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Medellin-based construction giant Conconcreto announced March 1 that its full year 2022 net profit rose to COP$61 billion (US$12.5 million), up from a COP$200 billion (US$41 million) net loss in 2021.

Revenues also rose 67% year-on-year, hitting COP$1.35 trillion (US$278 million), from COP$812 billion (US$167 million) in 2021, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 40%, to COP$287 billion (US$59 million).

Despite relatively high interest rates and inflation, Conconcreto saw big improvements “thanks to the construction business in Colombia and in the U.S., in addition to our investments in concessions and the Pactia private capital fund,” according to the company.

During 2022, Conconcreto refocused its investments toward specialized construction, engineering and design, and operation and rental of assets, having now finished its work at the still-under-construction, US$5 billion “Hidroituango” hydroelectric plant in Antioquia.

“After more than 10 years of execution, the construction contract for Hidroituango hydroelectric project ended on November 30,” the company noted.

“During the fourth quarter of 2022, Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) confirmed that the first two Hidroituango turbines are generating energy, thanks to the commitment and work of Conconcreto and other members of the CCC Ituango Consortium.”

Meanwhile, Conconcreto also successfully exited what it determined to be an unprofitable contract for the “Ruta 40” highway project in Colombia. “This transaction mitigates risks of trapping liquidity in long-term contracts and limits losses due to inflationary uncertainty, high interest rates and the global economy,” according to the company

Despite exiting the Ruta 40 project, construction backlog closed at COP$2.7 trillion (US$555 million), “equivalent to 2.7 years of income, with the business in the U.S. accounting for a 54% share,” according to the company.

Medellin-based Grupo Argos – parent of Cementos Argos, power producer Celsia and highways/airport concessionaire Odinsa – announced February 28 that its full-year 2022 net income rose 19% year-on-year, to COP$1.4 trillion (US$289 million).

Revenues rose 31% year-on-year, to COP$21.3 trillion (US$4.4 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 21%, to COP$5.2 trillion (US$1.07 billion).

“The outstanding figures were accompanied by a de-leveraging policy that during the last three years implied a decrease in net debt of more than COP$3 trillion [US$619.6 million],” according to Argos.

On a related front, “Grupo Argos, Cementos Argos and Celsia will submit to their shareholders' meetings the authorization to carry out a share repurchase program for an aggregate amount that could exceed COP$1.0 trillion [US$206.6 million],” the company added.

“Cementos Argos reported the highest operating EBITDA in its history, reaching COP$2.1 trillion [US$434 million] and closed with a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 2.8 times, the lowest in the last nine years.

“Cementos Argos achieved a record export of 1.2 million tons, representing a 28% increase over 2021. Ready-mix volumes in Colombia increased 14%, driven by year-over-year growth in construction licenses in the country close to 30%.

“Celsia achieved historic results with revenues that reached COP$5.6 trillion [US$1.15 billion] and an EBITDA close to COP$1.8 trillion [US$372 million], growing 30% compared to the previous year. With its capabilities in solar generation, Celsia continues to consolidate itself as a key player in Colombia’s energy transition

“Odinsa [highways/airports] closed 2022 with a full recovery of road and airport traffic, which grew 15% and 63%, respectively,” the company added. “Traffic from highway concessions ended the year at more than 39 million vehicles.”

“We celebrate the results of the year 2022 that constitute the highest in the history of the Argos business group and ratify the fundamentals of the organization and the commitment to generate value with our shareholders,” said Grupo Argos President Jorge Mario Velásquez.

Medellin-based insurance, asset management and health-care multinational Grupo Sura announced February 28 that its full-year 2022 net income jumped 47% year-on-year, to COP$2.1 trillion (US$488 million).

Revenues also rose by 26% year-on-year, to a record COP$31.4 trillion (US$7.36 billion), the seventh straight year of revenue hikes (averaging 15.6% over those seven years).

The good performance was “driven by the recovery of Suramericana [insurance division[, the resilience of Sura Asset Management and the positive performance of Grupo Bancolombia, Grupo Nutresa and Grupo Argos,” the latter three in which Sura has equity interests, the company noted.

Adjusted return on equity stood at 9.9%, compared to 7.9% the previous year, “higher than what was budgeted at the beginning of the year.”

