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Toronto-based Gran Colombia Gold – whose principal mining operations are in Antioquia – announced November 11 that its third quarter (3Q) adjusted net income rose to U.S$29.5 million, up from US$16 million in 3Q 2019.

As for the first nine months of 2020, adjusted net income rose to US$68.2 million, from US$43 million in the first nine months of 2019.

“The year-over-year improvement in adjusted net income for the third quarter and first nine months of 2020 largely reflects the positive impact of higher gold prices in 2020, partially offset by the Covid-19 impact on gold sales volumes in the second quarter of 2020,” according to the company.

Gross revenues jumped 36% in 3Q 2020 versus 3Q 2019, to a new quarterly record of US$113.1 million “as the 30% year-over-year improvement in spot gold prices increased the company’s realized gold price to an average of $1,875 per ounce sold,” according to the company

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 3Q 2020 jumped 51% year-on-year, to US$56.7 million, while nine-months adjusted EBITDA rose 36% year-on-year, to US$144.7 million, according to the company.

Gold production in 3q 2020 was 58,454 ounces, up 4% year-on-year and up 21% over 2Q 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis hit, the company noted.

As for the cash situation, “the company’s balance sheet remained solid with total cash of US$138.2 million at the end of September 2020, including $43.0 million in Caldas Gold, of which $34.7 million represents the net proceeds of Caldas Gold’s special warrant financing completed in the third quarter of 2020 that will be used as part of the funding for its Marmato Deep Zone (“MDZ”) project,” the company stated.

“The 53.5%-owned Caldas Gold continues to advance its plan to build Colombia’s next major gold mine. Following the release of its preliminary feasibility study for its Marmato Project in early July, Caldas Gold completed a CA$50 million [US$38 million] bought deal private placement of special warrants in late July, of which Gran Colombia acquired CA$20 million [US$15 million] to maintain its equity ownership above 50%,” the company added.


Orbis 3Q 2020 Net Income Rises 12% Year-on-Year

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 09:28 Written by

Medellin-based multinational paints, chemicals, piping and hardware giant Grupo Orbis announced November 10 that its third quarter (3Q) 2020 net income rose 12% year-on-year, to COP$14.6 billion (US$4 million), excluding the effect of the sale of a non-operating property in Central America.

Orbis brands include Pintuco paints, Andercol chemicals, O-tek piping and Mundial hardware supplies.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were essentially flat year-on-year, at COP$88 billion (US$24 million), “thanks to the results in the plan of profitability in the midst of the challenges generated by the [Covid-19] pandemic,” according to the company.

Favorable returns “have made it possible to continue with the debt payment plan, which reaches an indicator of net financial debt-to-EBITDA of 1.7-times compared to 2.8-times as of September 2019,” according to Oribs.

“The chemical business has focused on implementing its profitability model, focused on topics such as innovation and entrepreneurship, product differentiation and modernization of the portfolio around sustainable chemistry.

“For its part, the hardware distribution unit has achieved a rapid recovery of its sales in a profitable way thanks to the strengthening of the link with its customers and suppliers, and the implementation of a new market-arrival model,” the company added.

Profitable mass-market product launches this year included a new line of antibacterial gels along with aerosol air and surface disinfectants that kill Covid-19, according to Orbis.

As for the Pintuco paints division, “results were [negatively] affected as it was the only business that had a total closure of its operations as a result of the pandemic, especially in April and May. However, in the third quarter of 2020 [Pintuco] presented a growth in sales of 4%,” despite relatively weakness in the broader market, according to the company.

“O-tek, for its part, although it has achieved an important geographic expansion developing projects in the southern cone [of South America] and positioning itself in the United States, it was affected by the suspension and postponement of infrastructure works” because of Coronavirus quarantine orders.

