Grupo Bolivar aims to expand internationally

Colombian financial conglomerate Grupo Bolivar, which has interests in the insurance and banking sectors, is planning to expand its presence in Latin America and the US. The company has been entering new markets such as Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama, while it is considering to arrive in Argentina, Chile or Peru.

For instance, its bank Banco Davivienda has a subsidiary in Panama and US, which Grupo Bolivar intends to expand and improve its services. In Venezuela, the company also operates a life insurance company together with local investors.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
December 8, 2009

Sodexo celebrates 15 years of activities in the country

French food catering and voucher company Sodexo has highlighted the position of its business in Colombia, where it is commemorating 15 years of activities. Sodexo Colombia is among the ten leading firms generating new jobs in the country. It has created more than 9,000 direct jobs in 208 different towns. Local firm Grupo de Inversiones Surameriana holds a 35% share in Sodexo Colombia

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
December 7, 2009


Smitco asks IFC for US$15.8mn to remodel Santa Marta container terminal

Colombia's Santa Marta International Terminal Company (Smitco) is requesting a US$15.8mn loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the financial entity reported on its website.

The project involves the refurbishment and operation by Smitco of a container terminal inside the Santa Marta port.

The initiative involves an estimated total investment of US$50mn to refurbish two berths with a combined total length of 322m; the installation of two post-panamax ship-to-shore cranes, four gantry cranes, and other handing equipment; and the demolition of existing buildings and expansion of the container yard from 4 to 8ha.

Upon completion, the terminal's container handling capacity will increase from 120,000 TEUs to 300,000 TEUs.

Santa Marta is Colombia's third largest port and is located 1,139 km north of capital Bogota on the Caribbean coast.

Smitco is approximately 51% owned by Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta (Sprsm) and approximately 49% owned by an indirect subsidiary of privately held US firm Carrix.

Sprsm operates Santa Marta port under a concession ending in 2033 and is owned by private investors, Magdalena department, the Santa Marta municipality and the transport ministry.

Publication: Business News Americas - English News
Provider: Business News Americas
November 9, 2009


Acesco set to start-up new HDG line in January

Colombian cold rolled and hot-dip galvanized coil producer Acerías de Colombia (Acesco) expects to commission its new 85,000 tpy HDG line in January, and is already targeting a total HDG capacity of 250,000 tpy. The line will be the company`s second, with the first able to produce up to 140,000 tpy, president Carlos Arturo Zuluaga told MB on the sidelines of Ilafa`s 50th Latin American annual steel conference in Quito, Ecuador. Acesco has also a cold rolled coil line with installed capability of 250,000 tpy.

"At the moment, output is strong, following a demand recovery which started a few months ago after the world economic crisis that affected the Colombian market in late 2008," Zuluaga said. Two months ago, Acesco started a 35,000 tpy prepainting line at its works reflecting optimism in the local market. The line was ready late last year, but the company delayed the start-up until market conditions improved, said Zuluaga.

Acesco still imports hot rolled coil from Brazil`s ArcelorMittal Tubarão and Japan`s Nippon Steel, but it also receently started sourcing hot rolled coil from Japan`s JFE. "We are also negotiating to buy HRC from Usiminas," the executive said. Purchases of hot rolled coil from Venezuela`s state-owned steelmaker Sidor have decreased this year following technical and political problems at the mill. Acesco also controls two plants in Costa Rica: HDG maker Galvatica and structural and welded pipes producer Tubotico, each operating at close to their respective 200,000 tpy capacities, Zuluaga added.

