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Companies 313

Written by April 25 2020 0

While most Colombia-based companies are getting clobbered by the Coronavirus crisis, companies making and selling groceries and prepared foods through stores to date are doing relatively well.

Example: Medellin-based multinational foods giant Grupo Nutresa on April 24 reported a COP$190 billion (US$47 million) consolidated net profit for first quarter (1Q) 2020, up 9.1% year-on-year.

Consolidated sales rose 18.4%, to COP$2.7 trillion (US$668 million), according to the company.

“Excluding the acquisitions of Atlantic Food Service in Colombia, and of Cameron’s Coffee in the United States, the group’s organic sales growth was 13%,” according to Nutresa.

“In Colombia, sales had a solid performance at COP$1.6 trillion (US$395 million), 61.2% of the group’s total sales, with a growth of 15.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

“Organic growth was equally outstanding, with an increase of 11.6%. About 85% of the growth dynamic in Colombia was driven by higher volumes.”

International sales expressed in Colombian pesos rose 23%, to COP$1 trillion (US$247 million).
“International organic growth, in U.S. dollars, was up 2%, and in COP, up 15.3%,” the company added.

Positive sales growth came from “a portfolio of foods for daily consumption at home, which have had adequate availability in traditional channels such as neighborhood stores, supermarkets, and supermarkets, as well as in alternative channels of the group,” according to Nutresa.

Operating profit rose 11.5%, to COP$256.6 billion (US$63 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 17.5%, to COP$376 billion (US$93 million). with EBITDA margin at 14.1%.

“This result was the result of a management oriented towards the rationalization of spending, with the aim of having an increasingly efficient and flexible structure,” according to Nutresa.

Financial expense rose 6.1% “derived from the greater indebtedness for the acquisition of Cameron’s Coffee in 2019 and new loans for working capital taken during the period,” according to the company.

Written by April 23 2020 0

AngloGold Ashanti Colombia announced April 23 that its proposed “Quebradona” copper-gold mine project near Jerico, Antioquia soon will get a second information-gathering visit from Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Licencias Ambientales (ANLA, the environmental permitting agency).

Commenting on the news, company president Felipe Marquez added that the upcoming site visit “is very positive because it will enable [ANLA] to get more information for a licensing decision that will enjoy absolute transparency, technical rigor and opportune citizen participation.”

“The second visit will be made once the national government lifts the restrictions that were established before the health emergency that the country is experiencing due to the spread of Covid-19,” according to AngloGold Ashanti.

On a parallel front, AngloGold announced that as of April 21, the company restarted some preliminary works at the site – following new Colombia Health Ministry biosafety protocols to protect workers and people near the site from contracting Coronavirus.

“Quebradona resumes some of its activities in the field with the purpose of reactivating the work and advancing the activities that are essential for the continuity of the project,” according to AngloGold.

“The restart of priority activities is carried out within the framework of a strict biosecurity protocol that seeks to protect the health and life of its collaborators, contractors, suppliers and inhabitants of its area of influence.

“There are some tasks and activities that, by their nature, require to be carried out on site and which are not a source of risk for community contagion, since they do not crowd large numbers of people around one site, they do not take place in closed spaces and they do not imply interaction with people who come from the outside.

“In line with the regulations of the Ministries of Health and Social Protection, Labor and Mines and Energy, which established the conditions under which the mining sector can operate and complying with the recommendations of the Jericho Ministry of Health, AngloGold Ashanti designed complete and detailed operating protocols aimed at minimizing the risk of spreading the Covid-19.

“The protocols include provisions related to the control and rapid detection of possible cases, mandatory hygiene measures for people, sanitation processes for facilities, measures for the transport of personnel, recommendations for extra-occupational care, guidelines for health personnel, among others.”

Written by April 08 2020 0

Medellin-based Grupo Exito announced April 7 that it’s accelerating mass production of special masks to protect against Coronavirus infections – and plans to sell the masks at its Exito, Carulla, Surtimax, SuperInter and Surtimayorista stores throughout Colombia.

“Today more than 3,000 people are dedicated to making face masks in the workshops where the clothes of Grupo Éxito's own brands are usually made,” according to the company.

“Around 50 manufacturing workshops of Grupo Éxito's own brands, located in Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Caldas and Tolima, are now spaces dedicated to the manufacture of fabric face masks, commonly known as face masks.”

The urgent need for mass production is not only to protect supermarket and pharmacy workers, public utility workers and many others exempt from the current quarantine, but also to protect the general public, the company noted.

“The national government has established the mandatory use of face masks in public transport systems, areas of massive influx of people, people with respiratory symptoms and high-risk groups,” according to Exito.

“Likewise, the making of these cloth masks represents an important boost in a [textile-clothing] sector hit by the effects of Covid-19, to preserve the employment of more than 3,000 collaborators linked to the project."

So far, 20 million face masks have been progressively manufactured since March 18.

“Weekly more than 2 million units are produced by 3,000 people in Cali, Manizales, Ibagué, Medellín, Sabaneta, Envigado, Itagüí, Bello, Santa Rosa de Osos and Don Matías, who as a result of this activity keep their jobs,” according to the company.

“With actions like this we promote work in about 50 textile companies, which brings relief in the face of the economic challenges that the sector and its workers are going through,” added Exito president Carlos Mario Giraldo.

Meanwhile, in an April 6 filing with Colombia’s corporate oversight agency Superfinanciera, Medellin-based textile giant Coltejer revealed that it has just restarted a production line -- dedicated to production of protective clothing and cleaning supplies for confronting the Coronavirus crisis.

