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Medellin and its neighboring suburbs expanded “pico y placa” driving restrictions on all conventional combustion-engine cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles to nine hours daily for the week of March 2-9, 2019, because of worsening air pollution.

The only personal transport vehicles exempted from such driving restrictions are electric cars, along with Medellin’s “Metro” electrified railcar system, the expanding “Metrocable” electric-powered aerial tram system, an incipient electric-powered roadway tram system, the upcoming expansion of pure-electric “Metroplus” electric buses this year, and free zero-emissions bicycles at Metro rail stations.

What’s more, Medellin debuted its first all-electric taxicab on March 3 -- right on the heels of the debut of the “Line M” Villa Hermosa-Buenos Aires aerial tram debut February 28.

“Line M,” serving 350,000 people in northeastern districts, is the fifth aerial-tram system now operating in Medellin, with a sixth coming in a few more months.

All these moves are further signs of the upcoming conversion to zero-emissions transport modes for Medellin -- and likely for many other global cities facing air-pollution problems.

On the taxi front, the “Tax Belén” cab company debuted its first BYD all-electric cab this month – exempt from “pico y placa” driving restrictions.

Medellin hopes to see as many as 1,500 electric taxis over the next few years, but the relatively high cost of acquisition compared to conventional gasoline-powered taxis is the key sticking point (see Medellin Herald 09/27/2018)

“Tax Belen, one of the largest taxi companies in Medellín with more than 2,300 cabs, will be in charge of operating public service cars, while BYD will provide after-sales service and will contribute its experience as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electric vehicles,” according to BYD.

“Fuel savings compared to other combustion vehicles will be approximately 70% and operating costs will be 50% lower than natural-gas or gasoline taxis,” according to BYD.

BYD claims that range-between recharge should be around 400 kilometers and fast-charge stations can recharge the vehicle in 90 minutes.


Antioquia’s Crucial ‘Mar 1’ Wins Financial Close; Puerto Antioquia Wins Concession; Pacifico 1-2-3 Making Progress

Colombia’s Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez announced March 20 that the “Mar 1” highway project linking Medellin westward to Santa Fe de Antioquia -- and eventually to new Atlantic ports -- just won a COP$2.23 trillion (US$754 million) financial close organized by the “Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional” (FDN) financing agency.

On a related front, Vice President Ramirez simultaneously announced that the long-awaited “Puerto Antioquia” ocean freight port near Turbo, Antioquia, just won a 30-year concession.

That US$300 million port project will include construction of new piers and docking facilities for up to-five ocean ships simultaneously; a four-lane divided highway linking the dock area to terminal facilities; and onward highway linkages to the new “Mar 1” and Mar 2” highways that should be completed over the next six years -- hence bringing Medellin much closer to relatively lower-cost global freight transport.

The new port will handle containerized cargo, highway vehicles, grains, plantains and bananas, according to project developer PIO Sas, in association with global shipping and port-operator Naviera Francesa CMA CGM S.A., plus major regional banana growers.

Civil works on the project will be undertaken by France-based Eiffage Infraestructuras de Francia along wth Colombia-based Termotecnica Coindustrial.

As for the “Mar 1” financial partners, these include Blackrock; the Interamerican Development Bank (IBD) and IBD Invest; CAF; ICO; the German Development Bank (KFW); Sumitomo Mitsui Banking; and France-based Société Générale

Mar 1 includes rehabilitation and operation of existing highway between Santa Fe de Antioquia and Peñalisa (71 kilometers); construction and operation of a second lane between Medellín and Santa Fe de Antioquia (43 kilometers); the construction and operation of a 4.6-kilometers-long, parallel tunnel (adjacent to the existing Tunnel de Occidente) linking Medellin westward toward Santa Fe de Antioquia; and the construction of 46 bridges.

Once completed, Mar 1 (and the connecting “Mar 2” project) will enable Medellin freight shippers and Colombian coffee exporters to tap a much quicker route to Atlantic ports in the Urabá region of Antioquia.

Today, vehicle transport from Medellín to Necoclí on the Atlantic ocean takes eight hours. But once Mar 1 and Mar 2 are complete, then transport time will be cut to four hours, according to Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI).

