Aero Republica boss backs sustainable business model

Roberto Junguito, president of Colombian airline Aero Republica, states that a sustainable business model is vital in these troubled times. The focus must be on flying one or two plane types only, on an efficient costs structure, on good use of assets and route diversification.

Aero Republica allied strategically with Copa Airlines in 2005, a move that has allowed it to strengthen operations and focus on international flights, using Panama as a centre for connections. It has also allied with Continental and, despite not flying to the US itself, can thus offer over 150 US destinations to its passengers.Aero Republica has invested US$1mil in infrastructure, US$5mil in technology and huge sums on a new ten-plane-strong fleet, four bought outright at an average of US$35mil and six leased. The airline begins operations in Colombia Eje Cafetero tomorrow.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
December 18, 2008


Hershey's enters Colombia via Congrupo

Hershey's, the world’s number-one chocolate manufacturer, has launched its product range in Colombia. The US giant has stated that its entry into the local market is not direct competition for national chocolate manufacturers since the product range and the price-list is different. Hershey's chocolates will be imported and sold by Congrupo SA. Its brand-names include Hershey's Cookies N'Creme, Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Hershey's Milk Chocolate, Kisses Milk Chocolate, Kisses Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Kisses Caramel, Kisses Cherry and Kisses Truffle.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
December 19, 2008


Avantegenera acquires Colombian Petrotesting

Avantegenera, the energy division of the investment firm Inveravante of Spanish businessman Manuel Jove, has acquired the Colombian oil exploration and production company Petrotesting Colombia SA eyeing to merge it with Vetra Energia, Inveravante informed on Tuesday.

The aim is to create an integrated company that complements Vetra Energia's experience and technical know how and has the necessary production to meet big scale business opportunities, it said.

Petrotesting owns 11 hydrocarbon producing fields in Colombia and is involved in oil services contracts for natural gas production in Mexico.

The company, which will result from the merger, will consolidate its position in Latin America, where Vetra is already present, and is targeted to boost its hydrocarbon production and increase its proven reserves to over 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in the next three years.

The operation is part of Vetra Energia's strategic plan which contemplates investments of over USD 300 million (EUR 232.2m) in the next four years.

The merger is subject to the approval of Colombia's anti-trust authorities.

Publication: ADP News
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
December 10, 2008


Holcim to invest US$100mn in Nobsa plant expansion

Swiss cement firm Holcim's Colombian unit will invest roughly US$100mn in its Nobsa cement plant, in central Boyacá department, local paper El Tiempo reported.

The firm will purchase and build a vertical mill whose operation will increase cement production by 700,000t/y, the report said.

The expansion will increase the company's production to 1.7Mt/y, with the capacity to reach 2Mt/y.

The mill is expected to start operations in November 2009.

Also, the firm is working on the construction of an automatic cement packaging facility.

Another project to be carried out at the Nobsa plant is the upgrade of the raw materials storage area.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
November 20, 2008 (21:21)


Compass Group Colombia gains re-certification

Compass Group Colombia has received an ISO 9001:2000 re-certification from Incontec. It has also received an HACCP (Analisis de Riesgos y Puntos Criticos de Control) re-certification based on the Codex Alimentarius. Back in June, the British food group’s filial received a Sistema RUC re-certification from the Consejo Colombiano de Seguridad. The firm operates over 160 restaurants nationwide and operates five brands for different segments: Eurest (food for the industry and business sectors), Medirest (for the health sector), Chartwells (for the educational sector), ESS (food and support for remote operations) and Gratto (retail).

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
November 11, 2008


Chevron Texaco to add 140 million cubic feet of gas per day to output

Natural gas production will rise to 700 million cubic feet per day for its Colombian operation as of February 2009, says Chevron Texaco, a company set to invest US$300mil in doing so. In association with its local state partner Ecopetrol, Chevron Texaco is ready to start a new seismic programme across 300 kilometres; first, it will end 2008 with daily average production of 560 million cubic feet of gas at La Guajira, notes David Bantz, president of Chevron for Colombia.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
November 11, 2008


Petro Vista acquires 100% of Morichito block

California-based Petro Vista Energy (TSX-V: PTV) has obtained the remaining 47.8% stake in the Morichito block in Colombia's Llanos basin, bringing its interest to 100%, the company said in a statement.

Petro Vista obtained the initial stake in the block in July and the rest was purchased from Eagle Transport.

The company is expecting net production of 2,100b/d from the block.

Around 600b/d could come from the completion of an existing discovery and a new exploration well could yield 1,500b/d, according to the statement.

Geotechnical and engineering analysis has been completed on five exploration prospects on the block, the company said.

Petro Vista says it plans to begin completion of the Morichito-M2 discovery well in November and will spud the Morichito-1N exploration well in 1Q09.

The Canadian company has already started building access roads and is evaluating several options for drilling rigs and services.

Colombian hydrocarbons regulator ANH has granted a 12-month contract extension for the drilling of the exploration well.

"The acquisition of the remaining interest in this block at a low upfront cost consolidates our interest in one of our highest potential assets," Petro Vista CEO Read Taylor said in the statement.

"The cash flow from the well completion and the existing Tartaruga block production in Brazil will allow us to progress our high quality opportunity-rich development and exploration drilling portfolios," he added.

Petro Vista acquired the interest for a US$500,000 cash payment due on November 26 in addition to US$2.5mn to be paid from 40% of net production from the block. Petro Vista will also pay a 1% net production royalty and granted Eagle a waiver for its obligations to repay its working interest commitments, according to the statement.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: October 20, 2008


Spanish consortium to carry out Bogotá metro studies

The tender to carry out studies to develop Bogotá's metro system has been awarded to Spanish consortium Sener-Transporte Metropolitano de Barcelona, Colombian paper El Tiempo reported.

The consortium won the bid with over 70 points from a maximum of 100, the report said, adding that only Sener-TMB obtained a score over 70 which was the minimum requirement.

The design tender for line 1 of the metro and its financial and legal structure was launched on March 19.

In May, six firms were shortlisted from the 56 that expressed interest in the project.

Of these six consortiums, only three sent the documentation required by the World Bank (WB): Sener-TMB, Spanish Ineco-Metro de Madrid, and British Steer Davies and Gleave.

Now the WB, which is assisting the Bogotá government in the process, has to review the process and give its authorization.

If all goes well, Sener-TMB will have one year to define the route that metro line 1 will use, the fare system, the cost of the overall project and how much of the national and local budget will be assigned to the project.

The consortium must also decide how the metro will integrate with the capital's mass transportation system Transmilenio and the future suburban rail project Tren de Cercanías.

To establish the financial structure of the project, Sener-TMB will receive advice from Spanish bank Banco Santander and consulting firm ALG, the paper said.

On the legal front, the consortium will be assisted by Spanish law firm Garrigues Abogados and Spanish company Incoplan, which is specialized in providing solutions for development projects, the report said.