Among other local companies already involved in mass production of special textiles to protect people against Coronavirus is clothing giant Everfit, as noted in a report in daily newspaper El Colombiano.

Written by April 04 2020 0

Medellin-based electric power generation giant Isagen revealed in an April 2 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera corporate oversight agency that its full-year 2019 net income rose 9% year-on-year, to COP$495 billion (US$123 million).

However, fourth-quarter (4Q) 2019 net income dropped 62% year-on-year, to COP$144 billion (US$35.8 million), as lower rainfall in Colombia led to a 23% net decline in hydropower output.

Isagen is the third-largest power generator in Colombia at 3.03 gigawatts (GW) capacity -- 90% of which is hydroelectric power.

Full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 28% year-on-year, to COP$1.9 trillion (US$472 million), while gross revenues rose 20%, to COP$3.2 trillion (US$795 million), according to Isagen.

During 2019, energy demand on Colombia’s national power grid (Sistema Interconectado Nacional, SIN) was up 4% year-on-year. However, accumulated generation by Isagen for full-year 2019 dipped 8% year-on-year.

During 4Q 2019, hydropower contributions to the SIN were only 77% of the historical average, although for full-year 2019, hydropower accounted for 88% of the Colombian total -- still down from 2018 because of lower total rainfall.

During 2019, the average power price received by generators to the national grid was COP$229 (US$0.057) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 98% higher than the average price recorded in 2018.

Isagen credited its over-all improvement in 2019 financial results to “higher energy sales revenue in contracts as a result of better prices” as well as sales to the national grid “largely due to the fact that since March [2019], the [820-MW] Sogamoso power plant [in Santander] started to provide power” to the national grid.

Aside from the Sogamoso plant, Isagen’s other power plants include the 1.24-GW “San Carlos” hydropower plant in Antioquia; the 396-MW “Miel 1” hydropower plant in Caldas; the 300-MW “Termocentro” thermal power plant in Santander; the 170-MW “Jaguas” hydroelectric power plant in Antioquia; the 80-MW “Amoyá” hydroelectric plant in Tolima and the 26-MW “Calderas” hydroelectric plant in Antioquia.

Isagen’s majority shareholder is BRE Colombia Hydro Investments Ltd, a division of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management. BRE’s strategic focus is on “development of a portfolio of renewable energies that take advantage of sources such as water, wind and sunlight,” according to the company.

Written by March 31 2020 0

Medellin-based nationwide telecom/internet/cable-TV giant UNE-EPM revealed March 31 that its full-year 2019 after-tax profits rose to a relatively modest COP$519 million (US$128,000) -- up from a substantial COP$65 billion (US$16 million) net loss in 2018.

The profits improvement is explained mainly by the sale of cell-phone towers along with more favorable results from affiliate Colombia Móvil, which operates under the “Tigo” trade name, according to UNE-EPM.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also improved in 2019, to COP$1.6 trillion (US$394 million), versus COP$1.4 trillion (US$345 million) in 2018.

Revenues in 2019 climbed to COP$4.9 trillion (US$1.2 billion), up from COP$4.8 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2018.

Highlights of 2019 included Colombia Movil winning a 10-MHz spectrum-use permit for a 10-year term, as well as potential gains from another spectrum auction in December. “Obtaining 40-MHz in the 700-MHz band will expand coverage to thousands of users and improve mobile data service,” according to the company.

The Colombia Móvil division saw revenues rise 4.2% year-on-year, to COP$2.24 trillion (US$552 million), while the division’s EBITDA hit COP$655 billion (US$161 million) and profits rose to COP$27 billion (US$6.6 million), according to the company.

Meanwhile, the Edatel subsidiary (telecom in rural areas) saw revenues rise to COP$210 billion (US$51.7 million), with EBITDA at $82 billion (US$20 million) and profits of COP$19 billion (US$4.6 million).

The “OSI” and “CTC” subsidiaries meanwhile generated EBITDA of COP$10 billion (US$2.4 million) and profits of COP$4 billion (US$986,000), according to the company.

Fiber-optic broadband coverage -- enabling 50-megabytes per second connections -- grew by almost 6%, “allowing us to reach more homes with internet, broadband, television and telephone services on this technology,” according to the company.

As a result, “in 2019 our subscriber base grew close to 7% on the internet, 6% on digital television and 2% on landlines; achieving an increase higher than 3% in new clients,” according to the company.

Mobile/Cell-Phone Business

“The prepaid [cell-phone service] market had little change in supply, where we continue to be competitive incorporating unlimited voice to all operators,” according to UNE-EPM.

“Prepaid had revenue growth of more than 1% versus 2018, leveraged mainly due to increased package sales. Additionally, the 4G prepaid user base LTE increased 42% versus 2018, both by new users and by penetration of existing users at the base.

“In postpaid we continue with our plans based on simplicity, which consist of three plans with unlimited minutes and messages and data to always be connected [and] where included, accessories to improve the user experience such as music, equipment insurance and preferential service.

“In addition, we make alliances with main banks in the country to offer cell-phone financing at a 0% interest rate. Also, we continue with differential offers on phones such as ‘2x1,’ so that our customers can access the latest generation phones in 4G.

“Thanks to this, in 2019 our base of customers increased by about 10% and the empowerment of more LTE sites supported the increase in our postpaid mobile data users by more than 18%,” according to the company.

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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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