Sura also “improved its leverage indicator with a reduction in the ratio of net debt to dividends received from its investments from a multiple of 6.6 times to 3.9, thus advancing in our de-leveraging process,” according to the company.

“Despite a more challenging regional and global environment, the five strategic investments in the portfolio showed good dynamics in 2022. This gives us a very positive perspective on the expected cash flow of Grupo Sura for 2023 and will allow us to improve our debt indicators, as part of the gradual de-leveraging process,” added Sura vice-president Ricardo Jaramillo.

Grupo Sura’s equity closed 2022 at COP$33.7 trillion (US$7.01 billion), up 21% compared to 2021, the company added.

In the insurance division, profit boosts came from a 24% annual increase in retained premiums (COP$21.7 trillion/US$4.47 billion), including a 17% hike in life-insurance retained premiums and a 19% hike in health premiums, while “expense controls partially mitigated the increase in accidents, particularly in autos and health, which began to stabilize towards the end of the year,” according go Sura.

At Sura Asset Management, “results for 2022 were resilient in a difficult year for capital markets and a more challenging macroeconomic environment,” according to the company.

This division showed a net profit of COP$440.6 billion (US$104 million) “driven by the recovery of income from investments in the fourth quarter,” despite a “slight decrease of 4% in savings for retirement (pensions),” according to the company.

“During the last year we sought to mitigate with operational efficiencies, reduction of expenses and a positive performance of the labor markets in the region, effects such as lower returns from the financial markets and the regulatory reduction of the commission rate in Mexico,” said Ignacio Calle, President of Sura Asset Management.

Medellin-based multinational supermarket and dry-goods retailer Grupo Éxito S.A. announced February 27 that its full-year 2022 net income fell 79% year-on-year, to COP$99 billion (US$20.8 million), from COP$474 billion (US$99.6 million) in 2021.

Revenues rose 22% year-on-year, to COP$19.7 trillion (US$4.1 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rose 8.3% year-on-year, to COP$1.66 trillion (US$349 million), according to the company.

Consolidated income data include results from Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina along with business eliminations.

The rise in revenues and recurring EBITDA came from “omni-channel (+18.9%) and innovation (40% share), despite inflationary pressures across the region,” according to Éxito.

“Other revenue grew 6% during 2022 and reflected improved performance of complementary businesses -- mainly real estate (+8.5%) -- despite a higher base of development fees and property sales,” according to the company.

The decline in net income is explained by “higher financial expenses (interest rates +827 basis points vs 4Q 2021), higher provisions of [online purchasing channel] TUYA -- required due to increased loans issued by 25.6% -- and other non-cash effects such as higher deferred tax in Colombia and Argentina and inflationary adjustments,” according to Éxito.

“Innovative formats reached a 40% share at consolidated level (41% in Colombia, +23 basis points versus 2021). The ‘Fresh Market’ model represented 59.6% of Carulla segment in Colombia, 52.9% in Uruguay and 29% in Argentina,” the company added.

During 2022, the company opened, converted or refurbished 92 stores -- 78 in Colombia, five in Uruguay and nine in Argentina, according to Éxito.

At year-end 2022, Grupo Éxito owned more than 2,000 stores, including food supermarkets, outlet stores and convenience stores. Among the 619 supermarkets, 492 were in Colombia, 94 in Uruguay and 33 in Argentina.

Medellin-based multinational banking giant Bancolombia announced February 24 that its fourth-quarter (4Q) 2022 net income rose 66% year-on-year, to COP$6.8 trillion (US$1.4 billion).

Gross loans increased 22.5% year-on-year, or 14.6% when excluding depreciation of the Colombian peso (COP) against the U.S. dollar during 2022.

“Thirty-day past-due loans stood at 3.24% and 90-day past due loans at 2.16%,” while total credit provision charges “represent a cost of risk of 1.6% as a percentage of gross loans, reflecting a gradual normalization of the credit cycle,” according to Bancolombia.

“Basic solvency stood at 10.37% and the total consolidated solvency ratio was 12.79% for 2022, surpassing considerably the minimum regulatory requirements,” the company added.