Construction of line 1 is slated to start at end-2011.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: October 9, 2008


Presto buys Wimpy Colombiana

Presto has acquired Wimpy Colombiana for Peso$2.7bil as part of a strategic advance aimed at sidestepping the fall in consumerism. The seventh leading fast-food chain in Colombia, managed by Franquicias Colombianas (Frayco), takes on seven Wimpy restaurants.

Wimpy Colombiana was created in 1976 by local investors and until this sale partners within the group included Constructora El Cairo and Inversiones Paralelo. Wimpy is a British hamburger chain dating back to 1954. The Colombian operation posted sales of Peso$3.69bil in 2007 (well down, for example, on 2005's Peso$5.618bil).

Frayco, meanwhile, registered year-2007 sales of Peso$36.376bil to rank seventh in the sector behind El Corral, Crepes & Waffles, Avesco, McDonald's, Frisby and Grupo CBC (the owner of La Brasa Roja, Cali Mio and Cali Vea).

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: September 29, 2008


IFC supports Colombian transport infrastructure

The IFC has provided US$45mn to rehabilitate Colombia’s capital city Bogotá’s road network, and to build sidewalks and bikeways. The money has been provided through a joint initiative with the World Bank that supports municipalities in delivering key infrastructure services, including water, wastewater management, transportation, and electricity and other local public entities in development countries, without sovereign guarantees.

“It enables the city to continue diversifying its sources of financing for major projects. It also helps the city depend less on the central government for resources and minimises the number of guarantees and pledges against revenue that the city must establish to raise the funds it needs,” comments Juan Ricardo Ortega López, Bogotá’s secretary of finance. Robert Albisseti, IFC country manager, adds: “The financing is also part of IFC and the World Bank’s strategy to promote sustainable growth in Colombia by supporting key infrastructure projects.” This is IFC’s second project with the city, having previously helped Bogotá simplify a system for inspecting companies’ environment, health, and safety planning and fire prevention.

Publication: Global Trade Review News
Provider: Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd
Date: September 8, 2008


Pacific Rubiales closes Kappa acquisition

Toronto-based Pacific Rubiales Energy (TSX: PEG) has closed the acquisition of Colombian oil company Kappa Energy for a cash payment of US$168mn, the Canadian company said in a statement.

The deal remains subject to minor post-closing adjustments and regulatory approval in Colombia.

Kappa has holdings in nine blocks in the Catatumbo, Llanos and Lower, Middle and Upper Magdalena basins of Colombia. The total land position is close to 750,000 acres (300,500ha).

As of May 31, Kappa had 10.3Mboe of 2P reserves and 24.2Mboe of 3P reserves. Nearly 166Mboe of further prospective resources have also been identified, according to the statement.

Pacific Rubiales aims to invest US$171mn in Kappa through 2009 to boost the company's production from its current 4,100boe/d to 10,000-12,000boe/d.

Pacific Rubiales, which boasts net production of roughly 22,500boe/d, operates the Rubiales heavy oilfield and La Creciente natural gas block in Colombia in addition to other assets in the country. The company also has operations in Peru.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: September 8, 2008

Brasil Telecom to set up subsidiary in Colombia

The Board of Directors of Brasil Telecom has approved the setting up of a subsidiary of the company in Colombia to provide international connections for operators in that country. The new company will belong to Brasil Telecom GlobeNet, an arm of the operator which operates an underwater fibre optic network which resulted from the acquisition of GlobeNet by Brasil Telecom.

It offers telecommunications infrastructure for operators and providers. Brasil Telecom was already present in Venezuela, Bermudas and the USA via its business unit Brasil Telecom GlobeNet and the setting up of a company in Colombia represents a natural expansion for its business.

Publication: Telecom.paper News
Provider: Telecom.paper
Date: September 8, 2008


Colombian steel output down in H1, mainly for longs

Colombia's rolled steel output dropped 1.3% in the first six months this year, as a consequence of maintenance stoppages that mainly affected longs output.

Steel Business Briefing notes that Colombia is not self-sufficient in steel, which obligates some domestic mills to import inputs like scrap and billets, or even finished products, to meet local demand.

According to figures disclosed by the Colombian steelmakers group Fedemetal, 791,600 tonnes of finished steel were produced between January and June this year - a 1.3% drop compared to the same period last year.

Longs output fell from 580,000 t to 567,000 t in the same comparison, a 2.2% decrease. However, flatrolled production showed a small increase in the same period, reaching 224,600 t, up from 222,400 t in the first half of 2007.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: September 4, 2008


Colombia: US$6bn to be invested in power sector through 2019

The hydro projects include Pescadero-Ituango, Isagens 800MW Hidrosogamoso plant, Porce IV, El Quimbo, Miel II, Amoya and Cucuana to be constructed in the departments of Cordoba, Magdalena, Tolima, Caldas, Antioquia, Santander and Huila. Colombia already has added 135MW of capacity to its national grid since 2007. New projects under construction will add 713MW and include the Mayaguez thermo plant and the Anaime, Caruquia and Porce III hydro plants.

The minister highlighted a recent power auction hosted by wholesale power regulator XM and said the countrys power needs were guaranteed until 2019. Colombias government, meanwhile, declared this week the Pescadero-Ituango and Porce IV projects to be in the public interest. Developers now will be able to begin eminent domain procedures to acquire the needed lands, the presidential press office announced. The 2.4GW Pescadero-Ituango project is planned for the north of Antioquia department and will flood 3,800ha. Medellin-based multi-utility EPM has a 44.4% stake in the project. Antioquias development institute IDEA controls 42.4%, with the remaining share divided among other government agencies and shareholders.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Utilities News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: September 1, 2008


Kinetex Expands 3D Capacity To Complete $3.2M Contract In Colombia

FirstGrowth Exploration Development Services Corp. is pleased to announced that its subsidiary, Kinetex Inc., has been awarded a contract, valued at over Cdn. $3.2M, to provide 3D subsurface seismic imaging and processing services to a client focused on oil and gas exploration in Colombia and has mobilized additional equipment to address the growing demand for its services in South America.

Digital 3D multi-component seismic data, as provided by Kinetex, is recognized as providing the greatest possible opportunity to resolve the geological picture of the subsurface and is widely viewed as the gold standard in the oil and gas industry. Unlike traditional analog seismic devices, the cutting-edge 3C MEMS-equipped sensors used by Kinetex are capable of capturing the full waveform of reflected energy. This enhanced data set can assist in the detection of not only potentially oil and gas bearing structures, but also delineate subtle fracture, density and porosity changes. Being able to accurately determine these key structures can be of great importance in drill planning programs, especially when dealing with challenging unconventional formations.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Utilities News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: August 19, 2008


Colombia receives eight bids for subscription-TV licences

Eight companies have placed their offers for subscription-TV licences in Colombia. The bidding period expired on 15 August. Colombian operators Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB), Emcali, la Empresa Regional de Telecomunicaciones Valle del Cauca, Dragon Media, Grupo Inversiones Filigrana, Teleconsultores, Telemegavision and Digital Communication Systems are the bidders interested in the five licences on offer by the National Television Commission (Cntv).

