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Toronto-based PharmaCielo – owner of a medical-marijuana production and processing facility in the eastern Medellin suburb of Rionegro – on May 3 posted a full-year 2020 net loss of Cdn$43.7 million (US$35.6 million), worse than the Cdn$34.7 million (US$28 million) loss in 2019.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at a net loss of Cdn$23.5 million (US$19 million), worse than the Cdn$18 million (US$14.6 million) EBITDA net loss in 2019.

Revenues were the only bright spot in 2020, rising to Cdn$2.6 million (US$2.1 million), up from Cdn$787,000 (US$641,000) in 2019.

The company also reported a decline in cash and cash equivalents, to a total ofCdn$8.9 million (US$7.2 million) at December 31, 2020 compared to Cdn$13.7 million (US$11 million) at December 31, 2019. However, “subsequent to the quarter ended December 31, 2020, on April 7, 2021, the company closed an overnight marketed equity offering for gross proceeds of Cdn$13.5 million [US$11 million],” according to the company.

Commenting on the 2020 results, PharmaCielo CEO Henning von Koss stated that the year 2020 “was challenging for the world as a whole and PharmaCielo was not exempted. Despite these challenges, we accomplished several key operational milestones, particularly during the second half of 2020, which have positioned the company for growth through 2021.

“Since joining as CEO in December 2020, I have focused our team on streamlining operations, finishing the Processing and Extraction Centre (PEC) [in Rionegro] and aligning and strengthening our organizational structure, particularly on the sales side.

“The PEC is complete and operating with a unique combination of advanced upstream and downstream technologies that drive a broad portfolio including several value-add CBD, THC-free as well as high-THC content formulations. We are operating at a lower cost structure, and the organization is focused on execution, with recent entries into the UK, Swiss and Brazilian markets highlighting the success of our revised end market focus.

“The global cannabinoid supply chain continues to grow and mature. With our operational foundation complete and awareness growing, evidenced by growth in the number of potential customers requesting appointments to confirm GMP compliance, it is time to build-out a dedicated sales organization to secure PharmaCielo’s position as a preferred B2B supplier of cannabinoid inputs,” he concluded.


Medellin-based multinational foods manufacturing and retailing giant Grupo Nutresa reported April 30 that its first quarter (1Q) 2021 net profit rose 20.6% year-on-year, to COP$233 billion (US$62 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also rose by 5.7%, to COP$397.5 billion (US$106 million), while sales rose 6.6%, to COP$2.8 trillion (US$746 million, according to the company.

Sales in Colombia rose 7.3%, to COP$1.7 trillion (US$453 million), while international sales rose 5%, to US$306 million, according to the company.

Gross profit rose 4.9% year-on-year, to COP$1.2 trillion (US$320 million), “the result of Grupo Nutresa’s increasing revenues and the higher costs of commodities associated to international prices, as well as the depreciation of several currencies in Latin America against the dollar,” according to the company.

Financial revenues declined 21.8% year-on-year, “due to lower interest rates on our cash investments during the period,” but financial expenses dropped 24.1% “mainly due to the lower cost of debt,” the company added.

 


Colombia-based Cemex LatAm Holdings reported a US$3.8 million net profit for first quarter (1Q) 2021, up sharply from a US$30.4 million net loss in 1Q 2020.

“Consolidated net sales during the first quarter of 2021 increased 7% on a like-for-like basis adjusted for currency fluctuations, compared to the first quarter of 2020,” according to the company. “Net sales improved in all countries except Panama.”

Cost of sales as a percentage of net sales increased 1.6pp during the quarter, from 59.4% in 1Q20 to 61.0% in 1Q21. The increase was mainly due to higher maintenance costs and higher variable costs in Nicaragua.

Operating expenses as a percentage of net sales decreased 2.7 percentage points during the latest quarter, from 28.3% in 1Q 2020 to 25.6% in 1Q 2021, “driven by our cost savings program,” according to Cemex LatAm.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 1Q 2021 rose 12% in like-for-like terms, compared to 1Q 2020. EBITDA margin during 1Q 2021 also increased 0.8 percentage points versus 1Q 2020.

“The EBITDA margin expansion was mainly driven by higher volumes and lower selling, general and administrative expenses, despite higher maintenance expenses of US$5.7 million during 1Q 2021,” according to the company.

Net debt declined by US$35 million during 1Q 2021, to US$619 million. Free cash flow reached US$26 million in 1Q 2021 versus US$2 million in 1Q 2020.

“The improvement was mainly driven by a positive working capital effect and higher EBITDA,” according to Cemex. “Our average working capital days were negative during 19 days in 1Q 2021 versus seven negative days during 1Q 2020. Our financial expense decreased by US$2.4 million, or 18%, compared to the same period last year.

Net debt to EBITDA ratio improved to 3.4-times in March 2021, from 3.7-x in December 2020.

As for the rest-of-2021 outlook, “we are giving a strategic CAPEX estimate of US$40 million,” of which “US$35 million is related to the general development of our Maceo [Antioquia] cement plant project in Colombia,” according to Cemex.