Digital banking continues to grow, with 7 million active customers using the company’s retail app and another 21.5 million accounts tapping financial inclusion platforms including 6.6 million users in “Bancolombia a la Mano” and 14.9 million in the “Nequi” platform.

“As of December 31, 2022, assets on a consolidated basis totaled COP$352.8 trillion (US$72.8 billion), which represents an increase of 21.7% compared to 4Q 2021. The increase in total assets during the last year is largely explained by growth in the loan book,” according to the company.

“During the last 12 months, peso-denominated loans grew 18.2% and the dollar-denominated loans (expressed in U.S. dollars) grew 8.1%,” the company added.

Operations at Banco Agricola in El Salvador, Banistmo in Panama and BAM in Guatemala represented 29.4% of total gross loans for 4Q 2022.

“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 37.3% of the portfolio, and decreased 1.5% (as expressed in U.S. dollars) during the quarter,” according to the company.

During 4Q 2022, the loan portfolio “exhibited a slowdown on a consolidated basis compared to the second and third quarter of 2022. The operation in Colombia displayed the largest expansion of the portfolio, reporting an increase of 3.7% in the quarter,” the company added.

“In volume, the commercial segment showed the highest growth, while the slower pace of the consumer portfolio is evident as a result of the increase in interest rates.”

Inside Colombia, “the loan portfolio of Bancolombia S.A. reported an increase of 3.7% in the quarter and 18.7% in 2022. The slowdown in the economy´s pace of growth starts to be reflected in originations. For 4Q 2022, there is a deceleration compared to the second and third quarters of the year. The segment with the greatest expansion during the quarter was home lending, growing 4.9%,” according to the company.

For Colombia operations, 4Q 2022 net income dipped 5.6% versus third quarter (3Q) 2022. “It is evident that the pace of growth shows a deceleration as a result of a greater increase in the cost of funding when compared to the interest income,” according to the company.

In Panama, “loans at Banistmo decreased 2.4% in 4Q 2022 compared to the previous quarter (calculated in U.S. dollars). This variation is explained largely by the commercial portfolio, in line with year-end seasonality when typically, some corporate clients close the year with a lower balance on debt,” according to the company.

Despite the loan slowdown, Banistmo in 4Q 2022 recorded its best quarterly profit for the year, thanks to higher interest rates and “good performance on investments income from debt securities operations and derivatives,” according to the company.

Medellin-based multinational electric power transmission, telecom and highways-concessionaire giant ISA announced February 23 that its full-year 2022 net income rose 32% year-on-year, to COP$2.2 trillion (US$453 million), from COP$1.66 trillion (US$342 million) in 2021.

Gross income rose 14.4%, to COP$10.3 trillion (US$2.1 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 11.3%, to COP$8.56 trillion (US$1.7 billion), according to the company.

During 2022, ISA built seven new power-transmission projects as well as a large-scale battery-storage project in Brazil. “These projects generate a total annual remuneration of approximately US$167 million, and add more than 2,200 kilometers of circuit to the transmission network,” according to ISA.

On the other hand, power-tariff reductions mandated by the Colombian government cut operating income by approximately COP$60 billion (US$12.3 million), the company added.

As for Panama future operations, “ISA made a capital contribution to ICP Panama totaling COP$15 billion (US$3.1 million), which will be used to finance the expenses related to feasibility studies of the electrical interconnection” between Colombia and Panama.

As for fourth quarter (4Q) 2022 results, net income dipped 4% year-on-year, to COP $433 billion (US$89 million), but EBITDA rose 5%, to COP$2.1 trillion (US$432 million), according to the company.

“Excluding 2022 non-recurring expenses [including asset impairments hitting the Internexa interconnections between Brazil and Argentina] and 2021 re-profiling of Interchile's debt and the change in the income tax rate in Colombia, the profit for fourth quarter grew 15%,” the company added.

“This increase is mainly from boosts in contractual income from the operations in Colombia and Chile and the entry of new projects, which made it possible to mitigate the lower revenues in Brazil due to the behavior of the IPCA [inflation index], non-recurring income from the recognition of the cost of capital not received this year but recorded in 2Q 2021, and the higher expenses due to the effect of higher inflation rates, mainly in Chile,” according to ISA.

