May 19, 2024
Companies

Comptroller-General’s Hidroituango Damage Claims Trigger Conconcreto Bankruptcy Filing

Only one day after its fellow “Hidroituango” hydroelectric-project contractor Coninsa Ramon H filed for bankruptcy, Medellin-based construction giant Constructora Conconcreto likewise today (October 13) filed for bankruptcy, citing Colombia’s Comptroller-General proposed COP$4.3 billion (US$1.15 billion) fine for supposed “gross negligence” that allegedly caused an enormously costly 2018 diversion-tunnel collapse at Hidroituango, now almost completely recovered.

While Conconcreto states in the filing that its over-all financial outlook is “solid and positive,” nevertheless “the recent ruling in the first instance of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic for a figure of COP$4.3 trillion [US$1.15 billion] has an undeniable patrimonial and operational impact.”

The bankruptcy petition “aims to guarantee the sustainability of Constructora Conconcreto, maintain the more than 12,000 jobs that it currently generates, comply with all obligations and mitigate the uncertainty generated by speculation in the market and the eventual consequences of the ratification of the ruling of the Comptroller General of the Republic through the mechanisms provided by law,” according to the company.

“In the next few days, the negotiation phase of the reorganization agreement with the creditors participating in the process will begin,” the company added.

Commenting on the filing, Conconcreto president Juan Luis Aristizábal added: “We are prepared and committed to the country, Antioquia and their communities in the culmination of the Hidroituango project, critical for the energy stability of Colombia.”

Antioquia Governor Gaviria Urges Insurance-Settlement Pathway

Meanwhile, Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria today publicly urged that any financial settlement over the diversion-tunnel collapse ought to be the exclusive province of Hidroituango project insurer Mapfre (along with other lesser insurers), with whom EPM has a damages policy totaling more than US$2 billion.

Mapfre has already paid US$350 million to EPM for Hidroituango damages, and likely would continue to make further payments — barring some contradictory legal ruling putting blame for the tunnel collapse on contractors, consultants and politicians, rather than upon an unforseen, unpredictable tunnel fracture.

“The solution for Hidroituango has been, is and will be, as it should be: PAYMENT BY INSURANCE COMPANIES,” Governor Gaviria publicly stated today, adding further emphasis by inserting all-capital letters.

This statement puts the Antioquia Governor in direct conflict with Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero, who has issued wild, President-Trump-like conspiracy theories about “corruption” among former EPM officials and supposed negligence and/or conflicts-of-interest among contractors, consultants, former EPM officials and former politicians. Quintero has already sued the contractors and consultants for US$2.85 billion in a proceeding separate (but parallel to) the Comptroller-General’s legal claims.

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