thanks to more users, greater consumption and higher prices, according to the company.

Total costs and expenses at Grupo EPM rose 22% year-on-year, hitting COP$6.6 trillion (US$1.42 billion), “explained by the costs of commercial operation due to greater purchases of energy at higher prices” as well as higher costs of finance and labor, along with unfavorable currency exchange-rates, the company added.

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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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