Construction companies in the Mar 1 project include Austria-based Strabag and its Swiss-based subsididary Strabag AG Switzerland (with 37.5% share); Sacyr (Sacyr Concessions Colombia and Sacyr Concesiones S.L.) with 37.5%, and Colombia-based Concay, S.A. with 25%.

Pacifico 1-2-3 Projects

On a related front, ANI president Louis Kleyn announced earlier this month that the 293-kilometers-long Pacifico 1-2-3 highways linking Medellin to other highways connecting to the Pacific port of Buenaventura continue to make progress -- although completion on “Pacifico 1” between Medellin and Bolombolo isn’t likely until around 2023.

Currently, freight trucks face a grueling, 15-hour-journey to-and-from Medellin to Buenaventura. But the new Pacifico highways would cut that to 10 hours, according to ANI.

Linking Medellin to the Pacific region on modern, four-lane highways -- including many new tunnels and bridges -- will generate “more international trade from the green mountains that connect southwest Antioquia and the coffee region,” according to ANI.

“The progress in the construction of this great corridor is the result of rigorous and disciplined management in social, environmental, property and contract areas, [along with] confidence generated by banks and investors, both domestic and foreign,” according to the agency.

“To date, Pacífico 1 -- the corridor connecting Bolombolo with La Primavera [Medelliin suburb of Caldas] has an execution of 15%, while Pacífico 2 (connecting Bolombolo to La Pintada) has achieved 64% execution, and Pacífico 3 (La Pintada to La Virginia in Risaralda) has advanced by 54%. These three projects total 119 fronts of active works,” according to ANI.

The works will efficiently connect the centers of inputs and production in the north of the country with the coffee zone, the Valle del Cauca and the Pacific Ocean, will benefit the producers and merchants of the departments of Magdalena, Atlántico, Bolívar, Córdoba, Sucre and Antioquia, in the decrease of travel times.

The department of Antioquia has 1,530 km of national road network, it has a strategic location, not only because of its size, but also because of the maritime and fluvial limits and especially the proximity to rivers such as Cauca and Atrato. Therefore, the 4G tracks that are built and those that will cross it are fundamental for the region, since they will promote social progress and become bridges of international trade.

Currently, the travel time of a truck loaded with cargo from Medellín to Buenaventura can take 15 hours, but with the construction of these projects it will be reduced to 10 hours. The time between Manizales and Medellín will also be reduced, from 4 hours and a half to 2 and a half hours, and from the municipality of La Virginia, in Risaralda, to Medellín, it will go from 5 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes, on average.


ISA 2018 results March 219

Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:34 Written by

ISA Full-Year 2018 Profits Rise 6% Year-on-Year

Medellin-based multinational electric power transmission operator and highways concessionaire ISA announced March 7, 2019 that its full-year 2018 net income rose 6% year-on-year, to COP$1.5 trillion (US$483 million).

Revenues also rose 4% year-on-year, to COP$7.2 trillion (US$2.3 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 8.4% year-on-year, to COP$4.8 trillion (US$1.54 billion).

EBITDA margin came-in at a fat 66.5%, or 73% if excluding construction activities during 2018. Return on equity likewise came-in at a favorable 12.8%.

ISA credits the profit gains to “entry into operation of new projects in Peru, Colombia and Chile; the update for inflation of the [power] tariff cycle, the recovery of taxes and [tax deductions from] fiscal losses in Brazil, and lower taxes for the application of the Financing Law in Colombia,” according to the company.

As for fourth quarter (4Q) 2018 profits, ISA netted COP$581 billion (US$187 million), up 116% over 4Q 2017, according to the company.

In ISA’s electric power transportation unit, 4Q 2018 revenues rose 17.8%, to COP$187 billion (US$60 million).

“The variation is explained in Colombia, by the remuneration of the new projects such as the San Antonio Substation (230 kiloVolts) and associated transmission lines; the Ituango-Medellin Substation (Katíos) and the Caribbean Coast reinforcement (500 kiloVots); the Caracolí Substation and associated lines, the charge for connection to the network of the El Bosque transformer project, the extensions of the Nueva Barranquilla substation and the Ternera substation,” according to ISA.

