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Politically centrist Colombian President Ivan Duque delivered a kind and honest farewell speech to the incoming Colombian Congress on July 20, as a nervous nation prepares for an erratic, demagogic incoming President Gustavo Petro on August 7.

Duque, who beat Petro in a landslide election four years ago, offered only kind words to Petro: “To the next administration, and to President-elect Gustavo Petro, we wish him success in his administration. Our priority is and always will be Colombia. Next August 7, when I recover my status as a citizen, my voice will always be attentive to build solutions for our nation.”

What a contrast to the demagogic messages of hatred and lying that Petro employed during the 2022 presidential campaign, which ultimately led Petro’s social-media campaign chief Sebastian Guanumen to apologize publicly for falsely spreading millions of malicious “narcotrafico” accusations against third-place, centrist Presidential candidate Federico Gutierrez.

In what appears to be a continued pattern of lying and manipulation, Petro has since moderated his tone and has successfully converted most of the incoming Congress parties to support new, less-radical versions of his prior, fantastical legislative proposals, which included promises to give 3 million government jobs to all unemployed people and waste billions more of scarce government dollars in a delirious scheme that would have the government buy Colombia’s coal and then let it sit unused, supposedly to prevent climate change.

In contrast, here are highlights of Duque’s July 20 farewell speech to Congress, unfortunately met by undemocratic jeers from pro-Petro, left-wing extremist members of the incoming Congress:

“A pandemic of magnitudes never imagined hit the entire world and was present for 30 months of the 48 months of our administration, being the greatest challenge that any Colombian President has ever faced,” Duque pointed-out.

“The covid-19 pandemic caused unprecedented poverty, desolation, job losses, border and business closures, and economic stagnation, triggering a global recession.

“We had to suspend classes in schools and universities, limit interactions, restrict work activities and ask Colombians to stay at home for the first time in our history, through mandatory preventive isolation.

“To this was added the greatest migratory crisis that America has had, with millions of our Venezuelan brothers wandering throughout the world, and most of them through our country, seeking refuge from dictatorial oppression.

“Also, a category-5 hurricane hit our island territories for the first time, then waves of violence [spurred by hateful messages from Petro] that tried to block the country, affecting the rights of millions of people voicing valid social claims for historical debts never settled, and with a dark panorama of exponential growth of illicit drug crops, among others.

“But nothing stopped us on the path of transforming the country. Today Colombia has put equity first, achieving historical milestones in social spending, advances in education, including free public university education for the poorer populations of strata 1, 2 and 3, and with the greatest health coverage in our history.

“Today our country consolidates policies to defeat hunger and malnutrition, grows in renewable energy generation, is an example of migration policy, leads climate action in the region, advances in its infrastructure and creates opportunities with peace with legality.”

Also during the speech, Duque pointed to historic advances in construction of crucial public highways, with Antioquia a notable beneficiary thanks to development of the Pacifico 1 and Pacifico 2 highways linking Medellin southwestward to the Pacific port of Buenaventura, as well as the new Mar 1 and Mar 2 highways linking Medellin to new Atlantic ports.

In addition, Duque pointed to billions of dollars of government subsidies helping millions of workers temporarily displaced by the Covid-19 pandemic to survive that crisis. What’s more, as of today, Colombia has recovered nearly 100% of the jobs lost during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s outstanding response to the Covid-19 pandemic – praised by leading health organizations world-wide – resulted in nearly all of the most vulnerable populations getting free vaccinations, without the deceptions, vacillations and demagoguery that unfortunately typified the Covid-19 response during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, in a July 19 speech to a foreign-investor conference here, President Duque added that “if we preserve foreign direct investment with certainty, with confidence, with clear regulations, and above all, giving peace of mind that we are not in some kind of lurch in regulatory policy, then Colombia will continue to consolidate itself as the most attractive place in Latin America and the Caribbean for foreign direct investment.”

“Investment is very difficult to attract and very easy to scare away, as we are competing with all the countries of the world to see if we can attract more pesos from here and from there, and that cannot be achieved without incentives, without clear rules, and without certainty,” he stressed.

Wise words that incoming President Petro might keep in mind if he really has any interest in seeing Colombia continue its long march out of historic poverty and a further broadening of a progressive, well-educated, hopeful, creative and energetic middle class.


With 100% of votes now counted, socialist-populist Gustavo Petro won Colombia’s presidency last night with 11.28 million votes (50.4%) versus 10.58 million votes (47.3%) for a similarly unbelievable populist, former Bucaramanga Mayor Rodolfo Hernandez.