Publication: Metal Bulletin
Provider: Metal Bulletin com
October 27, 2009


Avianca eyes up Central American market

Colombian airline company Avianca is looking to establish new partnerships in order to place the company firmly on the map in Central America. To this end, Avianca has announced an agreement with Central American airline company Taca International Airlines (Taca). Moreover, Avianca acquired Brazilian airline Ocean Air at the beginning of September in a deal worth USD 200mn (EUR 135.86mn). Businessman German Efromovich is the head of Grupo Sinergy, a conglomerate which owns Avianca and SAM, and which is the main shareholder in Ecuadorian firm Vipsa as well as Colombian firms Tampa Cargo and Helicol. Efromovich and Avianca president Fabio Villegas called a press conference on 7 October 2009 in which they envisage gaining an increasing share of the Latin American market.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
October 8, 2009


Marriott to open first five-star hotel

Marriott International is set to inaugurate its first five-star hotel in Colombia, in Bogota in particular, on 6 October 2009. The new hotel will form part of the Bogota Corporate Center, which also encompasses an office building. The new Marriott hotel boasts 239 rooms in ten floors and will be operated by Real Hotels and Resorts, a subsidiary of Grupo Poma of El Salvador. Moreover, Marriott International plans to open a new 265-room hotel in Bogota in May 2010.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
October 6, 2009


Toyota may enter new segment

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has announced that it is assessing the possibility of entering new segments in Colombia. The firm led the segment for pick-up trucks in August 2009, driven forward by its innovative portfolio and a cut in prices of around 5% on average. However, Toyota has seen its market share drop by 2% so far in 2009. In order to offset this fall, the firm has introduced post-sale and marketing strategies as well as extending the warranty period for its vehicles.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
September 29, 2009


Ospinas will build a new hotel in Northern Bogota

Colombian construction company Ospinas will build a hotel in Bogota, Colombia, tendering for the project will be launched in February 2010 with construction planned for mid-2010. The company has been debating whether to participate in this sector for the last four years and is studying three different possibilities for hotel developments. The project is already advanced in terms of securing the 2,500 m2 plot in Northern Bogota and construction will take approximately 18 months. Ospinas is also looking at opportunities in other cities such as Cucuta.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
September 25, 2009


Hidrosogamoso project brings ICT on board for construction role

The massive Hidrosogamoso project being put together by Colombian energy-generation group Isagen has lurched forward another step with the group signing a contract with Grupo ICT for Peso$178.12bil. ICT has been encharged with the construction of works related to the Proyecto Hidroelectrico Sogamoso. Specifically, it will be responsible for the deviation tunnels, the access tunnels, excavation and foundations for certain areas of the plant amongst other things.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
September 19, 2009


Brookfield sets up $400Mn Colombia Fund

Brookfield Asset Management, Canada's asset manager focused on property, power, and other infrastructure assets, is launching a USD 400 million Colombian fund to invest in the region’s infrastructure. The PE firm has joined a wave of foreign institutional investors entering the Andean nation. It also announced the fund's first closing at USD 320 million, making it the largest PE and infrastructure fund ever launched in Colombia. Investors that have committed in the first closing include Colombian institutional investors and Brookfield, the latter committing up to 30 percent of the total.

Brookfield has been monitoring a number of attractive targets in Colombia in the past one year. The newly generated interest of international companies in Latin America is due to the global growth together with sound a fiscal policy, which contributed to the economic stability in the region. The banking sectors of many South America countries withstood the storm caused by the global financial crisis.

Publication: Evalueserve-EmergingMarketsNOW
Provider: Evalueserve India Ltd.
September 10, 2009


Plans to produce fine wood from coffee trees

The association of coffee farmers in Colombia, Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros (Federacafe), is promoting a project to produce fine wood from coffee trees. The project is supported by the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and is aimed at bolstering and diversifying the local coffee industry.