Entry-into-operation of several new transmission lines in Chile along with higher power tariffs in Brazil also boosted revenues, according to the company.

Also in Brasil, ISA’s “Companhia de Transmissão de Energia Elétrica Paulista” (CTEEP) subsidiary completed its first emission of “green bonds,” which will finance “energy infrastructure projects with environmental benefits,” according to ISA

ISA’s highway concessions revenues in Chile dipped slightly in 2018 because of higher maintenance costs and an adjustment in accounts receivable, according to the company.

During 2018, ISA and its subsidiaries invested a total of COP$2.4 trillion (US$772 million) in power transmission, highway concessions, telecommunications infrastructure and technological developments.

What’s more, for the period 2019 through 2023, the company now projects estimated capex investments of COP$10.575 trillion (US$3.46 billion).

ISA’s corporate-wide net assets totaled COP$44.9 trillion (US$14.4 billion), up 3.6% year-on-year. The increase in assets incorporated “entry into operation of new projects in the electric energy transport business in Colombia, Chile and Peru,” as well as the incorporation of assets, profits and revenues from its “TAESA” and “IENNE” power businesses in Brazil, according to the company.


Gran Colombia Gold 2018 results March 2019

Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:33 Written by

Gran Colombia Gold, Continental Gold Post Net Losses for Full-Year 2018

Toronto-based Gran Colombia Gold (GCC) on March 27, 2019 posted a US$3.4 million net loss for full year 2018, down from a US$36.8 million profit in 2017.

“The net loss in 2018 includes $28.4 million of losses on financial instruments, primarily triggered by the extinguishment of the 2020 and 2024 debentures in the second quarter, and a $7.6 million charge for the costs associated with the offering completed in the second quarter of 2018,” according to GCC.

Net profits in 2017 included a reversal of a US$45.3 million impairment of its principal asset: the Segovia gold-mining operations in Antioquia.

For fourth quarter (4Q) 2018, adjusted net income rose to US$14.3 million, up from US$9.1 million in 4Q 2017.

The year-on-year improvement “reflected the favorable impact on income tax expense in the fourth quarter of 2018 arising from the Colombian tax reform measures announced in December 2018 that will see a further reduction in future income tax rates,” according to GCC.

Commenting on the results, GCC executive chairman Serafino Iacono noted that “2018 was a watershed year “ with gold production surpassing 200,000 ounces for the first time, up 25% from 2017, “as our high-grade Segovia operations delivered another solid year with [gold yield per ton of rock mined] at over 17 grams per ton.”

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 36% year-on-year, “surpassing the $100 million mark for the first time, and being a key catalyst in the 58% increase in our operating cash flow to almost $80 million and the 72% increase in our free cash flow to $44 million,” according to Iacono.

“Our debt refinancing earlier in 2018 did exactly what we hoped for, lifting the dilution overhang off of our stock -- and we strengthened our balance sheet, increasing our cash and cash equivalents to $35.6 million, while reducing our debt by 37% to $88.3 million by the end of 2018,” he added.

Full-year 2018 revenues jumped 25% year-on-year, to US$268.5 million, “largely driven by the production growth and a modest improvement in realized gold prices to an average of $1,239 per ounce in 2018,” according to GCC.

“In 2019, revenue will benefit from lower charges in our new refining contract that the company entered into in January 2019 with an international refinery, saving as much as $20 per ounce sold. The company will also be paid faster under the new refining contract, a benefit to operating cash flow.”

Meanwhile, GCC expects its Segovia operations will produce between 186,000 to 199,000 ounces of gold this year, while its corporate-wide production should be in a range of 210,000 to 225,000 ounces, according to the company.

Continental Gold Results

As for Continental, this Toronto-based miner posted a US$31.6 million loss for 2018, more than the US$7.8 million loss in 2017.

The company’s main asset is its in-development Buritica, Antioquia gold mine, due for production start-up in 2021.

