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Companies 368

Written by February 18 2020 0

Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos on February 14 announced the debut of a US$78 million “green cement” processing facility at its 2.3 million tonnes/year Rioclaro, Antioquia cement plant.

The new technology cuts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up-to-38% while cutting energy consumption by 30%, according to Argos.

“For the first time in Colombia is this type of cement produced, in which a porrtion of the traditional ‘clinker’ raw material is replaced by thermally activated clays (artificial pozzolana),” according to Argos.

The new facility thermally activates 450,000 tonnes/year of certain clays used in Portland cement production.

“With this project we are leading the industry and sowing the seeds of the Argos of the future, which starts today a new production line in Rioclaro, but which has a gigantic growth potential in all geographies,” added Cementos Argos President Juan Esteban Calle.

The new facility also “allows Argos greater flexibility and positions it as the first cement producer in Colombia to offer its customers a broad portfolio of products,” according to Argos.

“The entry into operation of this new [production] line, added to the modern Cartagena [Colombia] plant and other facilities in the national geography, gives Argos the largest installed capacity in the country for the production of cement and concrete,” the company added.

Written by February 13 2020 0

Colombia-based aviation giant Avianca announced February 13 the launch of its new “Avianca Express” division for new routes including flights from Medellin’s downtown Olaya Herrera airport (EOH).

Absent from EOH for 20 years, “Avianca Express” soon will launch flights utilizing ATR-72 propeller aircraft to and from downtown Medellin -- initially serving Quibdó, Montería and Bucaramanga, starting March 30.

“Given the importance of Medellín as a development hub in the Colombian territory, the Olaya Herrera airport will be one of the most robust foci of operations that Avianca Express will have to connect the regions of the country,” according to the company.

Avianca Express also announced new flights to-and-from Bogota to cities including Corozal, Florencia, Ibagué, Manizales and Villavicencio, according to the company.

Medellin is the only city in Colombia with two airports: Downtown EOH for domestic flights mainly to smaller cities, and Jose Maria Cordova (JMC) international airport in the eastern Medellin suburb of Rionegro.

Written by February 12 2020 0

Medellin-based Compañia de Empaques -- manufacturer of more than 1,500 types of packaging materials and fibers for industrial, agricultural, construction and infrastructure sectors – on February 10 revealed in a filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that its full-year 2019 profits hit COP$12.8 billion (US$3.77 million), up from COP$10.6 billion (US$3 million) in 2018.

At its upcoming shareholders meeting March 4 in the Medellin suburb of Itagüí, the company’s board proposes to pay COP$5.9 billion (US$1.7 million) in dividends, with monthly payments of COP$40 (US$0.01) per share between April 2020 and March 2021, according to the filing.

Compañía de Empaques -- which produces more than 30,000 tonnes per year of products and employs a workforce of 1,500 -- boasts of more than 75 years of experience in “transformation of natural fibers and plastic resins into practical [packaging] solutions.”

Products include “sacks and fabrics of synthetic fiber and natural fiber, zunchos [specialty threads and cords], packaging meshes, shade fabrics for the protection of crops, natural and synthetic fiber rope, erosion-control mantles, mesh and plastic protection and enclosure fabrics, printable input solutions for signage, advertising and commerce, and packaging and storage solutions for homes and offices.

“Our corporate social responsibility is focused on promoting the planting and transformation of fique -- a biodegradable and very resistant fiber native to the Andes -- which represents an important source of livelihood for more than 50,000 Colombian families and contributes to the substitution of illegal crops in our country. For this social purpose, we have the support of different national and foreign entities,” the company adds.

Written by February 12 2020 0

Colombia-based cement/concrete producer Cemex LatAm Holdings revealed in a February 12 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that its full-year 2019 net profits plummeted to US$4 million, from US$63 million in 2018.

For fourth quarter (4Q) 2019, the company posted a net loss of US$3 million, compared to a 4Q 2018 net profit of US$10 million.

Sales for full-year 2019 likewise declined 11% year-on-year and 9% quarter-on-quarter, according to Cemex LatAm.