Previously granted by Cntv, for various reasons these five licences are currently not in use. The tender process is scheduled for completion on 2 September, while the licences will be awarded no later than 15 November.

Publication: Telecom.paper News
Provider: Telecom.paper
Date: August 21, 2008


Colombia Cartagena Refinery Expansion Seen to Cost over $2.7 Bln

The expansion of Colombia's Cartagena refinery will involve investments of over $2.7 bln (1.835 bln euro), the Colombian Trade, Industry and Tourism Ministry said on August 19, 2008.

Cartagena refinery is considered one of the most important projects among the 36 free zones in the country approved over the last two years.

The expansion will increase by 100 pct its current production capacity to 165,000 barrels a day and will improve the production of high-value products through the implementation of modern technology. The refinery will be capable of producing diesel fuel with a reduced sulphur content of 10 ppm (parts per million) and petrol with a sulphur content of 30 ppm.

The expansion is also expected to create 3,500 jobs during the second half of 2010 and nearly 100 direct new jobs after the launch of the expanded refinery, projected for 2012.

Cartagena refinery is located in the Mamonal Industrial Zone near the coastal city of Cartagena, northern Colombia.

Its expansion is developed by an alliance between the Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol and Swiss-based Glencore International AG.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: August 20, 2008


Colombia Epsa Develops 300 MW Power Projects

Colombian power company Empresa de Energia del Pacifico SA (Epsa) is developing five electricity projects that will add 300 MW to its installed capacity over the next two years, local daily La Republica reported on August 11, 2008.

The projects include a 20 MW plant on the Amaime river and the 20 MW plants Tulua I and Tulua II.

Epsa also plans to develop the 60 MW Cucuana project in the western department of Tolima, projecting to start its construction in January 2009.

The fifth project is Miel II, on which Epsa is currently conducting environmental studies. The construction is expected to kick off in the first quarter of 2009. Epsa holds 65 pct in this project.

The company targets to boost its present capacity by 500 MW for 2012 and does not exclude the possibility to seek stakes in local power generating companies, which will help it fulfill its targets for growth.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: August 11, 2008


Ecopetrol, Pacific Rubiales Team Up on Colombia Alicante Block

Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol on July 31, 2008 signed an accord with Meta Petroleum, a local subsidiary of Canadian-based oil firm Pacific Rubiales, on the joint development of the Alicante hydrocarbons block in Colombia's Llanos Orientales basin, Ecopetrol said.

Under the agreement Ecopetrol will cede to Meta Petroleum a 55 pct participation in the block, which is now wholly developed by Ecopetrol under a contract with the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) from 2006.

The transfer of the 55 pct stake is subject to a approval by ANH.

The accord between Ecopetrol and Meta Petroleum includes acquisition of seismic data in the third quarter of 2008 and drilling an exploration well in the second half of 2009.

Alicante stretches on 38,684 ha, some 29 km east of the town of Villavicencio in Meta department.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: August 1, 2008


Gran Tierra Energy Provides Mid-Year Update to Costayaco Field Reserves, Colombia

Gran Tierra Energy Inc. a company focused on oil exploration and production in South America, announced the results of a mid-year reserve update for the Costayaco Field in the Chaza Block located in the Putumayo Basin of Colombia. Gran Tierra Energy holds a 50 percent working interest and is the operator of the Costayaco Field and the Chaza Block. Solana Resources Limited holds the remaining 50 percent working interest. An independent reserve evaluation of the Costayaco field conducted by GLJ Petroleum Consultants effective July 1, 2008, using 3-D seismic and drilling results from four wells (Costayaco-1 through -4, not including test results of Costayaco-4 as these test results are not yet available) indicates that the Costayaco field has gross proved reserves of 20.5 million barrels of oil (MMbbl), gross proved plus probable reserves of 34.9 million barrels of oil and gross proved plus probable plus possible reserves of 61.4 million barrels of oil. The following table summarizes gross reserves for the field, in addition to Gran Tierra Energys gross and net reserves.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Construction News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: July 30, 2008


Colombia Isagen Net Profit Up 21 Pct Y/Y H1 2008

The net profit of Colombian state-run electricity group Isagen rose by 21 pct year-on-year to some 119.164 bln Colombian pesos ($66.2 mln/41.6 mln euro) in the first half of 2008, Isagen reported on July 21, 2008.

The operating profit grew by 12 pct to 186.253 bln pesos ($103.5 mln/65 mln euro), while the revenue stood at 557.35 bln pesos ($309.7 mln/194.6 mln euro). The earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin stood at 43 pct.

Isagen owns and operates the hydroelectric plants San Carlos, Jaguas, Calderas and Miel I, and the 300 MW thermoelectric plant Termocentro located in the departments of Antioquia, Santander and Caldas, northwestern Colombia.

The company's installed capacity totals 2,132 MW, equal to 16 pct of the capacity of the national interconnection system.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: July 22, 2008


Mineros SA leads the way among Colombian firms in first semester

Deceleration has not hit all of Colombia's big firms in the first semester of 2008, companies such as Ecopetrol, ISA, Cementos Argos, Holcim and Grupo Nacional de Chocolates all offered up decent profits as did Mineros SA; thanks to a sale of assets and high gold prices, the mining group was able to post profits of almost Peso$20bil up to June 30, 2008 (when a year earlier it had managed Peso$15.9bil). Mineros SA reported extraordinary profits of Peso$5.34bil via the sale of its subordinated operation Mineros Nacionales. Meanwhile, Cementos Argos posted profits of over Peso$100bil this time around compared to Peso$90bil a year earlier; divestments should earn the firm another Peso$160bil in the second half of 2008.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: July 15, 2008


MQA shoots for doubling revenues this year to USD 3 million

Colombian IT firm and SAP partner MQA Business Consultants expects sales this year to nearly double 2007 revenues, reaching USD 3million. In 2007, MQA saw revenues of USD 1.7million, which represented over a 40% increase from the USD 1.2 million recorded in 2006.

Sales of consultancy services are expected to generate the largest portion of revenues this year, considering the companys expertise in the area. However, in the long term, the bulk is expected to come from sales of licenses and maintenance services for SAPs All-in-One and Business One ERP suites.

With over seven years of operations, MQA started as SAPs service partner in the Andean region, expanding the business last year by becoming a reseller of All-in-One and Business One licenses. One of the strategies to implement in order to achieve the expected growth is a stronger focus on car dealerships, for which MQA is developing its own software based on SAP platforms.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - IT News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: July 5, 2008


Ecopetrol production up 14% to 451,300b/d

Colombia's state oil company Ecopetrol reported that it produced 451,300boe/d in May 2008, an increase of 14.4% from 394,800boe/d in the same month of 2007.

The company's production for the first five months of the year rose 12.4% to 437,000boe/d compared to 389,000boe/d year-on-year, the company said in a statement.

Ecopetrol said it sold 133Mf3/d (3.77Mm3/d) of natural gas in Venezuela during the five-month period.