Out of Colombia’s 39 million eligible voters, Petro won 28.9% of that total -- meaning 71% of Colombia’s voters didn’t vote for Petro or fantastical social-spending promises.

Those spending promises provoked rival presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo – a mathematics professor – to show with detailed charts that Petro’s programs are in fact mathematically impossible, costing more than COP$130 trillion (US$33 billion) above the nation’s already debt-ridden economy, with no rational revenue-offsets proposed.

Having stagnated at 8.5 million votes last month in the first-round presidential voting -- the same number he got in his losing 2018 presidential candidacy -- Petro subsequently  pivoted his messages more toward the center for the second round, mainly by recruiting well-known former Colombian economics expert Rudolf Hommes and Health Ministry expert Alejandro Gaviria to promised Cabinet positions.

Ironically, Gaviria only weeks prior had publicly described Petro’s proposed economic programs as “suicide for Colombia.”

Those chameleon moves --- plus what Colombia’s mainsteam media described as one of the most corrupt and dishonest (but effective) campaigns in the nation’s history – successfully convinced another 2.7 million voters to roll the dice on Petro (the devil you know) versus Hernandez (the devil you don’t know).

Notably, the more rational, business-oriented Medellin and Antioquia areas once again voted overwhelmingly against Petro in this latest round, having earlier voted overwhelmingly for former Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez in the first round.

But voters in the more government-dependent cities including Bogota, Cartagena, Santa Marta and the Atlantic coast -- along with the narco-dominated Pacific regions -- tipped the scales for Petro.

In his rambling victory speech last night, Petro stated that “love” is the key to moving Colombia forward.

But it was class-hatred and lies that dominated Petro’s campaign messages, including the most outrageous lie – repeated through millions of corrupt, boiler-room social-media messages that he authorized-- asserting that third-place presidential candidate Federico Gutierrez was a narco gangster.

In response, Colombia’s mainstream news magazine Semana published campaign videos -- taken by a disgruntled Petro campaign worker -- showing the extent of corruption and lying used by the Petro campaign, which news organizations across Colombia quickly dubbed as “Petrovideos.”

But the “Petrovideos” scandal wasn’t enough to convince enough voters to choose Hernandez over Petro. In what could be compared to a story by Nobel prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the voting result can now only be described as “magical surrealism.”

Among the fantastical Petro campaign promises, which will face an uncertain fate in Colombia’s divided Congress, starting this August:

Giving government jobs to 3 million unemployed people, without any rhyme, reason or viable funding source;

Accelerating the destruction of Colombia’s fiscally crucial oil-and-gas industry;

Buying all of Colombia’s coal output and letting it sit unused (supposedly to fight climate change);

Building an economically incoherent, multi-billion-dollar freight-rail network that supposedly would offload containers in the Pacific and then ship them overland through Colombia’s eastern plains to the Atlantic (even though shippers inevitably would employ the far-cheaper Panama Canal option);

Building a passenger rail line to Venezuela, without any logical reason given;

Confiscating the pensions of 18 million tax-paying Colombians in order to give pensions to people who never contributed anything to any pension fund;

Converting Colombia’s flawed-but-improving mixed, public-private health system to a vastly underfunded, government-run system; and

Telling Colombia’s Attorney-General to set free “young people” from Colombia’s jails, claiming that they were all imprisoned unjustly during the violent riots that Petro helped provoke in 2021.


A new report just issued by Medellin-based retail trade group Fenalco Antioquia finds that Colombians working abroad -- mainly in the U.S. and Europe -- sent a record US$1.52 billion back to their families here during 2021, boosting the post-Covid-pandemic economic recovery.

Citing statistics from Colombia’s Banco de la Republica, Fenalco found that Antioquians here not only received a record-setting US$1.52 billion in “remesas” (foreign transfers from family members abroad) for the entire year 2021, but that fourth quarter (4Q) 2021 remittances hit a new quarterly high of US$412.8 million, up 26% year-on-year.

“The record in remittances is explained by the global economic recovery,” according to Fenalco.

Not only did Medellin and Antioquia benefit from these foreign transfers, but Colombian families nationwide netted a record US$8.6 billion in total remittances last year, according to the report.

The largest beneficiaries were the departments of Valle del Cauca (first), Antioquia (second) and Cundinamarca (third), accounting for 61% of total national remittances, or US$5.26 billion.

In Colombian peso terms, the value of those dollar remittances to Antioquian families alone topped COP$5.68 trillion, the study shows – a big boost to the local economy.


