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Medellin-based construction giants Construcciones El Condor and Constructora Conconcreto this month reported variable financial results for third quarter (3Q) 2019.

For Conconcreto, 3Q 2019 net income rose 45% year-on-year, to COP$72.8 billion (US$21.8 million).

Conconcreto attributed the boost in profits to “good results in construction projects and also execution of its plan for disinvestments.”

Total consolidated assets for Conconcreto hit COP$1.55 trillion (US$464 million) in the latest quarter, the highest in the history of the company.

El Condor Dips

Meanwhile, Construcciones El Condor saw its 3Q 2019 net income drop sharply to COP$8 billion (US$2.4 million ) versus COP$53 billion (US$16 million) in 3Q 2018.

Revenue from ordinary activities during 3Q 2019 was COP$224 billion (US$67 million), down 17% compared to 3Q 2018.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were COP$47 billion (US$14 million), with EBITDA margin at 21%, “within the company's historical average.”

Operating profit fell 55% year-on-year, to COP$28.7 billion (US$8.6 million), explained by a non-recurring COP$31 billion (US$9 million) gain in 3Q 2018 from liquidation of an engineering contract for the Cesar-Guajira road concession, according to the company.

As for nine-months (January through September) 2019, El Condor saw revenues dip 5.7% year-on-year, to COP$637 billion (US$191 million). Nearly all of these revenues came from payments for construction services on the “Ruta al Mar” and “Pacifico 2” highway projects in Antioquia as well as the “Pacifico 3” project (partly in Antioquia).

Cumulative operating income for the nine months of January through September was COP$74 billion (US$22 million), resulting in an after-tax net loss of COP$5 billion (US$1.5 million).

However, this situation is seen improving as 2019 progresses, as payments for past construction services are starting to increase, according to El Condor.

“Total financial indebtedness composed of banks plus financial leasing, calculated on total assets, closed at 36%,” according to the company.

“The company continues making efforts aimed at reducing financial liabilities, managing the release of [financial] resources trapped in different projects. Specifically, in this quarter, COP$5.8 billion (US$1.7 million) of [payments for] the Ruta al Mar project was received and we are assured of approximately COP$44 billion [US$13 million] release [of payments to the company] for the next quarter.”


Medellin-based electric power giant Celsia announced November 7 that its third quarter (3Q) 2019 net income soared by 390% year-on-year, to COP$315.6 billion (US$94 million), thanks to an extraordinary US$420 million gain from the sale of its 447-megawatts "Free Zone" (Zona Franca) power plant in Cartagena, Colombia.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose 24% year-on-year, to COP$320.5 billion (US$96 million), while 3Q revenues rose 16%, to COP$984 billion (US$294.5 million), according to the company, a division of Medellin conglomerate Grupo Argos.

Excluding net income from the sale of Zona Franca, the consolidated net profit for the latest quarter rose 3% year-on-year, to COP$66 billion (US$19.7 million), according to the company.

Besides its financial gains during 3Q 2019, Celsia also boosted its renewable energy projects and launched its power operations in Tolima, Colombia.

In the latest quarter, “there were transformational events such as the sale of the Zona Franca [free zone] Celsia thermal power plant for US$420 million; the award of 766 gigawatt hours/year in the renewable [power] auction of the national government; and the alliance with Cubico, one of the world leaders in renewable energy,” according to Celsia.

“The application of [financial] resources from the sale of the Free Zone allowed the consolidated debt/net-debt leverage indicator to be lowered to 3.0 times,” the company added.

The latest results “reflect a solid performance of our businesses, with defined growth projects, inspired by a long-term strategy to transform the customer experience and create value for our shareholders,” added Celsia general manager Ricardo Sierra.

For the first nine months of 2019, revenues hit COP$2.76 trillion (US$826 million), up 10% year-on-year. “Colombia revenues represent 83% of the consolidated revenues and Central America 17%,” according to Celsia, which excluded the Free Zone plant from the year-on-year comparisons.

“In Central America, revenues for the quarter were more than US$48 million, a decrease of 7.5% compared to the previous year, especially since 2019 has been a predominantly dry year in Panama, which has reduced [hydroelectric] plant generation,” according to the company.

