Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Medellin-based pension-funds manager Protección announced that its full-year 2021 net income dipped to COP$276 billion (US$72.6 million), down from COP$291 billion (US$76.5 million) in 2020.

Gross income nevertheless actually rose year-on-year, to COP$1.15 trillion (US$302 million) in 2021 versus COP$1.1 trillion (US$289 million) in 2020.

Commenting on the dip in profitability, Protección president Juan David Correa cited “higher disability rates as a result of Covid-19 and the change in the [Colombian] minimum wage due to an increase higher-than-inflation, which generated greater impacts on the [pension payment] provisions.

“For Protección, we insist on the urgency of solving this structural problem by the competent authorities, and we will continue as we have done so far, proposing alternative solutions,” he added.

Protección is one of the three biggest pension fund managers in Colombia, with COP$128 trillion (US$33.6 billion) in assets-under-management for its 8 million customers, the company noted.

However, all pension-fund managers in Colombia now face the possibility of potentially disastrous confiscation of private pensions as currently proposed by left-wing Colombian presidential Candidate Gustavo Petro.

As a result, “2022 will be a transcendent year,” Correa said. “As a country we will go through an electoral period during the first half of the year, which will mark the social, economic and reform agenda for the coming years.

“It is essential that the next government advance a pension reform that promotes principles of equity, sustainability and coverage, as well as the search for mechanisms that allow the complementarity of pension models with those of insurance and that guarantee the sustainability of the system,” he added.

On another front, Correa revealed in a March 23 interview with Colombian business newspaper La Republica that Protección this year realized a one-time COP$1.1 trillion (US$289 million) gain for selling to Cali-based Gilinski Group all of its shareholdings in multinational foods giant Nutresa and multinational insurance/health-care giant Sura,both of which are based in Medellin.

Medellin-based multinational utilities giant Grupo EPM announced March 23 that its full-year 2021 net income dipped to COP$3.3 trillion (US$872 million), down from COP$3.7 trillion (US$978 million) for full-year 2020.

Despite the profits dip, 2021 revenues grew 28% year-on-year, to COP$25.3 trillion (US$6.7 billion), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 29%, to COP$7.4 trillion (US$1.95 billion).

EBITDA margin for 2021 came-in at 30%, according to the company, which is 100% owned by the city of Medellin.

Infrastructure investment in 2021 totaled COP$$4.2 trillion (US$1.1 billion), of which 79% went into energy projects and the remaining 21% in the water businesses.

The giant “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project in Antioquia accounted for COP$1.5 trillion (US$396 million) of investments last year.

While operating income improved, some of that gain was “offset by the growth in income tax” including the new “social investment law” enacted during 2021, according to the company.

EPM gave the city of Medellín COP$1.4 trillion (US$370 million) of its 2021 profits, “contributing to the reactivation of the local economy and providing new opportunities for citizens,” according to the company.

At year-end 2021, Grupo EPM’s total assets grew 6% year-on-year, to COP$67.8 trillion (US$17.9 billion), while liabilities also rose 6%, to COP$39 trillion (US$10.3 billion), according to EPM.

Financial indebtedness stood at 40%, while the long-term debt-to-EBITDA ratio closed at 3.36, compared to 4.37 for 2020, the company added.

Medellin-based real-estate developer Valores Simesa – 66% of which is owned by Bancolombia’s investment-banking division -- announced March 16 that its full-year 2021 net loss came-in at COP$4.56 billion (US$1.2 million), an improvement over the COP$12.47 billion (US$3.26 million) net loss in 2020.

Valores Simesa –created via a spin-off from the long-defunct “Siderúrgica de Medellín” steel mill here nearly 22 years ago – mainly invests in real estate, subdivisions and commercial/industrial projects, including the “Ciudad del Rio” residential/commercial development in Medellin, the same site of the former steel mill.

“After a difficult year 2020 for both Valores Simesa and the economy in general, 2021 brought us a more favorable outlook, a good performance of the real estate sector and a slightly more optimistic environment, with the hope that the economic and social crisis unleashed by Covid-19 has begun to come to an end,” according to the company’s announcement.

“After several months of negotiations and after defining by the shareholders’ meeting how to resolve conflicts of interest, in January 2021 we were able to sign the new agreement for the sale of lots ‘B2’ and ‘B4’ in Ciudad Del Río, allowing to guarantee the continuity of the project.

“Similarly, talks were resumed for the sale of lots ‘B5’ and ‘B6,’ with the corresponding signing of contracts in October, and progress was made with interested parties in lot ‘A16,’ for the development of what could be the first rental housing project in the city.

“At the end of 2021, the company had a loss of COP$4.56 billion [US$1.2 million] explained by a lower commercial appraisal of lots B1, B3 and B5 in Ciudad Del Río, due to the fact that the demand for real estate projects for commerce and services had not yet picked up.

“Negotiations are currently being carried out with the municipality of Medellín, seeking to enable, in the short term, the possibility of building housing on the lots located on the edge of the ‘partial plan,’ based on the transformation that the sector has undergone since the issuance of the decree,” the company added.

Net assets at year-end 2021 dipped by COP$13 billion (US$3.4 million), to COP$253 billion (US$66 million), “mainly explained by the lower value of the appraisals of the aforementioned lots and the payment of the repurchase of shares,” according to the company.