Defying pollsters and traditional punsters, former Bucaramanga Mayor Rodolfo Hernandez soundly beat favored contender and former Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez in the first-round Colombian national elections May 29 -- hence pitting Hernandez against stagnating socialist Gustavo Petro in the final round June 19.

With 100% of the votes now counted, Petro yesterday got the same 8.5 million votes (40.3%) he got in his last losing candidacy (in 2018, soundly beaten by centrist moderate Ivan Duque), while Hernandez got 5.8 million votes (28.1%), Gutierrez got 5.06 million votes (23.9%) and former center-left Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo came in fourth with 888,000 votes (4.2%).

With the third-place Gutierrez immediately endorsing second-place Hernandez for the final election round, simple math -- and staunch anti-Petro voter sentiment – shows the likely combination of Gutierrez voters (23.9%) plus the Hernandez voters (28.1%) would easily beat Petro in the final elections on June 19, at 52% combined for Hernandez versus roughly 42-45% for Petro.

While anything can happen between now and June 19, at least Colombia now has undeniable mathematical facts -- from a real-world election -- rather than counting upon speculative pollsters and punsters.

In his public appearances, Hernandez had offered no specific political program in his candidacy, aside from portraying himself as an anti-establishment outsider promising to fight corruption and complacency. A clumsy public speaker and debater, he failed to show up for various televised debates among the first-round candidates.

Pundits have described the sometimes brusque, combative Hernandez as something like the rude, crude former U.S. President Donald Trump. Hernandez similarly doesn’t seem to have a clear political ideology (as was often the case with Trump, a political chameleon for decades). Latest example: Having first supported oil-and-gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the use of glifosato for aerial spraying of coca crops (the source of cocaine), now he says he's against both fracking and spraying.

Unlike career politicians (such as Petro and Gutierrez), Hernandez, now 77 years old, is a civil engineer and owner of the Constructora HG construction company in Colombia's northern city of Bucaramanga.

His father, Luis Jesús Hernández, was just one of the thousands of kidnapping victims of Colombia’s narco-communist FARC-EP army, while his daughter Juliana likewise was kidnapped and murdered by the rival narco-communist ELN army in 2004 -- hence making Hernandez an understandable opponent of some of the left-wing extremist political forces with which Petro – himself a former M-19 guerilla -- has shown relative softness and forgiveness.

Rodolfo Hernandez made his first venture into politics in 2011 by backing Liberal Party candidate Luis Francisco Bohórquez for Mayor of Bucaramanga. But four years later, in 2015, Hernandez financed his own winning campaign for Mayor.

Along the way, Hernandez has gained a deserved reputation for hot-headedness, once slapping rival Bucaramanga City Councilman Jhon Claro, which triggered a three-month suspension of duties via a punitive demand brought by Colombia’s Procurador-General.

Later, a second infraction – this time for violating Colombia’s ban on elected officials participating in political campaigns (the same problem facing current Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero) – triggered another three-month suspension, brought by the Santander Department Regional Attorney's Office. That suspension triggered Hernandez’s decision to resign from office.

Some 18 months later, in 2021, Hernandez announced his candidacy for Colombian President, financing his campaign with his own funds.

His amateurish public-speaking capacities and occasional stupid statements – such as an instance where he intended to quote Albert Einstein but idiotically attributed the quote to Adolf Hitler – make him an easy target for Colombia’s more polished political class and its mainstream political journalists.

Unlike Petro, who favors abolishing all oil-and-gas exploration in Colombia, Hernandez supports continuation of Colombia oil-and-gas development. However, like Petro, Hernandez now says he doesn't support fracking. 

Meanwhile, Hernandez agrees with Petro on reestablishment of diplomatic relations with socialist Venezuela, the opening of peace negotiations with the ELN guerrillas, and decriminalization of abortion.

While Hernandez claims to be an anti-corruption champion, he admitted in 2019 that he didn’t deliver his promise as formerr Mayor of Bucaramanga to deliver 20,000 free lots for future homes for poor people there, triggering a lawsuit alleging campaign fraud. Also during his Bucaramanga mayorship, he was accused of trying to help engineer a municipal landfill contract that supposedly would have resulted in commissions for his son, an accusation he denied.

On another repugnant front, Hernández in 2019 referred to a candidate who aspired to succeed him as Bucaramanga mayor as a prostitute, triggering a lawsuit by associations representing sex workers and feminist groups.