So far this year, corporate nine-months net profit is up 70% year-on-year, to COP$412 billion (US$123 million), according to the company.

Excluding the financial gain from the sale of the Free Zone plant, the net gain in 2019 to date is COP$163 billion (US$48.8 million), according to the company.

As for its power distribution business, “revenues from the use and connection of networks exceeded COP$105 billion [US$31 million], growing by 52%, mainly from Tolima [acquisition] which contributed COP$15.7 billion [US$4.7 million] and the incorporation of ‘Plan5Caribe’ assets that added COP$19.88 billion [US$5.8 million],” according to Celsia.


Medellin-based avocado producer/exporter Cartama announced November 7 its first-ever exports of Hass avocados from its Pereira (Risaralda department) operations to Japan.

Cartama – founded in the year 2000 with its first plantations in Amagá, Antioquia – gradually has expanded Colombian operations to Caldas and Risaralda departments, including a packing plant in Pereira.

Three years ago, the company scored a big hit with UK-based supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, which awarded Cartama its “Growers Best Quality” award -- following which Cartama expanded Colombian production to 515 hectares to serve its growing export markets to Europe and North America.

Together with partner Mission Produce, Cartama is now penetrating Asian markets via first container shipments from Risaralda to the Pacific port of Buenaventura, then onward to Yokohama, Japan, according to the company.

The Japanese market for Hass avocados is constantly growing, hitting 74,097 tonnes in 2018, up 22% year-on-year, according to the company. For the Japan market, Colombia will compete with producers from México, Perú and others, according to the company.

Japan consumers currently demand 0.5 kilograms of Hass avocados per-person/year -- and with a population of 127 million, ample opportunities for Colombian export expansion are on the horizon, according to Cartama.

Chiyoda, Japan-based Farmind Corp. is the initial buyer of the Colombian exports, according to Cartama.

This first-ever Hass avocado container shipment from Colombia to Japan is the result of major private-sector and governmental initiatives, according to Cartama director Ricardo Uribe.

Colombia’s “Instituto Colombiano de Agricultura” (ICA) has been working with Hass producers seeking to expand exports, following recent successful initiatives in the USA and now Japan. China is next in line to receive Colombian avocado exports following rigorous efforts to meet sanitary requirements.

“We are making use of all post-harvest alternatives to guarantee optimal delivery of this fruit including application of substances to prevent disease, the use of ethylene filters within the shipping container [for ripening], temperature controls and [favorable] harvesting” techniques, Uribe added.

Besides ICA, other government agencies that have aided the breakthrough into the Japanese market include Colombian President Ivan Duque, trade-association Corpohass (Corporación de Productores y Exportadores de Aguacate Hass de Colombia), the Colombian Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce and Foreign Relations, and export-promotion agency Procolombia, Uribe added.


ISA 3Q 2019 Net Income Dips 1.7% Year-on-Year

Friday, 08 November 2019 11:45 Written by

Medellin-based electric power transmission, highways concessions and telecom services giant ISA announced November 6 that its third quarter (3Q) net income dipped 1.7% year-on-year, to COP$406 billion (US$122 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 3Q 2019 also declined 10.7% year-on-year, to COP$1.24 trillion (US$371 million), according to the company.

On the other hand, nine-months 2019 net income is up 27%, to COP$1.2 trillion (US$360 million) versus nine-months 2018, while nine-months EBITDA is up 14% year-on-year, to COP$3.9 trillion (US$1.17 billion), according to the company.

“ISA Group formally entered the Colombian road business by signing a contract agreement for the purchase of 100% of the shares of Concesión Costera Cartagena Barranquilla, thereby reaching an important milestone of the ‘ISA 2030’ strategy and contributing to the company’s business diversification as well as the development of the country,” according to ISA.

“This fourth-generation (4G) concession spans 146 kilometers, connecting two important cities on the northern coast, and is part of the most important international trade and tourism corridor in northern Colombia,” the company added.