The company also said that it had drilled 14 of the 31 exploration wells that it is planning to drill in 2008. Ecopetrol acquired a total of 967km of 2D seismic data in the January-May period.

Crude sales rose 61.3% to 13.1tn pesos (US$7.48bn) in the first five months this year compared to 8.18tn pesos in the same period of 2007, according to the statement.

Net profit rose 218% to 4.04tn pesos from 1.27tn pesos in the first five months of 2007.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: July 4, 2008


Colombian Emgesa Prepares New Hydro, Thermal Power Projects

Colombian electricity generation and distribution company Emgesa prepares a portfolio of new hydroelectric and thermal power projects, the first of which will be El Quimbo hydroelectric power plant, Emgesa's President, Lucio Rubio Diaz, said on June 20, 2008.

According to Rubio Diaz, the projects are still in a preliminary phase of development. The hydroelectric power plants include Chapasias and the 480 MW Guaicaramo, while the thermal projects include an additional turbine at Termozipa thermoelectric power plant (TPP). The other thermal projects will be officially presented when the company completes the feasibility studies and the Colombian Government implements the new energy auction system. The investments in Guaicaramo are not yet defined, but they will be probably higher than the investments in El Quimbo, that might reach $700 mln (449.8 mln euro) or $800 mln (514 mln euro), Rubio Diaz explained. Meanwhile, Emgesa's plans include the construction of small-scale hydroelectric power plants with a combined capacity of 240 MW.

Emgesa (www.emgesa.com.co), which is controlled by Spanish utility Endesa, generated 11,930 GWh of electricity in 2007, which accounted for 22.4 pct of the total national electricity output. In 2007, Emgesa merged with local utility Betania and became Colombia's first electricity producer leaving behind Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM).

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: June 20, 2008

Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Colombia To Study Cross-Border Power Grid

The governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Colombia will contract a company to conduct feasibility studies about an electricity interconnection between the five countries, Ecuadorian media reported on June 18, 2008.

The countries' deputy energy ministers met in Quito, Ecuador, on June 17 and 18 to analyse the offers presented by 10 international consultancy companies. One of them will be selected to carry out the study.

The study will take at least a year and should include issues like the regional energy supply and demand and the physical interconnection, the policy management undersecretary to Ecuador's Electricity Ministry, Pablo Cisneros, said.

The results will help to make an advance in the regional energy integration.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: June 19, 2008


Colombia: Maurel Prom signs new exploration contract for the Llanos area

Maurel Prom, through its wholly owned subsidiary Hocol, have signed with the National Hydrocarbon Agency of Colombia (ANH) a new Exploration and Production Contract (Clarinero) in the Eastern Llanos region, approximately 400km east of Bogota. The Clarinero contract covers an area of 2,298 km squared and is operated on 100% basis by HOCOL S.A. with royalties estimated at 8%.

The Clarinero contract strongly reinforces Hocols position in this region of Colombia, where the company already operates, also on a 100% basis, five other EP contracts (Lince, Saltarín, Cocli, Guarrojo and Sabanero) in the proximity of Clarinero. In one of these contracts (Guarrojo, 100%),

Maurel Prom has announced recently the success in the confirmation of the Ocelote discovery, currently producing with the last well Ocelote-4, 3,100 bopd under long term tests. Hocol is currently producing 14,850 bopd (entitlement), which is 22% above a production of 12,237 bopd in 2007. In the Clarinero contract Maurel Prom is committed to acquire 250 km of 2D seismic, 185 km squared of 3D seismic and drill two exploration wells over the next 22 months.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Utilities News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: June 13, 2008


Isagen plans hydroelectric plant

Colombia’s state-controlled electricity generator Isagen plans to invest US$1.3bn to build a hydroelectricity plant in the country’s northeast region. The 800-MW facility may take up to 10 years to complete and will be built in the vicinity of Sogamoso, where much of Colombia’s steel industry is based.

Publication: EIU IndustryWire - News Analysis
Provider: Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, the
Date: June 9, 2008


ETB expects to reach 800,000 broadband subscribers within 4 years

Bogotá municipally owned telco ETB expects its broadband subscribers to reach 800,000 within the next four years compared to the current 300,000, company president Fernando Panesso said.

ETB plans to increase its market competition through a massive expansion of the company's client base in both broadband and cable TV segments.

The recently appointed executive also said that the operator's objective is to have 450,000 new broadband subscribers in 2008-09 alone, local paper Portafolio reported.

ETB expects to conduct a pilot test of IPTV in November, Panesso added. The TV service will enable the telco to offer triple play services.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: June 6, 2008


Easyfly backing its own efficiency

Easyfly, the new Colombian low-cost airline, has begun operations with flights out of Medellin and Bogota at very low prices (Easyfly is actually operating four tariffs: promotional, economical, medium and high but flyers can secure 80% reductions compared to rival airlines).

Easyfly is buying fuel in bulk and storing it to secure price advantages and offering only minimum or basic in-flight services. Its start-up routes are Bogota to Barrancabermeja, Armenia, Arauca, Ibague, Neiva, Yopal and Cartago and from Medellin to Armenia and Bogota. Meanwhile, Spirit Airlines and Jetblue have announced promotional tariffs of less than US$10 for flights from the US to Colombia.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: June 2, 2008


Colombia: Kokoriko gets Disney nod for nuggets

Kokoriko has acquired a Disney franchise for food products aimed at babies and children. The Colombian restaurant chain is the first to receive the honour in Colombia, the first to meet nutritional and health standards demanded by the US giant. Kokoriko will make breaded Disney products such as nuggets without preservatives for supermarket sales.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: May 27, 2008


Acerías Paz del Rio asks Colombia for free trade zone

Colombian steelmaker Acerías Paz del Rio will ask the national government for a free trade zone declaration for its Belencito mill, enabling the company to secure special tax treatment for local and foreign trading.

According to an APR statement seen by Steel Business Briefing, the request was approved by the steelmaker’s board on 9 May.

The project is part of a program developed by Votorantim, APR’s parent company, to improve the Colombian mill's competitiveness and to make viable new investments planned by the group.

As previously reported, Votorantim, is studying investments of US$210m to upgrade its production capacity over the next three years, but the project is still subject to the board’s approval.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: May 20, 2008


Brazil Paradigma Supplies Software for 1st Electronic Energy Trading Auction in Colombia

Brazilian software and technology firm Paradigma supplied the technology platform for the first electronic auction for electricity sales held in Colombia on May 6, 2008, Brazilian media reported on May 9.

Paradigma targets to enter other Latin American energy markets as well. According to the company, the energy sector is expanding in the emerging countries, which offers opportunities to Paradigma. The firm is responsible for 80 pct of the energy sector tenders in Brazil. Paradigma developed the power trading platform that was used by Brazilian power trading board CCEE for the Government's power auctions. Other Paradigma's customers are the power trader Enertrade, Tractebel Energia, Brazilian power company CPFL Energia, mining and logistic giant Cia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD).
Paradigma (www.paradigma.com.br) is based in Florianopolis, the capital of Brazil's southern Santa Catarina state.

