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Éxito Full-Year 2021 Profits Double Year-on-Year

Tuesday, 22 February 2022 09:15 Written by

Medellin-based multinational supermarket and dry-goods retailer Grupo Éxito announced February 21 that its full-year 2021 net profit soared by 105% year-on-year, to COP$474 billion (US$120 million).

Operating income for 2021 rose 7.5% year-on-year, to COP$16.9 trillion (US$4.3 billion), “marked by important macroeconomic and operational recoveries” not only in Colombia, but also in Argentina and Uruguay.

In Colombia, sales rose 5.5% year-on-year, to COP$12.3 trillion (US$3.1 billion), “driven by the performance of innovative store formats, omnichannel sales and the recovery of the real estate and financial businesses,” according to Éxito.

Consolidated recurring earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 20.7% year-on-year, to COP$1.5 trillion (US$381 million), with an EBITDA margin of 9.1%.

Electronic and direct-delivery channels in Colombia represented 11.9% of sales, totaling COP$1.5 trillion (US$381 million) in 2021, and 9.9% of sales corporate-wide.

“By 2022, the company will continue with the expansion plan for its innovative formats (Éxito Wow, Carulla FreshMarket, Super Inter Vecino, Surtimayorista and Surtimax) renewing between 50 and 60 stores in Colombia and six hypermarkets operated by ‘La 14,’” according to Éxito.

“Innovative formats increased their sales share to 33.3% in Colombia. By brand, ‘Éxito Wow’ stores accounted for 29.6% of sales, ‘Carulla FreshMarket’ 45.1%, ‘Super Inter Vecino’ 47.7% and ‘Surtimayorista,’ which accounted for 4.6% of the company’s sales.

“The operation in Uruguay registered a recurring EBITDA margin of 10.2% and continued as the most profitable operation of the Group. Omnichannel sales grew 9.8% in local currency and represented 3.6% of total sales in that country.

“In Argentina, the operation had significant growth in revenues (+46.8%) in local currency, marked by the recovery of consumption and the real estate businesses. EBITDA margin reached 3.4%, almost twice that registered in 2020,” the company added.

While 2021 delivered solid results corporate-wide, “in Colombia, the beginning of the year was complex, affected by warehouse closures and the national strike,” explained Grupo Éxito president Carlos Mario Giraldo.

“In Uruguay, we had the worst tourist season, and in Argentina we faced a difficult macroeconomic situation.

“However, the Group quickly adapted [thanks to] strengthening of our digital strategy, supported by our network of warehouses, consolidation of our innovative formats and the recovery of businesses in real estate and finance,” he added.


Medellin-based multinational cement/concrete giant Cementos Argos announced February 17 that its full-year 2021 net profit jumped 451% year-on-year, to COP$431 billion (US$109.6 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 34% year-on-year, to COP$2.1 trillion (US$534 million), while revenues rose 9.1% year-on-year, to COP$9.8 trillion (US$2.49 billion).

As for fourth-quarter (4Q) 2021, profits skyrocketed by 1,503%, to COP$112 billion (US$28.5 million), while EBITDA jumped 45%, to COP$542 billion (US$138 million ) and revenues rose 9.3%, to COP$2.5 trillion (US$636 million), according to the company.

“Consolidated full-year EBITDA margin of 20.2% is the highest since 2005, when the internationalization of Cementos Argos began,” according to the company.

“Pricing in the U.S. gained traction due to the second price increase of the year. Cement and ready-mix prices increased 2% and 5.3% year over year, respectively. Meanwhile, the CCA [Caribbean and Central America] and Colombia regions had stability in pricing during the quarter.

“Cost inflation continued on the fourth quarter and had an impact across the regions, particularly in fuels, electric energy and freights. The residential segment continues to support solid demand conditions and provides a positive outlook in the U.S. and Colombia,” the company added.

Colombia Results

“Demand conditions in Colombia maintained the solid dynamic evidenced since the third quarter of 2021,” according to Argos.

“Cement and ready-mix volumes [in 4Q 2021] increased 8.3% and 17% respectively versus the fourth quarter of 2020. In terms of pricing, both segments remained flat sequentially. In cement, prices rose 0.2% and in ready-mix prices increased 0.4% versus 3Q 2021.

“The residential segment continued to boost the commercial dynamics in the country. Social [subsidized] and non-social housing sales increased 30% and 24% respectively year-over-year and reached historic records. Additionally, housing starts achieved the highest level in seven years, which is a signal of the continuation of strong demand in the segment.

“Total EBITDA reached COP$142 billion [US$36 million] during 4Q 2021, 9.7% higher than 4Q 2020. The strong EBITDA result was a consequence of the strong volumes in both segments and was possible despite the continuation of cost inflation pressures,” the company added.


Colombia-based cement/concrete giant Cemex LatAm Holdings (CLH) announced today (February 10) a full-year 2021 net loss of US$23 million -- a big improvement over the US$121 million net loss for full-year 2020.

Fourth quarter (4Q) 2021 net loss came-in at US$17 million, down from a net profit of US$8 million in 4Q 2020, according to the company.

“Consolidated net sales during 4Q 2021 increased 8% in comparable terms adjusted for fluctuations in exchange rates, compared to 4Q 2020,” according to CLH.

“Higher volumes in Panama and in the rest-of-CLH-region, as well as higher prices were the main growth drivers,” the company added.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) during 4Q 2021 fell 10% versus 4Q 2020. “The decrease was mainly due to lower EBITDA in Colombia, partially offset by higher contributions from Panama and the rest-of-CLH region,” the company added.