Then, during this year’s presidential campaign, Hernandez issued a gaffe stating that “people don't like women involved in government,” but later clarified that he only meant that his wife would have no role in government should he become President.

Ironically, the issue about “women in government” became clearer when Hernandez named as his vice-presidential running-mate Marelen Castillo, a Cali-born academic who would become Colombia’s first Afro-Colombian vice president -- just like Gustavo Petro’s VP running-mate, Francia Marquez.

The 53-year-old Castillo launched her academic career as a biologist and chemist at Santiago de Cali University, followed by a stint as an industrial engineer at Colombia’s Autonomous University del Occidente, and then later by pursuing a doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, USA.

She also worked as academic vice-rector at Colombia’s “Minuto de Dios University,” founded by renowned Catholic priest Rafael García Herreros, whose radio homilies were followed by millions of devout Colombians. In a similar vein, Castillo later took a post as Dean at the Lumen Gentium Catholic University Foundation.


Medellin-based paints, chemicals and hardware giant Grupo Orbis – which last month finally became 100% owned by Amsterdam-based Akzo Nobel – announced May 13 that its first quarter (1Q) 2022 net income rose 30%, to COP$7.6 billion (US$1.9 million).

“Grupo Orbis companies start the year with positive results that integrate the efforts in our commercial strategy, including mitigation of the impact of increases in costs of raw materials and transportation, efficient management of expenses, sufficient liquidity and working capital and the generation of value for our shareholders,” according to the Orbis filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency.

Sales during 1Q 2022 rose 41% year-on-year, to COP$445.7 billion (US$112 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 30%, to COP$33.5 billion (US$8.4 million).

The “Pintuco” paints division saw sales jump 27% year-on-year, to COP$272.5 billion (US$68.7 million), while EBITDA rose 14%, to COP$23.2 billion (US$5.8 million),

The “Mundial” home-and-garden-supply division sales grew 16%, to COP$45.3 billion (US$11.4 million), while EBITDA also rose 16%, to COP$769 million (US$194,000), both growing by 16%.

As for its chemicals divisions -- “Andercol” in Colombia and “Poliquim” in Ecuador -- sales rose 66% year-on-year, to COP$170.8 billion (US$43 million), while EBITDA soared by 146%, to COP$14.2 billion (US$3.6 million), according to the company.


Medellin-based multinational health, insurance and financial services giant Grupo Sura announced May 13 that its consolidated net income for first quarter (1Q) 2022 rose 109% year-on-year, to COP$442 billion (US$113 million),

Consolidated revenues likewise rose 25% year-on-year, to COP$6.9 trillion (US$1.76 billion), according to the company.

“This level of results was driven by revenues obtained from associated companies as well as double-digit growth on the part of [insurance subsidiary] Suramericana,” mainly in the life and health-care segments, according to Sura.

Grupo Sura also cited gains from its partial holdings in Medellin-based banking giant Bancolombia and its Medellin neighbor, foods giant Grupo Nutresa.

Operating expenses increased 22.3% for the latest quarter, “due to an increase with Suramericana’s claims rate, specifically in the car segment, given difficulties with the auto parts supply chains,” according to the company.

“On the other hand, this increase in expense was also due to our subsidiaries resuming their investments and projects, which had been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic,” the company added.

Grupo Sura’s varied-sector investment strategy “demonstrates, once again, the advantages of having a diversified, well- balanced investment portfolio as well as the benefits of our efficiency efforts,” added Sura Chief Finance Officer Ricardo Jaramillo.

The Suramericana division saw a 21.4% increase in written premiums during 1Q 2022, totaling COP$5.6 trillion (US$1.42 billion), “given the positive levels of performance obtained with the Life (16.7%), Health Care (27.2%) and Property-Casualty (15.8%) insurance segments,” while also enjoying an 89% jump in investment income, at COP$376 billion (US$96 million), according to the company.

While auto accident claims rose, “this increase was partially mitigated by the reduced impact of the pandemic across the region, as Covid claims declined by 60.5% compared to the same quarter last year and by 11.4% compared to 4Q 2021,” according to Sura. .

Meanwhile, the Sura Asset Management investment services division saw a 1.9% dip in fee and commission income, “due to issues such as the regulatory cap on commissions charged in Mexico along with losses in value on the global capital markets, which impacted the funds' own investments (reserve requirements). This was compounded with the depreciation of Latin American currencies against the dollar, which produced a negative exchange difference,” according to Sura.