“For the last quarter of 2020, the Group will continue to focus on boosting sales and closing the accumulated gap of -7% in its commercial results compared to 2019, as it did in the third quarter, a period in which, even with the current conditions of uncertainty, achieved a growth of 4.4% compared to the previous year,” the company added.


Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos reported November 10 in a filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that its third quarter (3Q) 2020 net income more-than doubled year-on-year, to COP$73 billion (US$20 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 9% year-on-year, to COP$479 billion (US$132 million), according to the company.

However, gross revenues dipped 5.6% year-on-year, to COP$2.36 trillion (US$649 million).

As for nine-months 2020, cumulative net income so far has dipped to COP$113 billion (US$31 million) versus COP$147 billion (US$40 million) in nine-months 2019, according to the company.

EBITDA rose in 3Q 2020 “despite the impact on volumes originated, mainly due to hurricanes and heavy rains in the United States,” according to Cementos Argos.

In the latest quarter, corporate-wide consolidated shipments of cement fell by 8.4% and concrete declined by 19.5%.

Corporate overhead reductions and “big-data” analytical innovations “allowed the company to achieve significant optimizations in costs and expenses, accompanied by better prices in Colombia and the United States,” the company added.

“Argos advanced in the implementation of artificial intelligence to analyze historical data on cement kiln and mill [operations] and thus obtain the optimal energy and raw materials mixtures to produce cement. The expected savings are US$13 million annually starting in 2022,” according to the company.

In the U.S. market, demand for cement and concrete “continued to show strength even amid the [Covid-19] pandemic and the political uncertainty surrounding the presidential elections,” according to Cementos Argos.

“The macroeconomic context continues to be moderately positive in relation to the construction sector. In infrastructure, the renewal of the ‘Fast Act’ for a year with US$13.6 billion added to the Highway Trust Fund and the announcement of the Florida 2020-2021 budget, which includes US$9.9 billion in funding for the Florida Department of Transportation, ensure the financing necessary to continue infrastructure projects,” according to the company.

In Colombia, “cement volumes of the company improved [in 3Q 2020] compared to the prior quarter, in-line with the market, but still remained below those of the third quarter of 2019,” according to the company.

Colombian government-subsidized home sales “increased during September by 43% compared to the same month of 2019 and continue with a positive trend” even in the face of the Coronavirus crisis, according to Cementos Argos. Non-subsidized home sales during September 2020 likewise increased 16% year-on-year.

As for major Colombian infrastructure projects, “the formal start of the construction of the Bogotá Metro, together with the investments announced by the government for more than COP$30 trillion [US$8.2 billion] in the first wave of ‘5G’ [highway] projects” along with completion of previously-started highway projects “reaffirm the commitment to continue investing in this sector and establish strong drivers for the consumption of cement for the next 10 years,” according to the company.

As for Caribbean and Central America markets, “this region benefited during the quarter due to the trend of [home improvement] self-construction that prevails in emerging markets, leading to improvements in EBITDA and volumes of cement especially in Honduras, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico,” the company added.


Wall Street bond rater Fitch Ratings announced November 6 that Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to rebound to a positive 4.9% in 2021, up from the Coronavirus-caused 6.9% GDP contraction this year.

Meanwhile, bond ratings on Colombian sovereign debt remain at a modest “BBB-” with a continuing negative outlook because of the hangover effects of Coronavirus contractions this year, according to Fitch.

“Colombia’s 'BBB-' rating reflects the government’s long track record of conservative macroeconomic policies that have underpinned macroeconomic and financial stability,” according to Fitch.

“Its ratings are constrained by high commodity dependence, weaker external metrics compared with peers, rising government debt burden and structural weaknesses in terms of low GDP per capita and weaker governance indicators relative to peers.

“The ‘negative’ outlook reflects downside risks to the economic growth outlook and uncertainties about the capacity of the government’s policy response to decisively cut deficits and stabilize and eventually lower debt in the coming years, following the sharp rise in general government debt burden as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond the 4.9% GDP rebound in 2021, “Fitch projects growth of 3.8% in 2022, above the estimated medium-term growth potential of about 3.0% as a result of the large output gap that has emerged,” according to the company.

