September 25, 2023

Industrias Estra Posts Net Loss for All 2020, but Second-Half Rebound Brightens Outlook

Medellin-based plastics-ware manufacturer and retailer Industrias Estra on March 25 posted a full-year 2020 net loss of COP$1.4 billion (US$377,000), down from a net profit of COP$1.25 billion (US$336,000) in 2019.

While the full year 2020 suffered from Covid-19 shutdowns and sales declines, the second half of 2020 produced a rebound, with a net profit of COP$1.01 billion (US$272,000), according to the company.

Gross revenues for full-year 2020 dipped to COP$70 billion (US$18.8 million), from COP$72.7 billion (US$19.6 million) in 2019, the company noted.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose slightly, to COP$8.5 billion (US$2.3 million), from COP$8.38 billion (US$2.25 million) in 2019.

During the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic and shutdowns between March and May 2020, year-on-year company sales had fallen 29% and plant operations were slashed by 32%, equivalent to 30 days of operation, according to Estra.

“However, thanks to the diversification of commercial channels and the portfolio of products of the company, in the period from June to December 2020 — compared to the same period of 2019 — sales grew 2.6% and the operating level of the production plant increased 6.3%,” according to Estra.

“The good performance in the period from June to December 2020 made it possible to mitigate the impact caused by the pandemic, so we managed to close the year 2020 with total sales of COP$70.09 billion [US$18.8 million] compared to COP$72.7 billion [US$19.6 million] obtained in 2019, which represents only a decrease of 3.6%,” the company added.

Demand for certain Estra products designed for containing bio-hazards (from Covid-19 hospital workers and patients) jumped 20% year-on-year. Meanwhile, demand for the “Estralandia” line of plastic children’s games also soared as kids remained at home rather than in schools.

“Exports were reactivated in the markets of Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Chile, generating a growth of more than 30%, where our portfolio of cans began to present a important differentiation from the local market supply,” according to Estra.

On the other hand, the Estra retail stores “suffered the most from the decrease in traffic as a result of the [pandemic] closures. However, as a company, the digital strategy through the e-commerce channel managed to recapture users and moderate the decrease,” according to the company.

“The final-customer channel including the portfolio of industrial boxes was the most affected in terms of demand.

“The issues of supply of raw materials, both in supply offers and the cost of goods, were one of the most relevant points of the year 2020 and will continue to affect the operation during 2021.

“The decrease in the consumption of plastic resins and the effect of the closure of many industries in the world because of the pandemic in turn generated a great slowdown in the petrochemical industry. While industries began to resume their activities, the restart of resin production was left behind, so a great supply/demand imbalance was generated with the consequent increase in the price of this input.

“Added to this, the decline in international trade during the strongest months of the pandemic also led to a global shortage of containers and ships and an increase in the cost of shipping up to five times the amount paid at the beginning of 2020.

“Despite the external factors that impacted the cost of all our products, the main impact occurred in the quarter between March and May due to the effect of low plant occupancy, which forced us to make internal adjustments in search of the least impact on the company’s results.

As a result, Estra suffered a 6.8% cut in average gross margin in 2020, to a net 31.5%, the company added.

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