Medellin-based construction giant Conconcreto announced May 13 that its first quarter (1Q) net income rose 76.8% year-on-year, to COP$22 billion (US$5.3 million), from COP$12.6 billion (US$3.06 million) in 1Q 2021.

Gross revenues rose 70%, to COP$237 billion (US$57.6 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 31.8%, to COP$29.8 billion (US$7.2 million).

In its U.S. operations, Conconcreto now boasts a hefty US$229.9 million construction backlog.

Meanwhile in Colombia, Conconcreto’s “Devimed” highway concessions on the Medellin-Bogota highway and on the “Oriente” (east of Medellin) highway between Llanogrande and Rionegro saw operating earnings rise 3.2% and EBITDA by 1.1% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the “doble calzada oriente” (DCO) project east of Medellin – tentatively scheduled for construction start in October 2022 – aims to add another group of investors, with Conconcreto already holding a 60% participation share.

As for the “Via 40 Express” highway project being developed between Bogota and Girardot, this project saw an 86% drop in EBITDA for 1Q 2022 because of year-on-year differences in compensation payments during the Covid-19 crisis in the year prior, the company added.

 


Medellin-based construction giant Construcciones El Condor on May 13 posted a COP$9.4 billion (US$2.28 million) net loss for first quarter (1Q) 2022, an improvement over the COP$51 billion (US$12.4 million) net loss in 1Q 2021.

Gross revenues were nearly flat year-on-year, at COP$164 billion (US$40 million) in 1Q 2022 versus COP$165 billion (US$40.1 million) in 1Q 2021, according to the company.

“Revenues for this period are mainly driven by the EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contracts with the Concesiones Autopista Rio Magdalena, Ruta al Mar y Pacífico Tres, and the construction contracts with the Ruta al Sur Concession and Invias (El Toyo),” according to El Condor.

“Operating costs as of March 2022 were COP$133 billion [US$32 million], decreasing 9% compared to the same period in 2021. Gross profit was COP$28 billion [US$6.8 million], equivalent to a gross margin of 17.36%.

“Operating profit amounted to COP$22.4 billion [US$5.4 million], equivalent to 5.45% of revenues.

“Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reached COP$33.4 billion [US$8.1 million], with an EBITDA margin of 20.76%,” up from 12.91% margin in 1Q 2021, the company added.

“This result is due to the ascending pace of execution that all work fronts have and is in line with the EBITDA margins generated by the company in the years prior to the pandemic and the transition of the renewal of the backlog that it faced in 2021,” the company added

Meanwhile, in March 2022, Construcciones El Cóndor won contracts to continue works on the Magdalena River Highway Project 2. “The absolute maximum price of the new intervention amounts to COP$756 billion [US$184 million], of which the company will receive an advance payment of COP$70 billion [US$17 million],” according to the company.

Commenting on the Colombian economy and its infrastructure sector, El Condor added: “Market analysts project that the variation in the Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 would be 7.8%. This growth would be mainly driven by the agriculture and real estate services sectors. The construction sector is projected to have a stable behavior for this quarter.”

At the end of 1Q 2022, El Condor reported a construction backlog for contracts worth COP$3.47 trillion (US$844 million).


Toronto-based GCM Mining announced May 12 that its first quarter (1Q) 2022 adjusted net income fell to US$14.8 million, from US$21.9 million in 1Q 2021.

“Net earnings in the first quarter 2021 included the benefit of a US$56.9 million gain on loss of control of Aris, a US$42.8 million gain on financial instruments and a US$8.9 million gain on sale of the Zancudo Project, offset partially by US$9.8 million of transaction costs incurred by Aris in connection with the loss of control in early 2021,” according to GCM, formerly known as Gran Colombia Gold.

The 1Q 2022 adjusted results also reflect a US$4 million decrease in income from operations together with a $2.5 million increase in finance costs and an increase in income tax expense due to the tax rate increase in Colombia effective in 2022," according to the company.

Commenting on the results, GCM CEO Lombardo Paredes stated: “We have started-off 2022 on a positive note, meeting our expectations for production, costs and cash flow in the first quarter.

“We are on track to once again meet our annual production guidance for 2022. Following the favorable mineral reserve and resource update at Segovia [Antioquia], our exploration and mine geology teams have continued to execute the ongoing drilling campaigns at our four producing mines and the brownfield areas in our mining title.

“At our Toroparu Project in Guyana, we are advancing the infill drilling and the pre-construction activities. We are on track to finalize the prefeasibility study in the third quarter of 2022, at which point formal construction of the project is expected to commence.”