Fiscal deficit is forecast to rise to 9.1% of GDP in 2020 “due to the sharp fall in revenues and higher spending to combat the pandemic as well as economic reactivation measures,” the Wall Street analyst adds.

“The deficit is expected to gradually diminish to 7.5% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022. The government suspended its fiscal rule for two years to combat the pandemic and reactivate the economy with increases in spending in both years.

“Although Fitch expects revenues to increase in 2021 given the cyclical economic rebound, income taxes and oil revenues will likely underperform the budget targets given lagged effects of 2020 economic activity and drop in oil prices,” the company added.

Tax revenues would rise by around 2% of GDP in 2022-2024 “due to implementation of a tax reform,” but “budget deficit reduction in 2022 will depend on the government's ability to pass revenue-enhancing measures given the spending rigidities which regional transfers and other nondiscretionary social spending impose,” according to Fitch.

Government budget deficits this year largely tapped foreign finance, “including the planned use of US$5.3 billion from the IMF [International Montetary Fund] Flexible Credit Line,” according to Fitch.

Foreign direct investment has covered around 70% of Colombia’s current-account deficit in the last decade, “where it is expected to remain over the medium term.”

“Net external debt is expected to rise to 18.4% of GDP in 2020 -- surpassing the current BBB median of 10.2% -- up from 12.1% of GDP in 2019,” according to Fitch.

“International reserves have risen in 2020 to US$57 billion, from US$52.7 billion in 2019, improving external liquidity measures (10 months of current account payments, up from 7.6 months in 2019).

“Colombia's floating [peso-to-dollar exchange] regime and the IMF's Flexible Credit Line (augmented to US$17.2 billion in September 2020) help mitigate external vulnerabilities,” the analyst concluded.

President Duque Congratulates President-Elect Biden

Meanwhile, Colombia President Ivan Duque on November 8 congratulated incoming U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and incoming Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Duque noted that long before the election of new President Biden, “when he was a member of Congress, [Biden] supported the initiative that was Plan Colombia, and has maintained a very close relationship with our country.

“With [former U.S.] President Bill Clinton we made the leap [expanding] Plan Colombia. With President George Bush we made progress not only on security issues, but also on trade issues.

“During the administration of President Obama, very important issues regarding the relationship with Colombia were also explored. And I also want to emphasize that with the administration of President Trump we have had a very good and fruitful relationship on security issues, the fight against drug trafficking, trade, innovation, and we have recently signed what is known as 'Colombia Crece,’ a program which is a new version, a new update of what was Plan Colombia at the time,” Duque concluded.

Wall Street Soars on Biden Election, Covid-19 Vaccine News

Meanwhile, on top of the new, encouraging outlooks for Colombia and continuing good relations with the U.S. -- its number-one investment and trading partner --  major U.S. and European stock indexes skyrocketed today (November 9) on news of President Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, along with news from U.S. drug maker Pfizer and its German biotech development partner BioNTech announcing a 90% effectiveness for a new Covid-19 vaccine.


ISA 3Q 2020 Net Income Jumps 19% Year-on-Year

Friday, 06 November 2020 08:20 Written by

Medellin-based multinational electric-power transmission, highway concessionaire and telecom infrastructure giant ISA announced November 5 that third quarter (3Q) net income rose 19% year-on-year, to COP$483 billion (US$128 million).

Operating revenues for the latest quarter jumped 21% year-on-year, to COP$2.4 trillion (US$638 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 18.8%, to COP$1.5 trillion (US$399 million), while EBITDA margin hit 61.9%, according to the company.

“ISA's extraordinary results, obtained amidst the pandemic, were possible not only due to the resiliency of its business but also due to a financial strategy based on the efficient management of [corporate overhead] expenses, as well as the profitability of its operations,” according to the company.