Results in Colombia generally improved, compared to company operations elsewhere in Latin America.

“In Colombia, our net sales and operating [cash] flow improved by 7% and 3%, respectively, in terms of local currency throughout the year 2019,” according to Cemex.

Cement prices in Colombia rose by 11% from December 2018 to December 2019 in terms of Colombian pesos, while sales volumes improved by 9% during 2019.

As for the current outlook on expected sales volumes in Colombia, Cemex estimates that 2020 cement volumes will decline by 4% to 6%, but concrete volumes should rise by 3% to 5%.

In the Colombia residential sector, “we estimate that national cement shipments to this sector increased by a low digits during 4Q 2019 and the full year, compared to the same periods last year,” according to Cemex.

“Cement volumes for the self-construction segment [in Colombia] improved during 2019, driven by economic recovery and remittances [of U.S. dollars from Colombians working overseas].

“In [Colombia’s] social housing segment, indicators such as permits, launches and sales improved in double digits during the last six months.”

As for Colombia’s infrastructure sector, “this was the sector with the best performance during 2019, increasing in double digits. We expect the national cement/concrete demand for the fourth generation ['4G' highway construction program] to increase more than 50% in 2020.

“Our [2019] volumes for this sector were supported by 4G projects, as well as projects in Bogotá such as the Salitre water treatment plant and the CETIC Hospital, among other projects throughout the country,” Cemex added.

Commenting on the over-all results, Cemex LatAm general director Jesús González stated that the company is “satisfied with our results in Colombia.”

“However, our consolidated results were affected by the depreciation of the Colombian peso against the U.S. dollar and much weaker markets in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. To respond to this challenge -- and as part of our ‘stronger Cemex’ plan in 2019 -- we achieved recurring savings of US$20 million and dedicated our free cash flow to reduce financial debt.

“During 2019, our free cash flow improved by 68%, reaching US$93 million and reducing our net debt by US$92 million dollars, or 11%.

"Additionally, during December we refinanced loans with maturity in 2020. Now, our debt maturity profile is more manageable, and we have no significant debt maturities until December 2022."

Beyond Colombia, Cemex LatAm’s corporate-wide 4Q 2019 volumes of gray cement, concrete and aggregates decreased by 3%, 13% and 10%, respectively, compared to 4Q 2018.

In Panama, 4Q 2019 cash flow dropped by 23%, to US$10 million. Net 4Q sales likewise fell 27%, to US$38 million, according to the company.

In Costa Rica, 4Q 2019 cash flow fell 27%, to US$7 million, while net sales fell 20%, to US$22 million.

In the rest of its operating areas (Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala), cash flow fell 25% year-on- year in 4Q 2019, to US$14 million, while 4Q 2019 net sales declined 11% year-on-year, to US$52 million.

Written by February 11 2020 0

Spain-based Air Europa announced February 10 that it’s expanding its Medellin-Madrid-Medellin nonstop service to four times per week (up from three currently) starting in April 2020.

“This new operation, which responds to the good [market-demand] behavior shown by the route since its launch [last June], will mean an average increase of 30.7% in the number of seats,” according to the company.

The Medellin-Madrid-Medellin service attracted 44,000 passengers last year, with plane occupancy rates “close to 90%,” according to the company, a division of the Globalia tourism conglomerate.

The expansion means that Air Europa nonstop service on Boeing 787-8 “Dreamliners” will include Fridays in addition to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The new-generation, fuel-efficient planes carry 274 passengers in economy class and 22 in business, “generating less [greenhouse gas] emissions than any other aircraft of similar size,” according to Air Europa.

Via its hub operations in Madrid, “Air Europa will consolidate other destinations on its international map with an increase in frequencies and the progressive arrival of the new Boeing 787-9” aircraft, according to the company.

“The Air Europa fleet is one of the most modern on the [European] continent. It consists of more than 50 aircraft whose average age does not exceed four years,” according to the company.

Air Europa is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, formed by 19 airlines that collectively transport more than 630 million passengers annually through 15,400 daily flights to more than 1,000 destinations in more than 170 countries.

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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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