Cementos Argos Full-Year 2019 Profits Fall Year-on-Year
Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete producer Cementos Argos on February 21 reported US$37 million net income for full-year 2019, a 39% decline year-on year as measured in U.S. dollars.
Revenues were essentially flat at US$2.85 billion in 2019 versus US$2.84 billion in 2018, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 2.9% year-on-year, to US$535 million.
Fourth-quarter (4Q) 2019 net income fell 39% year-on-year, to US$48.8 million, but 4Q 2019 EBITDA rose 7.1% year-on-year, to US$479 million. Gross revenues rose 3.7%, to US$686 million.
“In the United States — the company’s main market — cement sales reached 6.3 million tons, with record growth of 9.5% or around 545,000 tons,” according to Argos. U.S. market revenues rose 7.8% year-on-year, to US$1.6 billion, while EBITDA rose 12%, to US$268 million.
Corporate-wide across all markets, Cementos Argos dispatched 16 million tons of cement (up 0.6% over 2018) and 10 million cubic meters of concrete (down 1.5%) in 2019.
“These volumes reflect a positive growth of the demand in the United States, the still-challenging market conditions in Honduras and Panama and the short-term effect of the strategy to recover prices in Colombia,” according to the company.
“In Colombia, a significant price recovery was achieved, supported by good growth in demand and growing acceptance of Argos’ value proposition, both in the mass markets and industrial markets,” according to the company.
“Of the 34 countries in which the company sells, measured in U.S. dollars, Colombia has the lowest-priced cement,” which discourages imports competition, according to Argos.
Despite advantages in cement prices and value proposition, Colombia results were affected by “high inflation of fuel costs, which increased 7.14% in 2019, especially due to the increase in the internal price of coal during the first semester,” according to the company.
Argos also suffered a temporary decline in sales because of a landslide near its Rioclaro, Antioquia plant, which caused a 13-day closure of the Medellin-Bogotá highway.
As a result, Colombia cement volumes dipped 3% year-on-year and concrete sales fell 5.3%, according to the company.
Despite those setbacks, Colombia 2019 revenues nevertheless rose 3.8% year-on-year, to COP$2.3 trillion (US$677 million), while Colombia EBITDA rose 20% year-on-year, to COP$522 billion (US$153 million), according to the company.
“The Colombian market continues to show a positive growth trend,” according to Argos. “Important infrastructure, housing and commercial buildings projects continue to drive the development of the sector.”
On the other hand, in its Caribbean and Central America regional markets, Argos faced “significant challenges due to the short-term difficulties facing the economies of Honduras and Panama.” Nevertheless, Argos “managed to compensate to some extent the impact on the results with the growth of exports and the good performance of operations in the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” according to the company.
Even so, the Caribbean/Central America region “remains the most profitable for the company in terms of EBITDA margin and return on capital employed,” according to Argos.