“With the completion of this transaction, ISA incorporates assets of approximately COP$2.2 trillion (US$660 million), financial debt of COP$1.4 trillion (US$420 million), and [projected] EBITDA of COP$231 billion (US$69 million) into its 2020 financial statements.”

Better financial results for nine-months 2019 “are mainly explained by the energy projects that have started operations, by the greater returns of [road] concessions, and by the good management of costs and expenses,” according to ISA.

“The company will keep moving towards the consolidation of its diversification strategy, seeking alternatives in new businesses that generate profit growth and working our way into the road business in Colombia, Peru, and Chile,” added ISA CEO Bernardo Vargas Gibsone.

First nine-months 2019 operating revenues closed at COP$5.9 trillion (US$1.77 billion), 15.4% higher than the first nine months of 2018.  As for 3Q 2019, revenues reached COP$2 trillion (US$600 million), up 1.4% year-on-year, according to the company.

As of September 2019, consolidated financial debt reached COP$18.6 trillion (US$5.58 billion), up 5.9%. The corporate net debt-to-EBITDA ratio stood at 2.72 times, while the EBITDA/financial indicator ratio closed at 6.17 times, according to the company.


Medellin-based multinational banking giant Bancolombia announced November 6 that its third quarter (3Q) 2019 net income rose 61.7% year-on-year, to COP $879 billion (US$263 million).

“Gross loans grew 11.7% when compared to 3Q 2018 and 3.4% during the [latest] quarter,” according to Bancolombia.

“The quarterly growth shows a moderate trend in the credit demand in Colombia. Peso-denominated loans grew 10.5% when compared to 3Q 2018,” according to the company.

Net interest income was COP$2.78 trillion (US$833 million), up 8.3% year-on-year. “This increase is mainly explained by the growth in the loan book [although] net interest income decreased by 3.7% during the quarter due to an adjustment in accrued interest associated to [certain] clients,” according to the company.

Loan provision charges in 3Q 2019 were COP$723 billion (US$217 million) while the coverage ratio for 90-day past due loans was 191%.

“Provision charges decreased by 28.3% when compared to 3Q 2018 and by 11.4% compared to 2Q 2019. New past due loans totaled COP$91 billion [US$27 million],” according to Bancolombia.

At September 30, 2019, Bancolombia’s assets totaled COP$236.8 trillion (US$70.9 billion), up 2.6% compared to 2Q 2019 and up 14.6% compared to 3Q 2018.

During the latest quarter, the Colombian peso (COP) depreciated 8.5% versus the U.S. dollar, while over the past 12 months, the COP fell 17% versus the dollar, the company noted.

“The increase in total assets during the quarter is largely explained by the growth in the loan book,” according to Bancolombia.

“In 3Q 2019, gross loans increased by 3.4% when compared to 2Q 2019. Peso-denominated loans grew 10.5% and the dollar-denominated loans (expressed in dollars) decreased by 2.5% when compared to 3Q 2018,” according to the company.

“As of September 30, 2019, the operations in Banco Agricola in El Salvador, Banistmo in Panama and BAM in Guatemala, represented 27% of total gross loans.

“Gross loans denominated in currencies other than COP -- originated by the operations in Central America, the offshore operation of Bancolombia Panama, Puerto Rico and the dollar-denominated loans in Colombia -- accounted for 34.8% and increased by 6.9% during 3Q 2019 [when expressed in COP], explained mainly by the depreciation of the COP against the dollar during the quarter,” according to Bancolombia.

During 3Q 2019, net fees and income from services totaled COP$781 billion (US$234 million), up 3.5% compared to 2Q 2019, and up 17.1% compared to 3Q 2018.

“The positive annual performance in fees is due to higher volumes of transactions and the good performance of credit and debit cards, trust services and bancassurance,” according to Bancolombia.

“Fees from credit and debit cards increased by 6.7% compared to 2Q 2019 and by 22.6% compared to 3Q 2018.

“Fees from asset management and trust services increased by 5.8% compared to 2Q 2019 and by 12% compared to 3Q 2018, due to an increase in the assets under management. Fees from our bancassurance business increased by 6.6% compared to 2Q 2019 and by 22.9% with respect to 3Q 2018,” according to the company.


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