The bigger net losses in 2018 versus 2017 were the result of "increasing construction activities in each of the comparative years, net of financing proceeds received from the credit facility in 2018 and 2017; the issuance of shares in 2017 and 2016; and the transfer of collateral deposits to restricted cash in 2018," according to Continental.

Exploration expenses hit US$2.5 million in 2018 versus US$300,000 in 2017, mainly because of "initiation of exploration activities at the Berlin [Antioquia], Dojura [Choco] and southern Colombia [mining] projects in late 2017," according to Continental.


Estra 2018 results March 2019

Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:32 Written by

Industrias Estra Full-Year 2018 Profits Improve Year-on-Year

Medellin-based plastic container manufacturer Industrias Estra revealed in a March 28, 2019 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera corporate oversight agency that its full-year 2018 net income rose to COP$1.2 billion (US$379,000), up from COP$1 billion (US$316,000) in 2017.

Sales were flat year-on-year, at COP$68.9 billion (US$22 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped to COP$4.1 billion (US$1.3 million), down from COP$5.1 billion (US$1.6 million) in 2017.

The company’s sales and profits generally followed macroeconomic trends in Colombia during 2018, according to Estra. First-half 2018 sales were depressed by uncertainty over national elections, but consumer and industrial confidence rebounded when moderate-conservative Ivan Duque won the presidency over socialist-populist rival Gustavo Petro.

As a result, Estra’s second-half 2018 sales rose to COP$36.3 billion (US$11.5 million), up from $34.8 billion (US$11 million) in the comparable second-half of 2017.

Export sales were a bright spot for Estra, up 17% year-on-year, “thanks to the opening of new markets” including restoration of free-market policies in neighboring Ecuador -- due to the 2017 election of market-friendly President Lenin Moreno, who replaced vitriolic socialist-populist former President Rafael Correa.

In the Colombian domestic consumer-products market, Estra’s 2018 unit sales were flat year-on-year through its proprietary retail outlets, although average sales ticket grew. While industrial sales dipped 9% year-on-year, second-half 2018 industrial sales improved over the first half, the company added.


EPM hidroituango collapse study March 2019

Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:31 Written by

EPM: DESIGN FLAW CAUSED HIDROITUANGO TUNNEL COLLAPSE; RECOVERY UNDERWAY

Medellin-based multinational electric power giant EPM on March 1, 2019 unveiled a long-awaited consultant’s report on the causes behind the April 2018 tunnel collapse that has resulted in a three-year delay in power output from the 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric plant in Antioquia.

“The results determine that the hypothesis of greater probability is that the obstruction of the auxiliary diversion tunnel (GAD) was due to the ‘progressive erosion of areas of weakness of the rock,’ located on the floor of the tunnel,” according to EPM, quoting the report from Norwegian-Chilean engineering consulting firm Skava Consulting.

“The zones of weakness of the rock were not treated properly, due to a deficiency in the design during the advisory stage,” which was undertaken by Ituango Generation Consortium (Integral - Solingral),” according to EPM’s summary of the study.

A full copy of the study is available here: https://www.epm.com.co/site/estudio-causa-raiz-hidroituango

“The study, which employed scientific methods, was only aimed at analyzing the root cause of a specific event: the plugging in the auxiliary diversion tunnel (GAD) structure that had been in operation since September 2017,” according to EPM.

For the Skava report, seven German, Swiss and Chilean engineers with more than 25 years experience undertook a geotechnical engineering study tapping their expertise in tunnels and dams, in rock engineering, in geology and hydrology, and in civil engineering for mining projects, metering systems and hydroelectric power plants, according to EPM.

“The auxiliary GAD diversion tunnel, which was supposed to operate temporarily, was planned from the end of 2013 -- when the original diversion tunnels were still under construction -- as an alternative that would avoid an additional delay of one year or more in the construction of the main works,” according to EPM’s summary.

When EPM took over the project via a build-own-operate-maintain-transfer (BOOMT) contract in March 2011, “the project schedule already had considerable delays, which could affect [Colombia’s] energy supply,” the company noted.

“The results of this study do not impact the recovery process of the project, in which we continue to work tirelessly. The Ituango hydroelectric project advances in its recovery and in the reduction of risks for people living below the main works.

