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Written by April 28 2022 0

Colombia-based Cemex LatAm Holdings announced today (April 28) that its first quarter (1Q) 2022 net income jumped 324% year-on-year, to US$16 million, from US$3.8 million in 1Q 2021 – following a US$$335 million gain from the sale of Costa Rica and El Salvador assets.

Revenues also rose 8%, to US$208 million, but operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) actually declined 12%, to US$36 million, according to the company.

In Colombia, 1Q 2022 sales rose 9% year-on-year, to US$110 million, but operating EBITDA declined by 19%, US$17 million.

In Colombia, “our domestic gray cement, ready-mix and aggregates volumes increased by 4%, 14% and 16%, respectively, during the quarter. Regarding pricing, our cement prices improved by 5% and 1% on a sequential and year-over-year basis, respectively, in local currency terms.

“The 5% increase in cement pricing on a sequential basis was driven by our price increase executed in December.

“In the ready-mix concrete business, our volume growth during the quarter was supported by increased market demand in the formal sector, and our recent investments to increase the ready-mix footprint mainly in the metro areas of Bogota and Cali,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, 1Q 2022 sales in Panama jumped 25% year-on-year, to US$36 million, while operating EBITDA there dipped 7%, to US$7.8 million.

In Panama, “our domestic gray cement, ready-mix and aggregates volumes increased by 5%, 15% and 20%, respectively, during the quarter,” according to Cemex.

“Volume growth in our cement and ready-mix was businesses was driven primarily by increased activity in the infrastructure sector, mainly in the third line of the Metro. Despite the improvement, industry volumes are still below pre-pandemic levels.

“During the quarter, our cement plant exported more than 80,000 tons of cement and clinker to nearby markets with supply shortages,” the company added.

Sales in its other Central American markets -- Guatemala and Nicaragua -- rose 7%, to US$63 million, but operating EBITDA fell 8%, to US$10 million, according to the company.

“In Guatemala, cement volumes improved during the quarter on a year-over-year basis, mainly driven by increased activity in the self-construction sector and a recovery in the formal sector,” according to Cemex LatAm.

“In Nicaragua, cement volumes improved during the quarter mainly driven by increased activity in the infrastructure sector,” the company added.

Corporate-wide, “net sales during the first quarter of 2022 increased by 13% on a like-to-like basis adjusting for foreign exchange fluctuations, compared with those of the first quarter of 2021,” according to Cemex LatAm. “Higher consolidated volumes and cement prices were the main drivers of the improvement.”

Meanwhile, corporate-wide cost-of-sales as a percentage of net sales increased by 4.2 percentage-points, from 61.4% in 1Q 2021 to 65.6% in 1Q 2022. “The increase was primarily due to higher variable costs, mainly in kiln fuel,” driven by the world-wide hike in oil prices this year.

Written by April 27 2022 0

Medellin-based multinational electric-power and utilities giant EPM announced April 26 that its first quarter (1Q) net income rose 46% year-on-year, to COP$1.2 trillion (US$302 million).

Revenues likewise rose 31% year-on-year to COP$7.3 trillion (US$1.84 billion) “thanks to higher energy sales and higher consumption of electricity, gas and water services, as a result of the economic reactivation” following prior lockdowns and restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 33% year-on-year, to COP$2.3 trillion (US$580 million), while EBITDA margin rose one percentage point, to 32%, according to the company.

“These good results also included a 13% growth in [hydroelectric] power generation thanks to the high water inflows from the prolonged rainy season,” according to EPM. “In addition, [EPM realized] a 27% increase in natural-gas consumption in the regulated market and in sales to thermal power plants.”

EPM Group not only includes operations in Colombia, but also power generation operations in Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. Those international subsidiaries accounted for 27% of corporate revenues, according to the company.

From its profits, EPM will pay the city of Medellin -- its sole owner -- COP$1.9 trillion (US$479 million), equivalent to 55% of the net profit of 2021.

At the end of 1Q 2022, EPM Group’s assets totaled COP$68 trillion (US$17 billion), up 0.3%, while liabilities rose 4%, to COP$40.5 trillion (US$10.2 billion).

Investments in infrastructure totaled COP$853 billion (US$215 million), of which COP$374 billion (US$94 million) went for the continuing construction of the US$5 billion Hidroituango hydroelectric plant in Antioquia, according to the company.

Written by April 03 2022 0

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.

Written by April 01 2022 0

Medellin-based Valores Industriales – an investment group dealing mainly in real-estate, forestry products and industrial/commercial operators including Medellin-based salt/chemicals giant Brinsa SA – announced March 31 that full-year 2021 profits jumped to COP$59 billion (US$15.7 million), up from COP$14.7 billion (US$3.9 million) in 2020.

The big jump in profits came from Valores Industriales sale of its entire 73-million shareholding in Medellin-based paper-products multinational Grupo Familia. Those shares were acquired by Sweden-based global paper giant Essity Group, which last year bought virtually all of Grupo Familia’s outstanding stock.

Valores Industriales subsequently reinvested those profits by boosting its shareholdings in Brinsa SA, with a 539-million-shares-buy that has brought Valores Industriales (and an affiliate) a net 31.37% stake in Brinsa.

Valores Industriales was born in 1997 via a spin-off from Productos Familia. But since then, the company has concentrated mainly on forestry and real-estate investments.

In 2021 alone, Valores Industriales investigated more than 30 potential investment deals in sectors including automotive chemicals, processed foods, brick production, dermatological products, commercial buildings, construction, eight potential forestry sites, proposed cannabis- and cacao-cultivation projects, small-scale hydroelectric projects and solar-power projects, according to the company.

Written by April 01 2022 0

Toronto-based GCM Mining (formerly known as Gran Colombia Gold, with principal operations in Antioquia) announced March 31 that its full-year 2021 net income rose to US$180 million, up from a US$27 million net loss in 2020.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2021 slipped year-on-year, to US$171.6 million, from US$187.8 million in 2020. Revenues likewise dipped to US$382 million, from US$391 million in 2020.

Cash costs in 2021 rose to US$824 per ounce, from US$768 per ounce in 2020.

Total gold production also declined in 2021 to 208,817 ounces, from 220,194 ounces in 2020. However, gold prices in 2021 rose to an average US$1,794, from US$1,751 in 2020, boosting net income.

On November 29, 2021, Gran Colombia Gold changed its name to GCM Mining Corp. “to reflect its strategy to grow through diversification, expanding its operations and investments to other countries and broadening its products to include other metals beyond just gold and silver,” according to the company.

Still, the majority of GCM’s production remains in Colombia -- principally at its giant Segovia, Antioquia, underground mining operations.

In June 2021, GCM “acquired all of the shares of Gold X Mining Corp that it did not already own and then closed a US$300 million offering in August 2021 of 6.875% senior unsecured notes due 2026 to fund the development of the Toroparu Project [in Guyana], to prepay the remaining US$18 million balance of its gold notes in September and for general corporate purposes,” the company explained.

“The updated MRE [mineral resource estimate] for Toroparu includes 8.4 million ounces of Measured & Indicated gold resources at 1.42 grams per ton, and 396 million pounds of Measured & Indicated copper resource at 0.1%, in 185 million tonnes of rock,” the company added.

Elsewhere in 2021, GMC “added a 27% equity interest in Denarius Metals Corp. to its portfolio, giving it exposure to the Lomero-Poyatos polymetallic deposit in Spain in the Iberian Pyrite Belt and to the Guia Antigua and Zancudo Projects in Colombia,” the company noted.

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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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