Sunday, May 16, 2021

Become part of our community

captcha 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on March 23 issued a detailed economic/social report finding that the Colombian government is responding wisely to the Covid-19 crisis.

“Colombia has been hit hard by the pandemic, but the policy response has been timely and well-coordinated,” according to the IMF official report.

“Covid-19 has taken a severe social and economic toll, including more than 60,000 deaths. Over 5 million jobs were temporarily affected and GDP contracted by 6.8% in 2020, the largest recession on record in Colombia,” IMF adds.

In the face of the economic-social crisis, government authorities “used the flexibility afforded by their very strong policy framework to deliver a coordinated and timely response to the exceptional shock.”

In addition, “emergency measures have supported the health care sector, households and businesses,” the agency added.

“A flexible exchange rate, monetary policy accommodation and liquidity support, temporary suspension of the fiscal [spending] rule and macroprudential measures mitigated the fallout from the pandemic.”

On another positive front, “a national vaccination program to cover most of the population started in February,” the IMF added.

Meanwhile, Colombia is enjoying a “gradual recovery with [GDP] growth expected to rebound to around 5 percent in 2021. Under our assumptions for declining infections, rising vaccinations and limited lockdowns, GDP is projected to recover gradually this year, although it is not projected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2022,” the agency stated.

“Labor markets have partly rebounded with unemployment declining from its peak, although local lockdowns have recently dampened employment gains. Both external and domestic risks to growth remain tilted to the downside.

“External financing needs are expected to remain elevated. However, as non-oil FDI [foreign direct investment] recovers and public borrowing needs decline, the share of private capital flows in external financing is expected to increase.

“Finally, Colombia’s unwavering efforts to integrate Venezuelan migrants into the economy, most recently by granting them Temporary Protective Status, should raise Colombia’s potential growth in the medium term,” the agency concludes.


EPM Full-Year 2020 Profits Grow 19% Over 2019

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 08:00 Written by

Medellin-based multinational utilities giant EPM announced March 23 that its full-year 2020 profits jumped 19% year-on-year, to COP$3.7 trillion (US$1.02 billion).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came-in at COP$5.8 trillion (US$1.6 billion) with an EBITDA margin of 29%, “slightly below the level of 2019, caused by the increase in operational costs related to the activities carried out to mitigate the pandemic,” according to EPM Acting General Manager Mónica Ruiz Arbeláez.

EPM Group revenues rose 8% year-on-year, to COP$19.8 trillion (US$5.47 billion), with the electric power business accounting for 87% of the total.

During 2020, EPM group invested COP$3.1 trillion (US$856 million) in infrastructure, according to the company.

Profit transfers to the city of Medellin – its sole shareholder – will total COP$1.4 trillion (US$387 million) this year, according to the company.

The impressive growth in 2020 profit and revenue came despite a COP$750 billion (US$270 million) cost hit from the Covid-19 crisis, EPM added.

“During the pandemic and the strictest days of confinement, EPM implemented the special measures decreed by the national government and added its own initiatives within the legal framework that governs it to accompany citizens in one of the most complex times,” according to EPM.

Those actions included reconnections of water, energy and gas services at no cost for disconnected users; zero-cost financing for new water and energy services; a freeze on finance fees for existing services provided; and discounts for timely payment of public services, according to the company.

Beyond the COP$1.5 trillion (US$387 million) profit transfer to the city of Medellín, EPM also paid COP$1.5 trillion (US$414 million) to various providers of goods and services during 2020, while another COP$221 billion (US$61 million) went to support local communities and environmental projects, the company added.

At year-end 2020, EPM saw its total asset values rise 16%, to COP$63.8 trillion (US$17.6 billion), while liabilities rose 19%, to COP$36.7 trillion (US$10.1 billion). Equity now stands at COP$27.1 trillion (US$7.5 billion), up 12% over 2019. The debt-to-EBITDA indicator rose to 4.37 in 2020, up from 3.49 in 2019, the company added.


Medellin-based packaging manufacturer and exporter Compañia de Empaques announced March 10 that its full-year 2020 net income rose 36% year-on-year, to COP$20 billion (US$5.7 million).

Gross income in 2020 also rose to COP$478 billion (US$136 million), up from COP$457 billion (US$130 million) in 2019, according to the company.

Compañia de Empaques specializes in the conversion of natural fibers including cabuya (fique) and pita as well as synthetic fibers (mainly plastic) into many types of packaging materials for industrial, agricultural, construction and mining companies.