“If everything progresses as planned, it will contribute electric power [to the national grid] from the year 2021,” EPM concluded.

Blame Games Begin

Meanwhile, a host of Colombia regulatory agencies have already begun piling-on accusations against former EPM and Hidroituango officials over the tunnel collapse and the inevitable economic impacts on consumers and the city of Medellin, which gets 25% of its annual revenues from EPM.

The three-year delay in lost power sales, plus clean-up and reconstruction costs, likely will add at least US$1 billion to the original US$4-billion to US$5-billion cost estimate for the project.

Colombia Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez announced February 27 that he’s planning to bring charges against former Hidroituango SA manager Luis Guillermo Gómez Atehortua, and former EPM-Ituango manager Luis Javier Vélez Duque for alleged failure to meet legal contract requirements.

In addition, Martinez announced that he’s also considering bringing charges against six other former officials connected to the project, including former EPM E.S.P. manager Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo and former Hidroituango project board members Ana Cristina Moreno Palacios, Hugo Alejandro Mora Tamayo, Juan Felipe Gaviria Gutiérrez, Jesus Arturo Aristizábal, and Maximiliano Valderrama Espinosa.

The Attorney General’s investigations focus on the project contracting process and environmental damage arising from construction and the subsequent tunnel collapse in 2018.

The Attorney General stated that preliminary investigations have discovered “improper management of solid waste” that “had a negative impact on natural resources with effects such as the quality, quantity and fluidity of the water; the erosion of the soil and the eventual instability of the mountain” adjacent to the dam.

“During the execution of the project there were contingencies that would have been rejected by those in charge of the project, who would not have had the capacity to attend them because they were prepared for a situation of lesser dimension,” according to the Attorney General.

The Attorney General’s investigation has “identified alleged inconsistencies from the beginning of the project as alleged anomalies in the pre-contractual phase and alleged deficiencies in the execution of the contracts, the studies of design and execution of the work, as well as in the additions authorized to the signing contractor,” according to Martinez.

In response to the allegations, EPM issued a statement saying that it has “acted transparently and within the framework of what the law allows. The company reiterates its permanent disposition to collaborate with the Attorney General’s Office in its investigative process, and with all the control entities that are [regulating] the Hidroituango project, as it has done so far.”

CGR Probe

A parallel investigation now underway by Colombia's Controller General of the Republic (CGR) finds that to date, the cost of the Hidroituango project is close to COP$11.5 trillion [US$3.7 billion], "of which 38.23% (more than COP$4.3 trillion/US$1.4 billion) correspond to EPM's own resources. The remaining 61.77% comes from debt with multilateral banks, equivalent to almost COP$7.1 billion [US$2.3 billion].

"The CGR will estimate the additional costs that will be generated in the future due to deficiencies and adverse situations that have arisen during the planning and development of the project," according to the agency.


EPM 2018 results March 2019

Thursday, 11 July 2019 17:30 Written by

EPM Full-Year 2018 Profits Rise 4% Despite Hidroituango Problems

Medellin-based multinational electric power giant EPM reported March 26, 2019 that its full-year 2018 net profits rose 4% year-on-year, to COP$2.4 trillion (US$758 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 8% year-on-year, to COP$5.1 trillion (US$1.6 billion), while revenues rose 9%, to COP$16.3 trillion (US$5.1 billion).

The company highlighted the entry-into-service of the gigantic Aguas Claras sewage-treatment plant in suburban Bello last year, dramatically reducing contamination of Rio Medellin. The company also boosted clean drinking-water supplies to many more areas.

“Thanks to the good results of last year, during 2019 the municipality of Medellín will be able to fund social investment programs worth COP$1.3 trillion,” added EPM, which is 100% owned by the city of Medellin.

“In a difficult year due to the [diversion-tunnel collapse] at the Hidroituango hydroelectric project, the EPM Group nevertheless achieved positive financial results in 2018,” according to the company.

“On the path towards [utilities services] universalization, the EPM Group reached 2018 coverage in energy services and water supply in excess of 96%” in its Colombia service areas, said EPM president Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta.