Liabilities totaled COP$15.9 billion (US$4.15 million), “where the most significant items continue to be the deferred tax liability at COP$9.8 billion [US$2.56 million] and dividends payable, at COP$2.5 billion [US$653,000],” according to the company.

With the Covid-19 crisis seemingly moving into recovery, “this trend is expected to continue throughout 2022,” helping to boost demand for residential and commercial real estate, according to the company.

“As for construction, a sector that directly impacts Valores Simesa, this sector presented a historical recovery that was leveraged by the 200,000 subsidies from the national government” during 2021, according to the company.

“As of December 2021, the unemployment rate in Colombia was 13.7%, showing a reduction of 2.2 percentage points in relation to the same month in 2020, with just over 1.2 million jobs missing to reach employment levels of 2019.

“In 2022, the economy is expected to continue its path towards recovery, framed by the political uncertainty brought about by the legislative and presidential elections, as well as the eventual emergence of new variants of Covid-19 that may impact different economic sectors.

“A good year is also expected for the sale of new homes and the resurgence of demand for offices to the extent that the health crisis caused by the pandemic is left behind,” the company added.

Medellin-based historical textile giant Coltejer revealed in a March 8 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera financial oversight agency that its full-year 2021 net loss grew to a negative COP$121 billion (US$32 million), compared to a net loss of COP$94 billion (US$25 million) in 2020.

Sales plummeted to COP$16.9 billion (US$4.5 million) in 2021, versus COP$74.8 billion (US$20 million) in 2020, according to the company.

Gross corporate-wide revenues also fell by nearly half, to COP$55 billion (US$14.7 million) versus COP$104 billion (US$28 million) in 2020.

The company shuttered all textile production last September (see Medellin Herald 09/10/2021) as it had been unable to overcome the combined impacts of the prior Covid-19 global crisis along with textile imports contraband, including below-cost competition from China.

Earlier last year, Coltejer reported net losses in second-quarter 2021 (see Medellin Herald 08/18/2021); shuttered its non-woven fibers production in July (see Medellin Herald 07/16/2021); and had announced closure of its historic, foundational factory in the Medellin suburb of Itagüí at the end of 2020 (see Medellin Herald 12/18/2020).

Medellin-based textiles and plastics recycling giant Enka de Colombia announced March 4 that its full-year-2021 net income jumped 3.8-times over 2020, hitting COP$57.4 billion (US$15 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) doubled, to COP$76.4 billion (US$19.9 million), even though gross revenues were almost flat year-on-year, at COP$536 billion (US$140 million).

The profits boost came “mainly due to the recovery of the affected markets by Covid-19, increase in the TRM [dollar-to-peso exchange rate, favoring exports] and proper management of the situation,” according to Enka.

“Our solid financial situation reflected a low level of net indebtedness, at 0.15-times EBITDA, after making capital investments of more than COP$38 billion [US$9.9 million] in the new ‘EKO-PET’ plant and guaranteeing working capital as resulting from the recovery of sales and increase in international sales prices,” the company added.

Construction of the new EKO-PET plant “progresses according to schedule and budget. In the coming months, assembly of equipment will begin, to start operations at the end of 2022,” according to the company.

While global supply chains have been snagged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, “the supply diversification strategy implemented by the company in recent years has made it possible to manage this situation, fulfilling commitments to clients without affecting business continuity,” the company added.

Sales in the local Colombian market increased by 57%, to COP$319 billion (US$83 million), while exports increased by 40%, to COP$216 billion (US$56.4 million), representing 40% of total sales, according to the company. North America accounted for 19% of sales while Brazil took another 16%.

In Enka’s plastics-recycling “green business” lines, “cumulative sales at the end of the year amounted to COP$152.6 billion [US$39.9 million], or 28% of total revenue. The growth is 25% year-on-year, mainly due to higher international prices and the recovery of sales of ‘EKO-Fibras,’” according to Enka.

As for the “EKO-PET” line (17,280 tons), “high demand worldwide was driven by advances in environmental and sustainability regulations,” according to Enka.

As for the ‘EKO-Polyolefins’ line (1,744 tons), “we continue with the strategy of developing high-quality products, awaiting the results of the homologations in large brands of products made from the ‘Revoloop’ resin developed with Dow,” according to Enka.

As for its plastic bottle recycling in Colombia, “bottle collection grew by 24% in 2021, supplying 100% of current needs and preparing for the entry into operation of the new B2B plant,” according to Enka.

As for its textile and industrial business lines, “excluding non-recurring sales of virgin PET (COP$36.7 billion/US$9.6 million), revenue from the textile and industrial businesses amounted to COP$345.8 billion [US$90 million], an increase of 49% compared to the previous year, due to the recovery in demand after the strong restrictions generated by the pandemic and by the increase in international prices in the petrochemical chain,” according to Enka.

Industrial yarns (12,542 tons) volume increased 9% year-on-year, “mainly in canvas for the Mexican market. Technical yarn sales remain stable, with increasing sales to the United States and Colombia,” the company added.

Textile filaments (9,100 tons) grew 26% year-on-year, “due to recovery in demand affected by Covid-19 and lower supply of Asian products. Sales of nylon filaments in 2021, one of the development focuses of recent years, exceeded those of polyester for the first time,” according to Enka.

Resins (11,883 tons) sales of nylon likewise grew “driven by the recovery in demand and by new developments for sausage-coating applications,” while virgin PET sales also grew to 7,566 tons, “supporting the reactivation of the industry,” according to Enka.

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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.

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