At present, coffee plantations in Colombia span around 1.1mn hectares, which could produce around 4mn cubic metres of processed wood. Domestic demand for wood in Colombia is estimated at around 10mn cubic metres per year, with 7mn of them being used by paper companies and 3mn for carpentry. The project also encompasses the production of some 2.8mn cubic metres of ethanol by using wood shavings from coffee trees.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
September 8, 2009

Investments in civil engineering projects up by 42% in Q2

Figures from the national statistics office, Dane, show that total investments in civil engineering works experienced a year-on-year growth of 42% in Colombia in the period between April and June 2009. The group of ports, dams, and other dredging-related projects recorded an increase of 101.5%, whereas energy and mines posted a 42% hike. Meanwhile, Dane has added that investments in roads, bridges and similar structure climbed by 28.5%, on the same period in 2008

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
September 8, 2009


Pacific Rubiales to register on Bolsa this time next month

Pacific Rubiales has set a date on its entry onto the Colombian Bolsa de Valores or rather a period in which it will occur, between September 15 and September 30, 2009. However, the firm is only set to register for now and not emit shares.

A partner of Ecopetrol, Pacific Rubiales had been expected to register last month but has been delayed by the Ministerio de Hacienda and the Bolsa itself, working together on new regulations for foreign values. The firm announced its intention back in February.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
September 1, 2009


Avianca issues bigger bond than expected

Avianca of Colombia has issued bonds to the tune of Peso$500bil via the Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (BVC), having only planned initially to emit Peso$300bil. The airline could indeed have sold bonds for a total of Peso$692.48bil such was investor interest.

The president of Avianca, Fabio Villegas has said that the operation will give the airline new impetus to continue with the overhaul process it has embarked upon. The issue was split into three tranches, one running for five, another for seven and the third for ten years at 5.5%, 6.3% and 6.69% respectively. Tranche one came to Peso$75bil; tranche two, to Peso$158.63bil; and tranche three, to Peso$266.37bil. The issue received a rating of AA+ from Fitch Ratings, was structured by ImasI and was placed by Interbolsa.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
September 1, 2009


Satena to start online ticket sales soon

Major-General of the Fuerza Aerea Colombiana (Colombian Air Force), Jose Javier Perez Mejia has been made the new president of Satena. Perez Mejia promises aggressive and enthusiastic attempts to turn a difficult situation around. Passenger numbers fell by 8% in the first half of 2009 for Satena. The new president wants the airline to be best known for high levels of service. He notes that Satena's bills are mainly in dollars even though its income is not dollar-based and adds that it is a shame that Eldorado airport in Bogota is in a mess at present due to renovation and modernisation work being carried out by Opain.

Perez Mejia explains that the closure of runway 1B Norte has seriously affected Satena operations.A priority for Satena in the second half of the year is the opening-up of new sales channels. Inside a month, the airline will be offering Internet ticket sales, a process in which US$1mil has been invested. The turnover for the group in the first semester of 2009 came to Peso$135bil and the goal for the whole of this year is a very attainable Peso$250bil.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
August 29, 2009


Nestle starts production of new Seduccion chocolates

Following an investment of USD 2mn (EUR 1.44mn) in new machinery, Nestle has begun to produce its Seduccion range of chocolates in Colombia. The new product will be available in three different versions: Seduccion Leche milk chocolate, Seduccion Blanco white chocolate and Seduccion Dark containing 60% of cocoa.

The company hopes to attract new consumers with its new products, although it is aware of the strong competition within the domestic chocolate market. It will directly compete with Chocolates Santander gourmet chocolates produced by local confectionery company Grupo Nacional de Chocolates, which contain between 65% and 70% of cocoa.

The firm estimates that domestic chocolate consumption stands at some 450 grammes per person per year, which is significantly low compared to other countries. Nestle hopes to boost sales by 5% in 2009, up from the USD 450mn reported in 2008. Additionally, Nestle Colombia has also introduced its new Seduccion range of chocolates in Ecuador

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
June 19, 2009


Isagen gets nod from DNP to secure funding for hydropower plant

The National Planning Department in Colombia (DNP) is reported to have given the green light for Colombian electricity generation company Isagen to seek financing at both local and international level in 2009 and 2010. The company will use the funds to finance the construction of its Hidrosogamoso hydroelectric station. Isagen recently opened a tender project for the construction of this power station.