During the latest quarter, new investments in construction projects totaled COP$3.5 trillion (US$930 million).

Corporate debt/EBITDA and net debt/EBITDA indicators closed at 3.8-x and 3.1-x, respectively, “which are adequate levels to maintain the current credit rating,” according to ISA.

For the nine months of January through September 2020, net income rose 17.9%, to COP$1.4 trillion (US$372 million), while net margin reached 19.8%.

Operating revenues for nine months 2020 totaled COP$7.1 trillion (US$1.89 billion), up 21.3% year-on-year. Nine-months 2020 EBITDA rose 19.4%, to COP$4.7 trillion (US$1.25 billion), while EBITDA margin came-in at 65.1%, according to the company.

In the latest quarter, operating revenues rose mainly thanks to start-up of energy transmission and substation projects in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, as well as an increase in construction revenues from road concessions mainly in Peru, Brazil, and Chile, the company added.


Medellin-based electric power giant Celsia announced November 5 that its third quarter (3Q) adjusted net income rose 16% year-on-year, to COP$59 billion (US$15.7 million).

Consolidated revenues for 3Q 2020 rose 2% year-on- year. However, consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) declined 22%, to COP$201 billion (US$53.5 million).

Because of Colombia’s mandated reduction in electricity tariffs -- to help those hurt by the Covid-19 crisis -- Celsia absorbed a COP$39 billion (US$10 million) loss on its energy service rate and also was forced to defer COP$78 billion (US$20.7 million) in billings.

Despite those financial setbacks, “the company reached an average collection rate of 95% and the demand for energy in the regulated market in some weeks of September and October presented levels equal to the pre-Covid period,” the company added.

During the latest quarter, the company inaugurated the 19.9 MW PCH (small-scale hydroelectric plant) in San Andrés de Cuerquia and continued upgrades to its existing Tolima and Valle power distribution networks.

Also during 3Q 2020, “an additional non-recurring expense totaling COP$22.98 billion [US$6 million] was presented to the Superintendency of Public Services because of an increase in contributions incorporated into the National Development Plan by modifying the tax base for the calculation, plus an additional contribution to finance the Entrepreneurial Fund,” according to Celsia.

In Colombia, 3Q 2020 revenues represented 89% of the total with Central America accounting for the other 11%. In the same quarter, Colombia contributed 80.6% of consolidated EBITDA while Central America contributed the remaining 19.4%.

As for first nine months of 2020, adjusted EBITDA rose 21%, to COP$900 billion (US$239 million). Adjusted net income for nine-months 2020 was COP$252 billion (US$67 million), up 61%

“This profit reflects the results of the transformation in the company’s portfolio that allows improving the EBITDA margin and obtaining savings in non-operating expenses,” the company added.

Consolidated debt at the end of 3Q 2020 came-in at COP$4.42 trillion (US$1.17 billion), while the net debt-to-EBITDA leverage indicator was 3.26-times.


Colombia’s Ministry of Health announced November 4 that it has decided to eliminate a prior requirement that all airline travelers to Colombia must obtain a negative Covid-19 result from a PCR test within 96 hours of boarding an international flight.

“New conditions to enter the country by air eliminate the requirement of having a negative PCR test result up to 96 hours before the flight,” according to the Ministry.

Instead, passengers must be checked for fever or respiratory symptoms “associated with Covid-19” and must complete the mandatory “Check-Mig” cell-phone application, according to Julian Fernández Niño, director of epidemiology at the Health Ministry.

The new provisions “are made within the framework of the Sustainable Selective Testing, Tracking and Isolation strategy (PRASS),” according to the Ministry.

“For their part, airlines must inform their passengers that upon arrival in Colombia they will be monitored either by their [Colombian health] insurer, the Ministry of Health or through the CCNR National Tracking Contact Center.”