Colombia Results

In Colombia, the cement/concrete industry “is experiencing robust growth, with the self-construction and infrastructure sectors as the main drivers of demand,” according to Cemex.

“Our cement volumes in Colombia grew 4% [during 1Q 2021], less than the industry in the quarter, mainly due to our pricing strategy and competitive dynamics.

“Our cement prices during the quarter improved by 4%, compared to the same period last year, and by 1% sequentially, in local currency terms.

“Despite the imposition of new [Covid-19 quarantine] containment measures in April, we believe the outlook remains favorable, supported by record home sales, the execution of existing 4G [fourth-generation] highway projects and the roll-out of new infrastructure programs,” the company added.

Central America Results

In Panama, 1Q 2021 cement volumes decreased 11% compared to the same period last year and improved 19% sequentially. “The industry's cement volumes remained weak during the first two months of the year, but showed signs of recovery in March,” according to the company.

In Costa Rica, “our cement volumes during the first quarter increased 7% due to better activity in the infrastructure and self-construction sectors. Our quarterly cement prices improved 2% compared to the same period last year, and 1% sequentially.

In Guatemala, El Salvador Nicaragua, “our cement volumes during the quarter improved by 16%, reaching the highest levels since 2016. Cement volumes increased in these three countries,” according to Cemex.

“In Guatemala, our cement volumes were driven by strong activity in the self-construction sector, a segment where we have a greater relative presence, as well as a gradual recovery in the formal sector. Our cement prices improved 1% compared to the same period last year and sequentially, in local currency terms.

“In Nicaragua, our cement volumes improved by 17% driven by the self-build sector, as well as government sponsored projects. Cement consumption during the quarter was also supported by the increase in remittances. Looking ahead, socio-political risks in the country could increase due to the presidential elections scheduled for November this year,” the company added.


EPM 1Q 2021 Net Income Rises 31% Year-on-Year

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 08:11 Written by

Medellin-based multinational electric power and utilties giant EPM announced April 27 that its first quarter (1Q) 2021 net income jumped 31% year-on-year, to COP$856 billion (US$230 million).

Revenues rose 18% year-on-year, to COP$5.6 trillion (US$1.5 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 12%, to COP$1.7 trillion (US$457 million).

The company will hand-over COP$1.4 trillion (US$377 million) to the city of Medellin (its sole shareholder) this year thanks to continuing profits, according to EPM. To date, Medellin has already received COP$300 billion (US$81 million) of the 2021 projected profits, the company added.

EPM attributed its positive results to “a better result of commercial operations,” mainly because of “an increase in power generation, given the high water inputs and the reserves in the reservoirs” for its mainly hydroelectric power operations.

So far this year, EPM infrastructure investments total COP$511 billion (US$137 million), of which COP$257 billion (US$69 million) corresponds to the 2.4-gigawatt, US$5 billion "Hidroituango" hydroelectric project in Antioquia, according to the company.

Grupo EPM’s total assets during 1Q 2021 grew 1% year-on-year, to COP$64.7 trillion (US$17.4 billion), while liabilities rose 5%, to COP$$38.4 trillion (US$10.2 billion), resulting in COP$26.3 trillion (US$7.07 billion) in net equity, down 3%.

Financial indebtedness stands at 42%, while the debt/EBITDA ratio closed at 4.4 as of March 31, 2021, up from 3.80 at end-March 2020, according to the company.


Sweden-based multinational personal-hygiene-products giant Essity announced last night (April 22) that it just paid US$1.54 billion to boost its shareholding in Medellin-based counterpart Grupo Familia to “at least 94%,” up from 50% previously.

According to company CEO Magnus Groth, “Essity has been a [partial] owner in Familia since 1985.With this acquisition we are building a stronger platform in Latin America to increase growth, profitability and efficiency as well as accelerate digital transformation.”

Grupo Familia has commercial operations in 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries and exports from Colombia to seven nations, selling personal-hygiene and paper products under the “Nosotras,” “Pequeñín” and “Familia” brands. The company just reported 2020 net income of COP$317 billion (US$87 million), up from COP$247 billion (US$68 million) in 2019.

Essity meanwhile has commercial operations in 150 countries, selling personal-hygiene and paper products under the “Tena” and “Tork” brands.

Essity’s net sales in 2020 amounted to SEK122 billion (US$14.5 billion), while full-year 2020 net profits came in at SEK11.7 billion (US$1.4 billion), up from SEK10.2 billion (US$1.2 billion) in 2019, according to the company.

“Essity's decision to acquire the majority shareholding of Productos Familia S.A. will help accelerate Grupo Familia's long-term growth strategy, ensuring its access to more markets in the region,” according to Familia.

“We are happy with this announcement and to start this new chapter in the success story of Grupo Familia,” added company president Andrés Felipe Gómez. “We know that by working more closely with Essity we can leverage innovation, build stronger and more sustainable brands, accelerate digital transformation and foster a culture more agile and enterprising,” he concluded.


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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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