GCM’s 1Q 2022 gold production from its Segovia operations totaled 49,951 ounces, up 2% over 1Q 2021, and the company expects annual production this year at between 210,000 and 225,000 ounces of gold.

Meanwhile, GCM's new polymetallic recovery plant constructed in 2021 at Segovia produced approximately 252,000 pounds of payable zinc and 338,000 pounds of payable lead during 1Q 2022, according to the company.

Consolidated revenue, “all of which was sourced from the Segovia operations in the first quarter of 2022, amounted to US$101.3 million compared with $101.9 million in the first quarter last year, which included $5.1 million from Aris Gold Corporation -- prior to the loss of control of Aris on February 4, 2021,” according to GCM.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 1Q 2022 dipped slightly year-on-year, to US$45.2 million, from US$46.3 million in 1Q 2021, according to the company.

“GCM Mining’s balance sheet remained strong with a cash position of US$315.1 million at March 31, 2022,” according to the company.

“The company also has US$138 million of funding available for construction of its Toroparu Project in Guyana through a precious metals stream facility with Wheaton Precious Metals (Caymans) Ltd. Other than scheduled interest payments, the company has no maturities of its long-term debt in the next 12 months,” the company added.


Medellin-based textiles and plastics-recycling specialist Enka Colombia announced today (May 13) that its first quarter (1Q) consolidated net income was essentially flat year-on-year, at COP$13.79 billion (US$3.35 million), versus COP$13.78 billion (US$3.35 million) in 1Q 2021.

Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped slightly, to COP$17.1 billion (US$4.15 million) in 1Q 2022, versus COP$17.5 billion (US$4.25 million) in 1Q 2021.

Consolidated operating income likewise came-in essentially unchanged at COP$155.78 billion (US$37.8 million) for 1Q 2022, versus COP$155.97 billion (US$37.89 million) in 1Q 2021.

“The year 2022 begins with a solid behavior of the demand, which has allowed us to maintain good sales levels in strategic markets,” according to Enka. Positive results came from an “increase in international prices as a result of the high prices of the petrochemical chain and high global demand, and at a higher rate exchange” between the Colombian peso and the U.S. dollar, according to the company.

While EBITDA remained steady as measured in pesos, “the EBITDA margin showed a decrease of 15%, to 11%, due to the effect of transferring higher production costs to sales prices,” according to Enka.

On other 1Q 2022 fronts, Enka noted investments of COP$59 billion in a new “EKO-PET” recycling plant, “advancing under estimated schedules and budgets.”

Assets during the quarter rose by COP$48 billion (US$11.6 million), to COP$732 billion (US$177.8 million), while liabilities rose COP$33 billion (US$8 million), to COP$253 billion (US$61 million). “The debt ratio ends at 0.6-times EBITDA, increasing compared to the end of 2021 (0.15-x EBITDA) -- but at healthy levels for future investments,” according to the company.

During 1Q 2022, exports totaled US$18.9 million, accounting for 47% of total sales -- better than the 40% share seen in 1Q 2021, once including the impact of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste-plastic sales.

For all of its “green” waste-plastics recycling businesses, Enka saw a 45% year-on-year over-all hike in revenues, “mainly due to higher international prices that offset a 5% lower sales volume,” according to the company.

“The capture of plastic bottles grew by 25% compared to 1Q 2021, fulfilling the growth plan of the collection network with a view to supplying the-entry-into operation of the new 'EKO-PET' plant,” according to Enka.

Meanwhile, the “EKO-Fibras” line saw sales dip 7%, mainly because of an increase in “Asian imports at low prices and closure of Coltejer” textile production in Medellin.  “However, the exports grew 19%, driven by new developments for Geotextiles, made from bottles of colors that are difficult to recycle,” according to Enka.

On the other hand, the “EKO-Polyolefins” line saw sales rise by 28%, mainly for the local market rather than exports.

Textile/Industrial Businesses

Once excluding the production of virgin PET, textile revenues grew 51% year-on-year, “mainly due to the strong increase in international prices. Exports reached US$17.2 million, which represents 63% of the income from this line and 91% of the company’s total exports,” according to Enka.

The industrial yarns line saw a 6% hike in volume, “with growth in both canvas for tires as well as technical yarns, thanks to the good behavior of the demand in United States and the recovery of the Brazilian market,” according to Enka.

As for textile filaments, this line grew 6.3%, “mainly in exports, both in Argentina and Brazil, which offset the reactivation of Asian imports Asian in the local market,” according to the company.


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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

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

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