As in prior regulations, all airline travelers over two years of age must wear face masks throughout the flight. Long flights will require passengers to change masks at regular intervals.

In addition, “travelers should avoid using the bathroom as much as possible on flights of less than two hours and remain in the assigned seat during the flight time,” according to the Ministry.

Upon arrivals, passengers “must report to the [CCNR National Tracking Contact Center] if during the 14 days after their trip they present suspicious symptoms of Covid-19.”

“Given recent evidence it is suggested that travelers keep silent as much as possible during the trip, since this reduces the risk of [Covid-19] transmission during the trip,” the Ministry added.


Medellin-based textile giant Fabricato announced November 3 in a filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that its third quarter (3Q) 2020 net loss came-in at COP$3.29 billion (US$861,000), a 75% improvement over the COP$13.27 billion (US$3.47 million) net loss in 3Q 2019.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to COP$6.7 billion (US$1.7 million), up from COP$3 billion (US$785,000) in 3Q 2019, while sales fell 26% year-on-year, to COP$78.9 billion (US$20.6 million), according to the company.

As for nine-months 2020, Fabricato has posted a net loss of COP$22.69 billion (US$5.9 million), a 42% improvement over the net loss for nine-months 2019, according to the company.

Commenting on the results, Fabricato observed that “Colombia began to go through a recovery path (in 3Q 2020) after the strong impact of the second quarter. This process will be slow and gradual and will be determined by the sectoral opening approved by the national and local governments.

“The months from July to September were characterized by staggered quarantines with different levels of openness that were increasing over the months, mainly with regard to trade.

“According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the main obstacles faced by companies in the fashion sector were: 23% reduced sales, 12% higher prices of raw materials, 10% restrictions imposed by local authorities such as quarantines and 9% shortage of raw materials.

“Although the fashion industry has shown a slight reactivation compared to the previous quarter through strategies such as changes in the communication model of companies, restructuring of the commercial strategy, readjustment of the portfolio of products and services, financial restructuring and the increase in the share of sales in the e-commerce channel, they still continue at a low level compared to the same quarter of 2019.

“The 41% reduction in textile exports in the third quarter has an impact on business finances and production volumes. Tthe main reason for this drop was due to the closure of borders and the stimuli of each country to boost local consumption.”

Fabricato’s textile sales have benefitted from increased demand for garments for medical and hospital use.

Demand for fabric for military use and non-woven fibers “also played an important role in the basket of products sold,” the company added.

Improving Commercial Outlook

Since July 2020, “a positive trend in sales began to be seen, mainly in the bidding and institutional market segment,” according to Fabricato

“The month of August and September continued with a positive trend in sales including the export of 300,000 medical gowns to the United States,” the company added.


Nutresa 3Q 2020 Net Income Rises Year-on-Year

Saturday, 31 October 2020 09:33 Written by

Medellin-based multinational prepared-foods giant Grupo Nutresa announced October 30 that its third quarter (3Q) net income rose 7% year-on-year, to COP$142 billion (US$36.6 million).

Operating income also rose, to COP$2.8 trillion (US$722 million) in 3Q 2020 versus COP$2.5 trillion (US$645 million) in 3Q 2019.

For the first nine months of 2020 (through September), consolidated net profit rose 13.8% year-on-year, to COP$469 billion (US$121 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 12.5%, to COP$1.1 trillion (US$284 million).

So far this year, sales in Colombia are up 8.4% year-on-year, hitting COP$4.9 trillion (US$1.26 billion). International sales amount to COP$3.3 trillion (US$851 million), up 22% as measured in Colombian pesos and up 6.7% as measured in U.S. dollars.

“Excluding the acquisitions of Cameron’s Coffee in the United States and Atlantic Food Service in Colombia, organic sales growth reached 8.8%,” according to Nutresa. “Innovation continues to be an important driver of growth for the organization as innovation-driven sales represent 20.2% of total revenues.”

