September 27, 2023

Compañía de Empaques Net Income Jumps 59% Year-on-Year

Medellin-based natural-fibers and consumer/industrial/agricultural-packaging specialist Compañía de Empaques revealed April 1 that its full-year 2021 net income rose 59% year-on-year, to COP$32 billion (US$8.5 million).

Sales in 2021 also rose 29%, to COP$613 billlion (US$164 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 29.6%, to COP$69 billion (US$18 million).

Also during 2021, the company adopted a new “Grupo Excala” brand name for all its products and operations including “fique” natural fiber — not only in Colombia, but also in Ecuador and then later in Mexico, operations of which debuted in mid-2021, in Guadalajara.

“In our agricultural division, we continue to develop new products and applications for fique and its derivations, in order to use all its components including biomass, energy production and sub-products that can be used as source materials for other products,” according to the company.

The company also successfully realized its very-first “sustainable bonds” issue through BID Invest, putting the company on a stronger “green” pathway for the future.

“We continue promoting the cultivation of fique in Cauca, Nariño and northeast Antioquia and supporting indigenous communities and farmers in those regions,” according to the company.

“We are convinced that through the establishment of legal crops and dignified labor practices, these areas can leave-behind the cultivation of illegal drug crops that unfortunately threaten people in these areas,” the company added.

While gross revenues of the company rose 38.9% in 2021 versus 2020, operating costs rose even more, by 40.5% year-on-year, to COP$288 billion (US$77 million).

Meanwhile, a rise in prices for synthetic-fiber feedstocks – mainly caused by worldwide supply-chain disruptions – likewise triggered higher sales prices for some its products.

Similarly, “prices of natural fibers have been rising since the end of 2021 because of the high costs of labor for cultivation and harvest — a direct consequence arising from competition from illegal-drugs cultivators, who offer salaries three times that of legal crop cultivators. This in addition to the impact of violence and social chaos caused by illegal cultivators,” the company added.

Aiming to help counteract this competitive problem, the company “continues to develop new technologies for the industrialization of fique cultivation, especially in the process of de-fibering, drying and management of sub-products,” according to Compañía de Empaques.

Corporate-wide capex in 2021 totaled COP$17 billion (US$4.5 million) “and we continue with 2022 and 2023 planned investments totaling around COP$46 billion [US$12.3 million], to expand our production and infrastructure capacities,” the company added.

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