Publication: Esmerk - News monitoring
Provider: Esmerk
June 19, 2009


Gran Tierra Energy oil output hits 15,334 bpd end-Mar '09

Canadian-based oil company Gran Tierra Energy Inc (TSE:GTE) reached an oil output of up to 15,334 barrels per day (bpd), net after royalty, at end-March against some 10,000 bpd on average in the first quarter of 2009.

The increase is due mainly to the development of the Costayaco field in Colombia's Chaza block, operated by Gran Tierra Energy, the company said on Thursday.

Gran Tierra Energy expects to keep its production at roughly 15,000 bpd through the second quarter of 2009, as the Costayaco-5 oil well is about to come on stream in the next days.

The company also announced an asset purchase and sale agreement with Lewis Energy Colombia Inc for Gran Tierra Energy's interests in the Guachiria Norte, Guachiria, and Guachiria Sur blocks in Colombia's Llanos basin. The deal is expected to cut by USD 6.2 million (EUR 4.7m) Gran Tierra Energy's capital spending in 2009. The company will retain a 10% overriding royalty interest in Guachiria Sur in case of a discovery.

Publication: ADP News
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
April 10, 2009


Colombian energy group likely to invest US$400 mln in Peru's energy projects

Colombia's Grupo Energia de Bogota plans to invest over 400 million dollars in Peruvian energy projects, reported today Bogota's mayor and president to Board of Directors of the company, Samuel Moreno.
According to Moreno, over 200 million dollars will be invested only in the construction and operation of the Ica gas pipeline, through Transcogas Perú, where "Empresa de Energía de Bogotá" (EEB) is the majority shareholder.

"Grupo Energia de Bogota owns over 80 percent of EEB, a public company from the Colombian capital that is steadily expanding", he said.

However, he emphasized that Ica gas pipeline will be not the only investment undertaken by Grupo Energía de Bogota in Peru, since it also plans to make significant investments through the Peru Energy Network (REP) and Transmantaro Consortium, both experts on the transmission of electricity.

Publication: Andina - English Newswire
Provider: Andina
March 7, 2009


El Quimbo getting underway

Via investment of roughly US$700mil, Emgesa will this year begin to build the hydroelectric plant El Quimbo. The firm, a filial of Endesa, will give the plant a capacity of 400 MW and thereby meet 5% of current Colombian demand for electricity. Initial investment will focus on building a dam, a dyke and a reservoir on the River Magdalena, Huila. Overall, it will take five years to complete El Quimbo across three stages, explains Lucio Rubio Diaz, director-general of Endesa in Colombia. The Spanish company's partner in the project is Empresa de Energia de Bogota.

Publication: SABI - Business News
Provider: South American Business Information
February 6, 2009


Colombia conducts successful biofuel testing in public transport

The Colombian Oil Institute (ICP) of the state oil company Ecopetrol (CLB:ECOPETROL) participated in successful tests on the use of biodiesel in public transport, Ecopetrol said on Wednesday.

The tests were conducted with 15 buses of the local public transporter Transmilenio over 18 months, in which the vehicles used blends of diesel with biodiesel. The biodiesel operated adequately in all engines and showed an improvement in their performance, according to the company.

The used blends conformed to the Colombian standards and the results confirmed the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM) emissions, Ecopetrol's president Javier Gutierrez said.

Publication: ADP News
Provider: AII Data Processing Ltd.
January 29, 2009


Aviatur builds new hotel

Colombian Aviatur has recently established a foothold in the corporate hotel market with an investment of COP 14 billion. The construction works of Avia hotel is in charge of De la Concha - Andrade company.

The hotel will be focused on the corporate market that represents more than 50 percent of Aviatur business. Avia will have 40 rooms, restaurant, spa and a car park and will provide 50 job positions. Also, Aviatur holds Tayrona, Gorgona, Nevados, Amacayacu, Otun and Baru hotels in the country.

Publication: BIS - Business Information Systems
Provider: Business Information Systems
January 27, 2009