Twenty companies interested in buying power for the period December 2012 to November 2013 took part in the Colombian auction. The event counted on the presence of the president of Brazil's CCEE, Antonio Carlos Fraga Machado, as an international observer. The auctioned projects are expected to demand investments of $400 mln (258.6 mln euro). Later in 2008 Colombia will organise another power auction, this time to secure the supply as of 2014.

Publication: Diario Financiero
Provider: Diario Financiero
Date: May 9, 2008


Colombina grows net profits 20%

Colombina has registered net profits of Peso$11.047bil in the first quarter of 2008, a rise of 20% over the same period in 2007 for the Colombian firm despite the negative effect, said to be 16%, the strength of the Peso has had on its exports. Close to signing a new collective agreement with employees and planning to issue ordinary bonds or commercial papers this year, Colombina’s dollar exports rose 13% in the quarter but slipped 2% in local currency; meanwhile, internal market sales rose from Peso$70.441bil to Peso$76.57bil and financial costs shot up by 66% due to debt taken on in buying in machinery and equipment by the company.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: May 1, 2008


Juan Valdez sales and profits soaring

Tiendas Juan Valdez increased its sales by 80% in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the first quarter of 2007, says Procafecol, the group which manages the Colombian coffee-shop chain. In the first three months of this year, the chain posted sales of Peso$16.163bil (US$9mil). In a year, the chain has doubled in size to reach 100 outlets in Colombia with growth going on internationally too. The first of eight coffee-shops planned for Chile in association with Grupo Falabella this year has already opened, for example. Gross profits for the Procafecol chain in the
first quarter of 2008 came to Peso$8.943bil, a rise of 97% over January-March 2007.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: April 23, 2008


EPM Mulls Acquiring New Stake in Regional Edeq

Colombian state-run utility group Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) is considering an increase of its 66.4 pct stake in regional energy company Empresa de Energia de Quindio (Edeq), it was reported on April 16, 2008.

The Colombian Government has offered a proportional share from its 17.6 pct stake to all Edeq shareholders. The holding is estimated at 40 billion Colombian pesos ($22.2 mln/14 mln euro). The shareholders are expected to respond by April 25.

EPM is interested in acquiring all of the state's stake, as well as any other stake the partners would offer, the president of the Edeq board and a representative of EPM, Luis Carlos Rubiano, said.

Among Edeq shareholders are Empresas Publicas de Armenia (EPA), another regional company holding 6.7 pct, and the department of Quindio with 4.8 pct.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: April 16, 2008


Santander and Bolivar Depts To Export 40,000 T Biodiesel

Colombia's northern departments of Santander and Bolivar are seen to start exporting nearly 40,000 tonnes biodiesel a year to the United States and the European Union within the next 16 months, local media reported on April 11, 2008.

Within this period, three palm oil mills and a biodiesel plant will be built in the Magdalena Medio region, as part of a recently signed alliance between U.S. Texas Biodiesel Corp, Colombian Industrias AVM SA and local palm growers' associations.

The mills will be built in Cantagallo, Sabana de Torres and San Pablo with a capacity to process 6.0 tonnes per hour, 10 tonnes per hour and 20 tonnes per hour, respectively.

U.S. Texas Biodiesel Corp will invest $80 mln (50.6 mln euro) in the project, according to AVM market director, Cesar Gomez. A total of 45 pct of the sum will be allocated for the plants' construction and for improvement of the transport infrastructure. The remainder will be spent on technical improvements of the cultivation.

The plants already have secured supply of raw material from over 31 ha of palm plantations and an additional 20,000 ha should be planted in the next years.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: April 14, 2008


Vecol to invest Peso$17bil in new lab

Vecol of Colombia will be investing Peso$17bil in its new biological-products laboratory. Construction will begin this year and should be complete before 2010, ready to make 11 different vaccines for animals and humans. Empresa Colombiana de Productos Agropecuarios (Vecol) will modernise its production and its products whilst continuing to produce its vaccine against human rabies which could soon be part of a mass vaccination programme backed by the Ministerio de la Proteccion Social (two youngsters have died in El Cauca in the last month from rabies). Vecol posted profits of Peso$7.528bil in 2007 from sales of Peso$55.421bil as its fine decade continues. The firm exports successfully to Venezuela, Peru and Uruguay.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: April 10, 2008

Steel groups pursue acquisitions in Colombia

Colombian steel producer Siderurgica del Occidente (Sidoc) appears to be fending off several offers to buy the company. It has not been considering any takeover bid, although this could change in the due course.

The steelmaker has received offers from Brazil’s Gerdau and Votorantim – which both already have operations in Colombia – and also from ArcelorMittal as well. In Colombia, compared to its Brazilian competitors, ArcelorMittal is relatively weak.

Gerdau controls the long steelmakers Diaco and Comsisa, the rolling mill Aceros Boyacá and the special steelmaker Sidelpa. Votorantim operates Acerías Paz del Río and is now finalising the acquisition of a major local service centre, G&J Ferreterías.

Another local steelmaker, Sidenal, is also receiving offers from the same three companies, Steel Business Briefing hears. Sources at Sidoc and Sidenal confirm the existence of approaches from international groups.

Colombian sources tell SBB that ArcelorMittal is likely to increase its bid for Sidoc, fearing that it may lose its last chance of making a substantial acquisition in Colombia, a fast growing steel market.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: April 11, 2008


Aliar SA using high plains for grain and pork

Aliar SA is consolidating an agro-industrial plan in Puerto Gaitan (Meta) via investment of US$130mil, explains company manager Jaime Lievano, the idea being to use the high plains locally for maize and soya, imitating successful Brazilian methods. The soil's acidity must be corrected and its aluminium levels must be reduced.

A late addition to the plan has been the farming of pigs with the maize and soya providing food for the 750 animals the project should eventually boast; the pigs will then become pork at Bogota's Frigorifico Guadalupe under the brand-name La Fazenda.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: April 8, 2008


Parmalat grows sales 8.4%

Parmalat's sales in Colombia rose 8.4% in 2007 to total Peso$348.196bil whilst the dairy group's Ebitda rose from year 2006's Peso$32.39bil to Peso$42.995bil. Unit sales dipped 8.8% when compared with 2006 with pasteurised milk unit sales down 9.4% (they represent 79% of total Parmalat sales volume). Unit sales of UHT milk (7% of total sales) rose 2.7% and powdered milk unit sales (6% of the total) slipped by 11.4%.

Parmalat-Proleche Colombia is the third leading pasteurised milk player nationwide, topping the charts in Bogota and winning the silver medal in Medellin and Cali. The firm invested almost Peso$11bil locally last year; this year, it will invest in launching new products. Parmalat processes pasteurised milk at its plants in Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Barranquilla and Cerete and powdered milk in China, Medellin and Cerete.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: March 16, 2008

La Bodega to be operated by Ventana

The Colombian gold-mine La Bodega is to be operated by the Canadian firm Ventana Gold Corporation. The company has secured a loan of US$750,000 and will use 67% of the credit to make a payment related to La Bodega; the other third will become working capital for the reserve.

The loan stems from a company controlled by a member of the Ventana board, said firm set to receive warrants further down the line for negotiation on the stock exchange. Ventana Gold has a concession of 3,788 ha for gold exploration in the Colombian municipalities of California and Vetas in the Santander region.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: March 16, 2008

Carrefour and Colsubsidio to create joint drug-store chain

Carrefour is to enter the Colombian drug-store market in alliance with Colsubsidio, the French giant hoping to open 45 outlets in its existing hypermarkets and in those it will be opening this year. The Colsubsidio supermarkets will remain in competition with Carrefour, explains Diana Londono of the former.

The new chain will carry the names of both firms in some form. Colsubsidio registered medicine sales of Peso$183bil last year for a 5.5% national market-share. It boasts 125 drug-stores in Cundinamarca and will look to open another 20 exclusive of the alliance with Carrefour.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: March 16, 2008


Cencosud and Vale do Rio Doce keep the faith in Colombia

Big regional players Vale do Rio Doce and Cencosud - of Brazil and Chile respectively - will not be suspending investment in Colombia despite the escalating row between the latter nation and its neighbours Ecuador and Venezuela.

The executive director of finance at the diversified mining giant Vale, Fabio Barbosa has said that he expects the row to be solved before it reaches true crisis proportions. The firm is considering establishing an aluminium-processing plant in Colombia or in the Middle East as confirmed by company president Roger Agnelli.

The leading executive within the holding company Cencosud, Laurence Golborne has reassured Colombia that his operation invests with a long-term mentality always. It will not be put off by this (for now merely) diplomatic row as it gets its alliance with Casino, involving the Easy format, underway locally.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: March 12, 2008

Repsol YPF to exit Platanillo

The specialist Spanish business press has gone on record this week with the statement that Spanish oil and gas group Repsol YPF is set to sell off its stake in the Platanillo block. Repsol YPF controls a 30% share of the Colombian concession contract. The reasoning Repsol has used is that Colombia lacks the infrastructure with which to refine derivatives. Additionally, the firm is increasingly concentrating on operations within Organizacion para la Cooperacion y el Desarrollo Economico (OCDE) - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member-nations.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: March 12, 2008


Paper: At least 6 cos interested in La Línea tender

At least six international companies have contacted officials at Colombian national road institute Invías to discuss the tender process for the construction of La Línea tunnel, local paper El Nuevo Día reported.

The companies that have expressed interest in taking part in the tender process are Italian firm Impreglio, Spanish firm OHL, Brazilian firm Andrade Gutiérrez, Argentina's Iecsa, Korean firm Taeah Construction and Chinese company Asia Tech Intl.

In February, the transport ministry and Invías relaunched the international tender process for the construction of the Cordillera Central pass, which includes the construction of the parallel II Centenario and La Línea tunnels, of 8.8km each, and the expansion of the Calarcá-Cajamarca highway by 23.7km.

The initiative was divided into five stages and bidders are requested to submit separate offers for each stage. Authorities will select the best technical and economic offers for each stage.

The official budget is set at 612bn pesos (US$322mn), but the winning company or companies will receive tax benefits through the El Vallejo plan, which reduces the cost of importing the supplies necessary to carry out works.

The project is expected to take 70 months to complete. Authorities hope to see the expanded highway and the excavation of the first tunnel ready by 2010.

The first tunnel is slated to begin operating in 2012, while the construction of the second is expected to conclude in 2013.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: March 10, 2008


Spanish Gas Natural To Invest $5.4 Mln in 13 New VNG Stations in Colombia

Spanish gas company Gas Natural will invest $10 bln Colombian pesos ($5.4 mln/3.5 mln euro) in the launch of 13 new vehicular natural gas (VNG) stations under its newest brand GN Auto in Colombia, according to the executive president of Gas Natural, Maria Eugenia Coronado, quoted on March 4, 2008.

The main part of the stations will be kicked off in Colombian capital Bogota. According to Coronado, the funds form part of Gas Natural's plans to strengthen the company's positions on the VNG market in Bogota. The company has invested over 20.5 bln pesos ($11 mln/7.3 mln euro) in the last five years, which help it reach 27 own fuel stations in Colombia, Coronado added. With the new investment, their number will reach 40 stations at the end of 2008.

Now in Bogota and the municipalities of Chia, Zipaquira, Soacha and Madrid, there are 107 fuel stations, that attend 85,000 vehicles per day.

Gas Natural (www.gasnatural.com) operates in the electricity generation business, managing combined-cycle and co-generation plants, and wind farms.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: March 5, 2008


Prospero ups stake in Black Rock's Las Quinchas

Calgary-based private oil company Prospero Hydrocarbons will increase its stake in UK-based Black Rock Oil's (LSE: BLR) interest in the Las Quinchas association contract in Colombia's Middle Magdalena valley, Black Rock said in a statement.
Black Rock farmed into the contract in 2005 and obtained a 50% interest from block operator Kappa Resources.

Black subsequently transferred its interest in Las Quinchas into a wholly owned, Barbados-based subsidiary called Las Quinchas Resource.

Prospero has subscribed for 425,298 shares of common stock in Las Quinchas Resource for US$347,182, representing 0.83% of the issued share capital of the holding company.

Prospero has agreed to invest a further US$3,652,818 for shares representing up to 49% of the holding company, according to the statement.

The funds will be used for the continued development of Las Quinchas, including the Acacia Este field.

The Acacia Este 1 well was drilled in August 2007 and tested at 101b/d of 16 degree API oil. Acacia Este 2 was spudded in December last year, where tests are being performed.

Prospero's management will assist in technical evaluations and a Prospero nominee will join the board of Las Quinchas Resource.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: March 3, 2008


Sidenal to commission new Electric Arc Furnace this year

Colombia's long steelmaker Sidenal is to commission a new electric arc furnace supplied by Techint's Tenova later this year, probably in November or December, a source from the company tells Steel Business Briefing.

Sidenal's crude steel output reached almost 200,000 tonnes last year, from a capacity of about 280,000 t/y at its two existing EAFs. The company's raw steel capacity will be sharply increased once the new furnace is commissioned; it is expected to add around 300,000 t/y.

However, the company official explains that the ramp-up schedule for the new furnace is still uncertain, as the company has not yet secured enough scrap. "We'll probably import the scrap", he comments, adding that the US market would be the most likely supplier.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: March 3, 2008


Femsa to bring Oxxo to Colombia

Femsa, the Mexican company, is to introduce its Oxxo convenience-store format to Colombia as well as other South American countries. In Mexico, Oxxo stores now represent 29% of Femsa sales. The company's Colombian operations are limited thus far to Coca-Cola production and bottling.