“In wastewater treatment, we reached 93.3% and, in Medellin, in solid waste we achieved 99.21%, while in [natural] gas we [service] 84.63% in the region,” he added.

“In addition, our business group undertook directly and in conjunction with other actors in the country a series of environmental actions that enabled protection of 21,282 hectares of forests in 2018, for an accumulated 57,321 hectares in the period 2016-2018.”

Total assets rose 11% year-on-year, to COP$52.5 trillion (US$16.6 billion), while debt rose 15%, to COP$30.5 trillion (US$9.6 billion), because of “disbursement of credits to finance the general investment plan and the Hidroituango hydroelectric project,” according to the company.


Bancolombia Unveils No-Extra-Cost, Zero-Emissions Electric-Truck Rental Scheme

Medellin-based multinational banking giant Bancolombia announced March 12, 2019 that it’s now offering companies the opportunity to rent all-electric, zero-emissions delivery trucks in Colombia’s major cities – at the same cost as conventional trucks.

The goal is to put into circulation 1,000 electric trucks over the next three years, replacing diesel- and gasoline-powered trucks that today are causing much of the air pollution in Medellin, Bogota and other major cities, according to Bancolombia’s “Renting Colombia” subsidiary.

Major companies in Colombia including Nutresa, Bimbo, Bavaria, Colombina and Éxito are already testing these electric trucks, in an alliance with Medellin-based electric vehicle marketer Auteco, according to Bancolombia.

The scheme enables both smaller and larger companies to rent rather than buy the trucks, at a cost of operation “equal to that of [trucks] with traditional gasoline or diesel combustion, so in this way overcoming the [initial purchase price] limitation” of electric trucks, according to Bancolombia.

Besides eliminating toxic particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, the electric trucks also slash net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions -- since most of Colombia’s electric power comes from zero-emissions hydroelectric plants.

“Launching the first [nationwide] fleet of electric trucks in Colombia responds to our commitment to do business well and sustainable,” explained Bancolombia president Juan Carlos Mora.

The electric trucks being offered are local delivery trucks rated between three to 10 tons. These are the type of trucks that are the most numerous in Colombia’s biggest cities.

Diesel-powered delivery trucks are so numerous in big cities that they cause 50% more total pollution than dump trucks, 400% more than buses and 500% more than cars, according to Bancolombia.

Hence eliminating such high-polluting vehicles would help cities including Medellin and Bogota to slash pollution that today has forced city officials to enact severe “pico y placa” driving restrictions on vehicles (depending on license-plate numbers), Bancolombia noted.

Switching just 1,000 delivery trucks to zero-emission electric power will slash CO2 emissions by 24,800 tons over three years, equivalent to the CO2-removal work of 1.5 million trees, the company noted.

The latest-generation electric trucks employ new technologies that deliver 40% more power than a conventional diesel- or gasolina-powered truck, according to Auteco.

While an electric truck will consume an anual average of 11,300 kiloWatt-hours of electricity at a total cost of COP$5 million (US$1,590), an equivalent diesel truck would consume 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel and 10 gallons of lube oils, costing a total of COP$12 million (US$3,815), or more than twice as much as the electric truck, Bancolombia noted.


Conconcreto Full-Year 2018 Profits Dip Slightly Year-on-Year

Medellin-based construction giant Constructora Conconcreto reported February 26, 2019 that its full-year 2018 net profits dipped to COP$74.8 billion (US$24 million), down from COP$78 billion (US$27 million) in 2017.

On the other hand, “during 2018, the company successfully made a plan to sell non-strategic assets to guarantee liquidity and investment commitments, amounting to COP$220 billion [US$71.6 million], according to Conconcreto.

As for 2019, Conconcreto has budgeted COP$60 billion (US$19.5 million) to finance the construction of the “Vía 40 Express” project (third Bogota-Girardot lane) and COP$65 billion (US$21 million) in real-estate housing developments, according to the company.

At year-end 2018, Conconcreto had a backlog of contracted projects worth COP$1.9 trillion (US$619 million), of which 75% are infrastructure contracts. Debts due for payment in 2019 total COP$215 billion (US$70 million), the company added.