Corporate-wide gross profit rose 7.7%, to COP$3.4 trillion (US$877 million). “This growth, which is lower than the increase in revenues, is mainly due to higher commodities prices in some of the countries from our strategic regions,” according to Nutresa.


Medellin-based multinational utilities giant EPM announced October 29 that its third quarter (3Q) 2020 net income hit COP$1.3 trillion (US$337 million), up sharply from COP$457 billion (US$134 million) in 3Q 2019.

As for the first nine months of this year (January through September), EPM Group revenues are up 6%, to COP$14.1 trillion (US$3.65 billion), “thanks to the responsible management of finances and the diversification of the portfolio of services in six countries, which includes water supply; wastewater management; generation, distribution and transmission of energy; natural gas supply and solid waste management,” the company noted.

Nine-months 2020 operating income dipped 7% year-on-year, to COP$3.2 trillion (US$829 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 4%, to COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.1 billion). EBTDA margin came-in at 31%.

“Of the COP$14.1 trillion [US$3.65 billion] of income achieved by the Group for the January-September period, EPM’s parent company contributed 51%, foreign affiliates 33% and national energy and water affiliates 16%,” according to EPM.

For full-year 2020,  EPM Group now estimates corporate profits between COP$2 trillion (US$518 million) to COP$2.4 trillion (US$622 million).

These estimates consider factors including “the coronavirus pandemic with its effect on the demand for public services and the payment of bills, the evolution of energy prices in the medium and long term, macroeconomics and the behavior of the exchange rate, as well as the incorporation of the new [Caribbean electric power] subsidiary Afinia to financial statements,” according to the company.

Covid-19 Impacts

Because of Colombian government decrees aiming to help families and businesses financially hurt by the Covid-19 shutdowns, EPM has had to absorb significant revenue cutbacks, the company noted.

Through the first nine months of 2020, EPM suffered revenue losses totaling almost COP$500 billion (US$130 million), “mainly due to lower revenues of COP$369 billion [US$95 million] and higher costs and expenses of COP$124 billion [US$32 million],” according to the company.

“The increases are in accounts-receivable (COP$269 billion/US$70 million); lower collections (COP$360 billion/US$93 million); discounts on timely payment (COP$19 billion/US$5 million) and freezes on financing installments (COP$31 billion/S$8 million),” according to EPM.

EPM finances also have been hurt by an exceptionally long drought season (through August this year) with resulting low hydrology in Colombia, impacting hydroelectric output.

“Another factor that weighed on results for the period was the lower demand for water, energy and natural gas associated with [reduced] economic activity, as a result of Covid-19,” according to EPM.

“In addition was the effect of a higher net accounting expense, excluding cash, due to an exchange difference of COP$748 billion (US$194 million), mainly caused by the restatement of debt in the U.S. dollars associated with the accumulated 18.36% devaluation of the Colombian peso.”

However, EPM has recouped COP$603 billion (US$156 million) of earlier exchange-rate losses recorded in March, “given the revaluation of the Colombian peso as of the second quarter of this year,” according to the company.

“Additionally, EPM has carried out actions in development of its foreign exchange risk hedging strategy that has allowed it to significantly improve its risk profile against currency volatility,” the company added.

Of the COP$1.49 trillion (US$389 million) budgeted for 2020  for profit transfers to the city of Medellin (its sole shareholder), EPM has already made payments of COP$1.3 trillion (US$337 million), the company added.

For the upcoming 2021 year, EPM estimates profit payments to the city of Medellín to be in the range of COP$1.1 trillion (US$285 million) to COP$1.3 trillion (US$337 million).

 At the end of September 2020, EPM reported total assets of COP$62.8 trillion (US$16.3 billion), up 14%, while liabilities rose 23%, to COP$37.9 trillion (US$9.8 billion). The debt/EBITDA ratio closed the third quarter at 4.41, compared to 3.80 in 2019.


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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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