Its various brands of products include “Duramalla” (plastic straps), “Cartonplast” (plastic sheets for signage), “Duratela” (natural and synthetic-fiber packaging bags), “Duracordel” (natural threads), “Durazuncho” (printable tapes), “Concrefuerte” (polypropylene additive for concrete), “Agrotextil” (strengthening fiber) and “Sacos Compañia” (natural-fiber bags).

“Our corporate social responsibility is focused on promoting the sowing and transformation of fique, a biodegradable and highly 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 illicit crops in our country,” the company adds.


Phoenix, Arizona-based Intertec International announced March 10 that it’s expanding operations in Medellin and Bogota, seeking 100 bilingual information technology (IT) professionals for its Colombia operations over the next nine months.

According to a joint announcement from Intertec and Agencia de Cooperacion e Inversion de Medellin y el Area Metropolitana (ACI, Medellin’s investment-promotion agency), Colombia now becomes the second base of operations in Latin America, following Costa Rica.

“Colombia is strategic due to the quality of the talent, the availability of services and a location that gives us proximity to the United States and to our clients,” said Kent Feuerhelm, executive vice president of Intertec International.

The company is seeking “bilingual professionals in the areas of software development and engineering, quality assurance, software testing, automation, IT infrastructure, project management and operations support personnel,” according to the announcement.

Besides new operations underway in Medellín and Bogotá, Intertec also aims to hire IT pros in Cali and Barranquilla, according to the company.

“Intertec has 20 years of operations, providing custom software and IT services to industries such as electronics, aerospace, education, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, high-tech distribution, direct sales, finance, hospitality and others,” according to the company.

Both ACI and the national investment agency ProColombia aided the decision to locate here, according to those agencies.


Medellin-based multinational gold mining giant Mineros SA announced March 8 that its full-year 2020 profits fell 42% year-on-year, to US$37.5 million, but fourth quarter (4Q) 2020 rose 54% year-on-year, to US$13 million.

Full-year 2020 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dipped 32%, to US$128 million, while gross revenues fell 16%, to US$411 million.

“During the fourth quarter of 2020, the price of gold had a stable behavior with a slight increase of 0.7%, with an average price for the quarter of US$1,876 per ounce,” according to Mineros.

Corporate-wide 4Q 2020 gold production fell 19% year-on-year, to 64,908 ounces of gold, of which Colombia accounted for 17,561 ounces, Nicaragua 26,660 ounces and Argentina 20,687 ounces.

The 4Q production decline resulted from “a drop in production from Nicaragua due to hurricanes 'Iota' and 'Eta' and by lower production in Argentina, explained by the natural ending of a deposit of the open pit mine,” according to Mineros.

Cash cost of production rose 14% while all-in sustaining costs (AISC) rose 24%, “mainly explained by the lower production, by the purchases of artisanal material in Nicaragua given the high price of gold and by investments in maintenance that had been delayed because of the [Covid-19] pandemic,” according to the company.

However, the average selling price of gold in 4Q 2020 rose 28% year-on-year, boosting total revenues despite the production decline.

At the end of 4Q 2020, net debt -- total debt less cash and equivalents — fell 82% year-on-year, to US$11 million. “This decrease is mainly due to the increase in cash and cash equivalents totaling more than US$57 million, along with a US$13 million decrease in debt,” according to the company.

In Colombia, 4Q 2020 production fell 14% year-on-year, to 18,000 ounces, “explained by a lower average grade, by the sale of Operadora Minera [underground mining] and by delays in some environmental permits during the quarter, given the difficulty of coordinating visits with the authorities due to Covid,” according to the company.

Future Plans

Mineros now foresees 2021 production in the range of 257,000 to 282,000 ounces of gold.

Its 2021 plans also include exploration programs aiming to increase the life of the Gualcamayo mine in Argentina, as well as “completion of internal technical studies for the Porvenir and Luna Roja mines in Nicaragua, the DCP mine in Argentina and the La Pepa mine in Chile,” according to the company.

Mineros also aims to “develop new alluvial mining methods in Colombia, to increase annual production and diversify operations. We are currently at the final stages of an internal project that uses suction dredges to reach new areas. Also, we have been working on a formalization model, bringing third parties that operate within our mining titles, in areas that our dredges cannot access,” the company added.


Page 3 of 38

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.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

Contact US

logo def
Medellin Herald: Find news, information, reviews and opinion on business, events, conferences, congresses, education, real estate, investing, retiring and more.
  • COL (4) 386 06 27
  • USA (1) 305 517 76 35
  •  www.medellinherald.com 
  •  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

Medellín Photo Galery

Medellin, contrasting colors and styles by Gabriel Buitrago

MPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGMPGnav