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