Javier Astaburuaga, director of finance at the group, says that Oxxo stores will not open immediately in Colombia but that they shouldn't take too long (i.e. before 2009). In 2007, Oxxo opened 716 stores to reach a total of 5,563. Late last year, Femsa gave out the Oxxo license for Colombia to the owner of a store in Ciudad Salitre, Bogota, for three years but the license only relates to the brand not the format or the concept. Femsa's gross Colombian margin rose from 44.8% in the final quarter of 2006 to 51.2% in the last three months of 2007.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 27, 2008

Colombia: TGI attracts partner interest

Leopoldo Montanez, president of Transportadora de Gas del Interior (TGI), has said that he has received interest in a 9% stake from a possible partner; this would earn the firm resources of over US$40mil. Empresa de Energia de Bogota (EEB) owns 89.2% of TGI, CAF owns 9% and minority shareholders, 1.8%. EEB paid Peso$3,200bil for its stake in TGI, the largest gas-transport operation in all Colombia (and set to operate in Peru soon).

Montanez says that the potential partner would provide the funds TGI needs to meet its investment plan of US$300mil from 2008 to 2011. TGI, founded a year ago, wants to increase gas-transport capacity by 100% from Cusiana to 420 million cubic feet and by 100% also from the fields of La Guajira to 240 million cubic feet per day. TGI boasts a network of 3,700 kilometres of gas pipelines nationally (having taken the assets of Ecogas on).

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 27, 2008


Enka and Eternit aim to be careful with profits

Enka de Colombia posted net profits of Peso$11.907bil last year, a dip of 49.3% compared to 2006, its exports hit by the rising value of the Colombian peso. Its dollar-based export sales rose 5.3% to reach US$66.2mil in 2007 and to signify a quarter of total sales. Polymer and fibre group Enka's Ebitda slipped Peso$6.616bil to Peso$25.732bil, explains the firm's president Alvaro Hincapie Velez.

Meanwhile, Eternit Colombiana has announced net profits in 2007 of Peso$2.97bil that it will look to store up for machinery replacements; this plan will first have to be approved by the upcoming Asamblea de Accionistas (AGM). Enka plans to do the same as well as righting losses from previous years. In 2006, the construction materials company Eternit posted net profits of Peso$9.551bil.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 22, 2008


Easyfly hitting the heights

Colombian airline Easyfly, which started up three months ago, has gone from mobilising 3,500 passengers in November 2007 to 10,000 last month (January 2008). This sharp rise has led the firm to acquiring five more planes for US$10mil from British Aerospace, with which it will try to open up ten new routes.

Easyfly has already asked the entity Aerocivil for permission to build a new operational centre at the Enrique Olaya Herrera airport in Medellin. The company president, Alfonso Avila likes to call Easyfly a high-efficiency rather than a low-cost airline. It currently runs routes to Barrancabermeja, Armenia, Arauca, Ibague, Neiva, Yopal and Cartago, having momentarily suspended flights to Villavicencio.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 13, 2008


Ecopetrol triples heavy crude output from 2003-08

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol tripled its heavy crude production from 2003-08. The company produced an average of 98,000b/d of heavy crude in 2007 and passed the 110,000b/d mark in January 2008. Ecopetrol, meanwhile, plans to average 121,000b/d of heavy crude production in 2008, with the figure rising to 170,000b/d by 2011.

Ecopetrol has its sights on the upcoming heavy crude rounds in Colombia and the company will compete with public and private majors and juniors for the blocks. A total of US$2.8bn will be spent to increase production at Ecopetrols heavy crude blocks and US$2.37bn to upgrade the Barrancabermeja refinery that processes heavy crude.

An additional US$658mn will be spent to increase transport infrastructure. Increased transit infrastructure is expected greatly to improve the economic feasibility of heavy crude. While heavy crude can be produced for around US$3/b, trucking prices can reach over US$10/b where no pipeline infrastructure exists.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Utilities News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: February 13, 2008


EPM only has eyes for Chile

Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) is set on generating and distributing energy in Chile with local and foreign partners. The Colombian group has signed a confidentiality clause regarding the plans it has but it would seem that EPM is thinking of 500 MW at a cost of US$700mil.

The project is expected to take shape midway through 2008, according to Sub-Gerente de Nuevos Negocios en Energia at EPM, Alejandro Jose Jaramillo. EPM is also considering bidding for Chilean holding company Saesa, put up for sale by PSEG of the US. The investment bank Credit Suisse has delivered a preliminary prospectus for the sale of assets in Saesa and, in two weeks' time, it will present the definitive version. Saesa has 640,000 clients and 118 MW of installed capacity in Chile. It is expected to sell for around US$700mil.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 11, 2008

Fogel Andina gets started in the Valley del Cauca

Colombia's Valley del Cauca is to serve as an export platform for the firm Fogel Andina, a producer of refrigeration equipment new to the nation. Fogel has invested US$5mil in its production plant in the Zona Franca del Pacifico. It aims to produce 10,000 fridges and freezers in year one, having set up in Colombia to reduce its sales costs in the region (also including Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru).

Its leading local client is the (now multinational) Bavaria-SabMiller, the two firms first having worked together a few years back in Guatemala. Andres Sinisterra, Fogel Andina director, states that the aim is to post a turnover of around US$9mil in year one, 50% stemming from exports.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: February 11, 2008


Colombia: Oil companies to invest USD 7 billion in Colombia in 08, Up from USD 6 billion 07

Foreign and Colombian oil and gas companies will spend $7 billion this year in exploration and production, 17% more than the $6 billion invested last year. Local and international oil companies are expected to drill between 85 and 90 exploration wells this year, up from the 70 they drilled last year.

In 2007, international oil companies invested $3.5 billion in exploration, production and in refineries, while the rest came in from state-owned oil company Ecopetrol (ECOPETROL.BO). Ecopetrol plans to invest $3.8 billion in production and exploration activities in 2008 to boost oil output and reserves. The investment is higher than the $3.7 billion the company announced late last year. The investment figures also include Ecopetrols efforts abroad. The company is currently seeking oil in partnership with other companies in Peru, Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) is expected to drill an exploration offshore well in the Colombian Caribbean in the second half of 2008. Company most likely will begin the drilling toward the end of the year or may be beginning in 2009.

Publication: Euclid Infotech - Utilities News
Provider: Euclid Infotech
Date: February 7, 2008


Colombia's Acesco working to complete HDG expansion by Q4

Colombian steel coater and distributor Acesco is carrying out its hot-dipped galvanizing expansion project at its Malambo plant in northern Colombia and is expected to commission it by the fourth quarter, a source from the company tells Steel Business Briefing.

The project should double the Malambo plant's HDG capacity to 320,000 t/y. Acesco is also mulling construction of a colour-coating line, as previously reported by SBB. The Colombian mill recently acquired Costa Rican HDG producer Galvatica and says it intends to supply Central American and Caribbean markets from the newly acquired mill.

"We are working to commence operations in September/October, but it will depend on several things, such as equipment suppliers' deliveries, for instance", he comments. Acesco is a major steel group in Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia, with operations in countries like Puerto Rico, Panama and Costa Rica.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: January 29, 2008


Coffee - Colombia has its best year for a decade

Colombia's coffee industry had its best year in 2007 for 10 years. Export revenues rose at their fastest rate since 1998 and hit US$1.9bn. The coffee industry is the biggest employer of rural labour. Around 500,000 families depend on the industry. The industry accounts or about 24% of total agricultural output.