Net assets rose 28% year-on-year, to COP$78.7 trillion (US$16 billion), while consolidated financial debt rose 21%, to COP$34.1 trillion (US$7 billion), the company added.

In ISA’s highways-concessions businesses, the company expanded operations at the “Troncal Quinta” toll on Chile’s principal “Route 5,” while in Colombia, ISA marked a  first full year of revenue-generating operations of the “Ruta Costera” toll road.

In its telecommunications division, “in a year of great challenges in business and markets, the company achieved a customer satisfaction level of 8.41, improving two points compared to the previous year,” ISA added.


Medellin-based multinational foods giant Grupo Nutresa announced February 23 that its full-year 2022 net profit rose 30.4% year-on-year, to COP$883 billion (US$182 million).

Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 28.6%, to COP$1.97 trillion (US$405 million), while EBITDA margin came-in at 11.6% of sales.

Net post-operative expenses, at COP$245 billion (US$50 million) “reflected the increasing cost of debt due to higher financing rates,” according to Nutresa.

Consolidated revenues rose 33.8%, to COP$17 trillion (US$3.5 billion), the company added.

In Colombia, revenues rose 29.9%, to COP$10.1 trillion (US$2.08 billion), “based on positive dynamics across all channels and in the main categories where the company participates,” with Colombia representing 59.3% of total corporate revenues.

International sales as measured in Colombian pesos rose 39.7% year-on-year, totaling COP$6.9 trillion (US$1.4 billion), whereas sales measured in U.S. dollars rose 22.5% year-on-year, to US$1.6 billion, according to Nutresa.

“Exports from Colombia totaled US$445 million, which represented a growth rate of 33.9%,” according to the company.

While costs rose because of “global logistics disruptions and the increase in commodities costs,|” the company employed effective offsets with ”strategic hedging and timely and efficient sourcing strategies,” according to Nutresa.

“These actions resulted in a 21.7% growth rate in terms of gross profit, for a total of COP$6.2 trillion [US$1.27 billion],” the company added.

“All the expense categories grew at a lower rate than the revenues, which as a result resulted in an operating profit of COP$1.5 trillion [US$208 million], a 36.3% growth compared to the previous year,” according to Nutresa.

Medellin-based electric power giant Celsia – a division of Grupo Argos – on February 21 announced an 18.7% year-on-year decline in 2022 net income --at COP$442.8 billion (US$89.6 million), versus COP$544 billion (US$110 million) in 2021.

Gross revenues rose 36% year-on-year, to COP$5.58 trillion (US$1.13 billion) in 2022, versus COP$4.1 trillion (US$830 million) in 2021.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 30% year-on-year, to COP$1.7 trillion (US$344 million), versus COP$1.28 trillion (US$259 million) in 2021.

The decline in net income came from “higher financial costs and a higher level of taxation,” according to Celsia.

The boost in revenues came from “a greater amount of energy sold” in Colombia, although Panama sales suffered from a decline in hydropower at its Celsia Dos Mares complex.

During fourth quarter (4Q) 2022, revenues rose 46% year-on-year, with Colombia representing 92% of the total, according to Celsia.

“The fourth quarter was framed by short-term events in the sector, especially the related to the reduction of electricity tariffs promoted by the Colombian national government,” according to Celsia.

“Celsia’s energy customers in Valle del Cauca and Tolima received a reduction in electricity rates on the bill they received from the months of November and December 2022.

“With the accumulated reduction of both months, the rate in these regions decreased between 2.5% and 8%, depending on the particular conditions of each market.

“As a generator, Celsia made an average decrease in the price of close to 9% to the marketers with whom it has contracts for the sale of energy,” the company added.

Medellin-based multinational gold miner Mineros SA announced February 20 that its full-year 2022 net income fell 88% year-on-year, to COP$19 billion (US$3.8 million), from COP$$162 billion (US$32.6 million) in 2021.

“The net result was significantly impacted by COP$196 billion [US$39.5 million] of asset impairment expenses, mainly on the Gualcamayo mine property in Argentina due to higher exploration expenses and an increase in current and deferred taxes,” according to Mineros.