Conconcreto generated COP$1.08 trillion (US$352 million) in revenues during 2018, and at year-end it saw financial liabilities decline by COP$91 billion (US$29.6 million) while accumulated reserves came-in at COP$390 billion (US$127 million).

Meanwhile, Conconcreto – a member of the “CCC Ituango” construction consortium that’s building the 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam in Antioquia – pointed to recent stabilization of the troubled project.

“The attention of the crisis of the hydroelectric project Hidroituango through the construction consortium CCC Ituango allowed to stabilize the dam, the [engineered spillway] and the diversion tunnels of the Cauca River, as well as the other works necessary to mitigate risks in the project,” according to Conconcreto.

On another front, “Conconcreto has collaborated in the investigation opened by the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio [Colombia’s antitrust investigations agency] for an alleged collusion in the award of the ‘Third Lane Bogota Girardot’ [highway construction] project,” according to the company.

“To date, shareholders’ own resources are being contributed to fulfill the project plan of this project and we hope that once the investigation is closed [then] we can resume the financial closing process and guarantee the execution of the project,” according to Conconcreto.

On other fronts, Conconcreto revealed that it continues to develop new technologies such as 3-D printing; digital platforms for purchasing and material logistics; data analytics to predict accidents and determine material prices; building information design (BIM) technologies; robotic process automation; and transactional technologies including Blockchain.

“The consolidation of the TID (engineering and design workshop) with nearly 100 architects, engineers and professionals related to the sector has allowed us to optimize the execution of projects and comply with the timely and in-budget delivery of projects,” according to Conconcreto.


Coltejer, Fabricato Post Net Losses for Full-Year 2018:Textile Contraband Boss Arrested

Medellin-based textile giant Coltejer revealed in a March 5, 2019 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that it suffered a COP$29 billion (US$9.3 million) net loss for full-year 2018, 17% worse than the COP$24.7 billion (US$7.9 million) net loss in 2017.

Sales also dropped 15% year-on-year, to COP$144 billion (US$46 million), compared to COP$169 billion (US$54 million) in 2017.

Operating plus non-operating income combined dipped 17% year-on-year, to COP$176 billion (US$56.7 million), according to the company.

The net loss for 2018 is “basically owed to financing costs and reduced sales,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, fellow Medellin-based textile giant Fabricato revealed March 5 in a separate, one-sentence filing with Superfinanciera that its full-year 2018 net loss hit COP$31.75 billion (US$10.2 million), worse than the COP$6.4 billion (US$2.2 million) net loss in 2017.

Colombia’s textile manufacturers have been suffering severe losses in recent years in part because of massive below-cost contraband textile imports, mainly from Asia.

Textile Contraband ‘Czar’ Arrested

On a related front, Colombia’s Attorney General announced March 5 the arrest of Salim Ricardo Yamhure Daccaret of Imetex Ltda. and his alleged associate René Romero Sánchez on charges of illegal textile imports and money-laundering, totaling at least COP$177 billion (US$57 million) in avoided taxes and duties.

According to the Attorney General, Yamhure Daccaret allegedly evaded taxes and duties on imports of more than 19,000 tons of fabrics from Panama, Hong Kong and China, followed by the fictitious export of 12,000 tons of textiles.

“The raw material entered under the appearance of legality via Colombia by the ports of Cartagena, Barranquilla and Buenaventura,” according to the Attorney General.

“But this material wasn’t processed into products that were reported as exported. On the contrary, it was found that the merchandise remained in the country and, apparently, was sold at very low prices,” according to the Attorney General.

“Imetex Ltda. reported operations generating income totaling US$57 million, supposedly covered with tariff exemptions and [exclusions from] value-added tax. So, it is estimated that the fraudulent scheme generated losses to the state of at least US$57 million,” according to the Attorney General.

“In 2015, Imetex Ltda. was fined for COP$47 billion [US$15 million] for breach of tax commitments. Yamhure Daccaret in an attempt to divert the attention of the authorities, changed the name of the company registered it as Prointexco,” according to the Attorney General.


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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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  • Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

Medellín Photo Galery

Medellin, contrasting colors and styles by Gabriel Buitrago

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