On official statistics, the coffee industry is far more important to the economy than the illegal drug industry, though in cash terms the illegal drugs industry probably has a turnover equivalent to about 10% of the country's total official GDP of US$135bn in 2006, according to the World Bank.

Coffeemen said that the good result in 2007 is the product of an improvement in productivity which has led to an increase in the acreage planted with coffee and a replacement of exhausted coffee bushes. In 2007 the industry increased its production by about 500,000 (60kg) to 12.6m bags according to the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros. This was 4% up on 2006 and the highest production figure for 10 years. Unusually, the surge in production was accompanied by an increase in coffee prices. The average price of Colombian coffee was US$1.26 per pound, 8% up on 2006's average.

The main reason for the run-up in the international price has been poor coffee crops in Brazil and Vietnam, the two big swing producers in the world coffee industry. Colombia's elaborate system of minimum prices that are linked to the international market price means that 92% of the international price finds its way to growers. In most coffee producing countries, middlemen scoop out between 15% and 25% of the export price. Colombian coffee still commands a premium in the crucial US market.

Publication: LatinNews - Economy & Business
Provider: Latin American Newsletters
Date: January 26, 2008


Colombian CORPOICA Invests $865,900 in Biodiesel Plant

Colombian agricultural research institute CORPOICA invested 1.7 bln Colombian pesos ($865,900/591,400 euro) in a biodiesel plant, which will start operations in the near future, the daily Portafolio said on January 17, 2008.

The plant is expected to produce 2,000 litres of biodiesel daily and it will be sold to the more than 10,000 residents of the municipality Salahonda, in the southwestern department Narino.

If the performance of the plant is good, CORPOICA will study the opportunities to build biodiesel plants in other parts of Colombia as well.

Part of the resources, which CORPOICA invested in the plant in Narino, were provided by the country's Ministry of Agriculture. The plant will use palm oil as raw material for the production of biodiesel.

Biodiesel is an environment friendly renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils such as soybean oil or animal fats, following strict industry specifications ASTM D6751, and at present Germany is the largest biodiesel producer worldwide.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: January 18, 2008


Colombian Promigas To Invest $44.6 Mln in Stakes in Gas Distributors 2008

Colombian gas utility Promigas will invest a total 87 bln Colombian pesos ($44.56 mln/30.5 mln euro) in buying stakes in gas distributors in the country in 2008, the company said on January 16, 2008.

The gas utility will take loans from local banks in order to finance these investments.

Promigas currently transports 46 pct of the natural gas consumed in Colombia. It has agreements with the local gas distributors Centragas, GBS, Transmetano, Transoriente and Transoccidente.

Promigas is investing $225 mln (154 mln euro) to expand in Colombia and abroad, the Latin America News Digest said on January 4, 2008. In line with these efforts Promigas has signed a leasing agreement with local bank Bancolombia for $15 mln (10.27 mln euro). The company will use the amount to finance the construction of a gas pipeline connecting Promigas's gas transporting facilities to Colombian natural gas field La Creciente.

Publication: Business Digest
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
Date: January 17, 2008


Emsa to invest US$9.6mn in 2008

Colombian distributor Emsa plans to invest 19.2bn pesos (US$9.6mn) this year in central Meta department, the company said in a filing to financial regulator Superfinanciera.

Of the total, 14.3bn pesos will be spent on projects announced in 2007 and the balance on new projects.

The company's 2008 budget predicts total revenues of 150bn pesos, a net profit of 20.0bn pesos and Ebitda of 32.5bn pesos.

Emsa is one of five local power utilities Colombia's federal government is looking to sell.

The government, however, decided in December to postpone the privatization of the utilities in the departments of Cundinamarca, Santander, Norte de Santander, Boyacá and Meta.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: January 11, 2008


La Cabana to open sugar refinery in mid-2008

Ingenio La Cabana of Colombia is to open a new sugar-refining plant in June for operations in the second half of 2008; it also plans to buy back 4.1% of its own shares from groups such as Grupo Corficolombiana and Leasing Bolivar (the founding family owns 95.9%).

In recent days, Duff & Phelps de Colombia reaffirmed its Triple A rating of La Cabana, pleased to see the firm entering the refining segment of the sugar trade, the area which offers the best business margins. Ingenio La Cabana owns 70% of the 19,143 ha it uses for sugar-cane cultivation, the best percentage of any firm in the national sector. Also this year, the firm will launch a new corporate image.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
Date: January 8, 2008


Cementos Argos (Cemargos) gets US$159mn loan to up production

Colombia's biggest cement company Cementos Argos (Cemargos) has obtained a US$159mn loan to expand its productive capacity, the company reported to financial regulator Superfinanciera.

The company obtained the loan from Citibank and the Danish export promotion agency EKF.

The loan will cover the purchase of new equipment to expand the company's Cartagena cement plant production by 1.8Mt/year.

The company will pay for the loan over an 11.5-year period, with a rate at 1.11% over Libor.

Cemargos belongs to Colombian group GEA.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: January 2, 2008

IDU awards Transmilenio road construction supervision contracts

The urban development institute (IDU) in Colombian capital Bogotá has awarded the supervision contract for the construction of two lanes to be used by public transport system Transmilenio, IDU reported in a release.

The works are part of the system's third phase and were awarded to a total of two companies and three consortiums, which will supervise the lanes' construction that is slated to last 21-27 months.

The construction of the Carrera 10 lane runs from streets 31 Sur and 30 Sur, and streets Carrera 5 and Carrera 10 will be supervised by consortium Interventorías Troncales 2007, comprised of companies Interventorías y Diseños Interdiseños and Compañía de Estudios e Interventoría. Works are to last 26 months.

The company Poyri Infra was awarded the control over the construction of the exclusive bus lanes along street Carrera 10, between streets 30 Sur and 7. Works are expected run 23-25 months.

Consortium IML - composed of firms MAB Ingeniería y Consultoría, Ingeniería y Consultoría Ingecon and Latino Consult - was awarded supervision over construction of the bus lane along street 10, between streets 7 and 34, and of the lane along street 26, between street 19 and avenue 19. Works will take 23-26 months.

Consortium Intercol - comprised of firms Investigación y Control de Calidad Incosa, Vías y Ambiente Viambiente, Obras y Proyectos RP and Gestión de Proyectos de Ingeniería GPI - was awarded the supervision of lane construction along street 26, between streets Carrera 19 and Transversal 76. This project is slated to last 21-27 months.

Finally, the company Ingenieros Consultores Civiles y Eléctricos Ingetec will be in charge of supervising the construction of the lane Troncal 26, along street 26, expected to last 27 months.

Troncal 26 will total 12.2km, while Troncal Carrera 10 will total 7.2km.

The construction of the two lanes will launch once the pre-construction phase wraps up in June 2008.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
Date: January 2, 2008