Corporate-wide revenues rose 21% year-on-year, to COP$39 billion (US$7.8 million), boosted by an increase in gold production along with a 7% devaluation of the Colombian peso versus the U.S. dollar, “partially offset due to lower coverage income,” the company added

Cash cost per ounce of gold sold dipped 5%, while all-in-sustaining-costs (AISC) per ounce of gold sold likewise declined 9% year-on year, according to the company.

Those declines are “explained by the greater number of ounces of gold sold, thanks to operating efficiencies at the Nechí [Antioquia] alluvial property in Colombia. and the Hemco property in Nicaragua and the reduction in sustaining capital expenditures, which were partially offset by the increase in cost of sales excluding depreciation and amortization,” according to the company.

For full-year 2022, Mineros boosted gold production 10% year-on-year, to 287,152 ounces. The Nechi alluvial operation by itself saw gold recoveries rise 26% year-on-year.

“The increase in production in 2022 over the prior year is a result of increased operating efficiencies, the approval of environmental permits that were delayed in 2021, and additional gold production from our artisanal mining formalization program,” according to Mineros.

In Nicaragua, total 2022 production rose 4%, to 132,520 ounces, while in Argentina, gold production at the Gualcamayo mine rose 1% year-on-year, to 62,247 ounces, according to the company.

Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos – a division of Grupo Argos – announced February 21 that its full-year 2022 profits fell 59% year-on-year, to COP$215 billion (US$33 million), from COP$524 billion (US$115 million) in 2021.

Gross revenues rose 19%, to COP$11.7 trillion (US$2.37 billion), up 23% year-on-year, compared to COP$9.8 trillion (US$1.98 billion) in 2021.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 6.6% year-on-year, to COP$2.08 trillion (US$421 million), but adjusted EBITDA  in U.S. dollars fell 6.2% year-on-year, to US$520 million in 2021.

Net profit from continuing operations dipped 14.4% year-on-year, to COP$403 billion (US$81.6 million), “mainly affected by the notable increase in financial expenses due to the increase in Interest rates,” according to Cementos Argos.

“On a consolidated basis, Argos shipped 16.2 million tons of cement, a slight decrease of 3.7% compared to 2021, mainly caused by effects on the industrial business in Central America and the Caribbean,” according to the company. On the other hand, concrete volumes rose 6.3%, to 7.5 million cubic meters, “highly leveraged by the good performance of the market in Colombia,” according to the company.

U.S. Operating Highlights

During 2022, U.S. cement shipments rose 4.4% year-on-year, to 6.1 million tons, while concrete shipments grew 1%, to 4.5 million cubic meters. Prices increased 16% in cement and 18% in concrete.

U.S. revenues rose 16.4%, to US$1.5 billion, but EBITDA dipped 4%, to US$256 million, “mainly due to significant increases in the variable costs of the operation as a result of the high inflation in energy prices,” according to Argos.

Colombia Highlights

In Colombia, cement volumes dipped 0.8% year-on-year, to 6 million tons, “as a result of the price recovery strategy in a context in which cement prices in Colombia continue significantly below the parity prices of imports,” according to Argos.

“Export volumes set a record at 1.2 million tons, with growth of 28.2%. Concrete volumes reached 2.7 million cubic meters, presenting a growth of 13.6%, driven by the construction of formal housing and the good dynamics of infrastructure projects. Local cement prices grew 19% and concrete prices increased 13%.”

As a result, Colombia operating income rose 11.8% year-on-year, to COP$2.7 trillion (US$546 million), while EBITDA rose 5.7%, to COP$605 billion (US$122 million), according to the company.

Central America, Caribbean and Trading

In Central America and Caribbean operations, cement shipments fell 18% year-on-year, to 4 million tons, but concrete shipments rose 42.5%, to 273,000 cubic meters.

“Prices increased an average of 14% in concrete and 29% in cement, due to the global dynamics of trade that led to the highest values of import parity in markets with high exposure to international supply,” according to Argos.

Central America and Caribbean region revenues rose 3.1% year-on-year, to US$541 million, while EBITDA dipped 8.1% year-on-year, to US$123 million.

“With higher price levels and more stable inflation, Cementos Argos expects to be able to capture the opportunities that arise in the Central America, Caribbean and trading regions in 2023,” 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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