For all of 2021, net debt decreased by US$67 million, down 10% year-on-year.

In Colombia, cement volumes dipped 4% during 4Q 2021 but rose 8% year-on-year. Colombia cement prices “remained stable during 2021 compared to with those of the previous year, despite a challenging competitive environment with pricing pressures,” according to CLH.

Inside Colombia, “we recently implemented a price increase of around 4.5% for bagged cement at beginning in December 2021. In 2022, we expect to continue closing the gap between our cement prices and the strong input cost inflation experienced by the industry during previous quarters.We expect our volumes to grow in the low-to-mid-single-digits in cement and in the low-double-digits in concrete.

“In the ready-mix [concrete] business, our volume growth should be supported by higher demand of the market and our recent investments to increase our assets in this business, mainly in the metropolitan areas of Bogotá and Cali,” CLH added.

In Panama, “our domestic cement volumes increased during the quarter and the full year by 8% and 41%, respectively,” according to CLH.

“During 2021, our [Panama] cement plant became a relevant exporter and a key component of our regional commercial network. During the year we exported more than 200,000 tons of cement and clinker to nearby markets lacking supplies.

“In 2022, we expect our volumes to grow by mid-single digits in cement and by at least 30% in concrete. Volume growth should be supported by the recent start of construction of the ‘Line 3 project’ for the Panama Metro.”

In Guatemala, cement volumes “remained strong during 2021 driven by higher activity in the self-construction sector and a recovery in the formal sector. Our cement prices in local currency terms increased 4% and 3% during the quarter and the full year, respectively, compared to the same period of the year last,” according to CLH.

In Nicaragua, “cement volumes remained strong during the year mainly driven by the cement sector in self-construction and government-sponsored projects. Cement consumption was supported by the increase in remittances” from Nicaraguans living and working in North America, the company added.


Medellin-based textiles and plastics-recycling specialist Enka de Colombia announced in a January 18 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency that it has finally completed a financial restructuring that has satisfied its creditors and cut net debt to near-zero.

The company has “successfully completed the restructuring agreement under Law 550 of 1999, after fully complying with the commitments with our creditors, among which were financial entities, suppliers, bondholders and government entities,” according to the filing.

“We do so strengthened as a profitable and solid company, with a net debt level close to zero and ample financing capacity to continue undertaking our growth plans,” the company explained.

“Today the company is a leader in the recycling of post-consumer PET [polyethylene terephthalate] bottles in the country and has the largest PET recycling plant in South America.

“In addition, we are the main producer of ‘Nylon-6’ in America, a strategic ally of the world’s leading tire manufacturers, and the main producer of fibers and synthetic filaments in the Andean region with an export focus,” Enka added.

In 2002, Enka had suffered a financial crisis “due to an economic liability amounting to COP$320 billion [US$80 million], which led us to take advantage of Law 550 of 1999 through a 19-year restructuring agreement, seeking the best alternatives to transform the organization and protect our direct and indirect jobs,” according to the company.

“In 2007, following the debt capitalization plan, we entered the Colombian Stock Exchange, managing to capitalize, that year alone, COP$180 billion [US$45 million] and close to COP$226 billion [US$56.5 million] throughout the agreement, corresponding to 70% of the debts.”

Meanwhile, technological updates “played a relevant role in the growth of the company, enabling us to focus investment on the development of more specialized products and the opening of new high-value markets,” according to Enka.

As a result, in 2009, Enka entered the PET bottle recycling market for manufacture of synthetic fibers, and then in 2014 it launched “bottle-to-bottle PET recycling,” first in Colombia.

“Recycling has become one of the company’s most important and promising businesses. Currently more than 50% of our products are manufactured from recycled raw materials, with which we not only contribute to the environment, but also generate great benefits for the country’s recycling sector,” the company added.


Colombian banker Jaime Gilinski’s JGDB Holdings and its financing partner Royal Group (Abu Dhabi) on January 12 reported to Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (BVC, Colombia’s stock exchange) that it has finally acquired more than 27% of the shares of Medellin-based multinational foods giant Grupo Nutresa – far short of its 50.1% to 62% goal.

Meanwhile, the JGDB-Royal group simultaneously has now acquired at least 25% of Medellin-based multinational finance giant Grupo Sura -- also far short of any controlling interest.

However, the new shareholdings in Nutresa and Sura assure that Gilinski’s group will gain board seats on those companies, part of the so-called “Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño” (GEA), where each company holds significant shares in the others.

Beyond gaining board seats, no-one knows for sure what Cali, Colombia-born Gilinski proposes in order to make profitable changes with those companies -- although there’s an assumption that his GNB Sudameris bank eventually would merge with Bancolombia, the latter of which Grupo Sura already holds a commanding interest.

There’s also speculation that Gilinski eventually will launch further rounds of stock bids, in order to boost shareholdings above the 50% required for controlling interests.

Gilinski years ago had been in a lengthy legal battle over control of Bancolombia -- a lawsuit that essentially terminated with no winners or losers.

But some see his new shareholding in Sura (with Sura’s simultaneous holding in Bancolombia) as a sort of sweet revenge, given that he and his dollar-rich Abu Dhabi backers bought the new holdings using an historically favorable dollar-to-peso exchange rate.

The total investment by the Gilinski group in the new share acquisitions of Sura and Nutresa are just shy of US$2 billion – providing a big shot-in-the-arm to what had been a sagging Colombia stock market, as the value of the U.S. dollar against the Colombian peso has soared to around COP$4,000/US$1 in recent months.

BVC now only has to certify the Sura/Nutresa stock deals in the next few days, in order to make the Gilinski acquisitions official.


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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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