Cementos Argos net profit up by 3.3% and Holcim reveals 2015 plans

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Colombia: Cementos Argos' net profit rose by 3.3% year-on-year to US$29m in the first quarter of 2015, which ended on 31 March 2015, due to increased sales in the US. The company posted an increase in income despite higher sales costs.

Its consolidated income rose by 28% to US$630m, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped by 18% to US$121m, the highest in the company's history. The increases were due principally to growth in the US, where cement income rose by 31% to US$264m.

"Today, 60% of Cementos Argos' income is generated outside of Colombia," said chief executive Jorge Mario Velasquez. "Added to the solid results in all our operations, dispatched volumes and generated EBITDA, we can be optimistic about 2015."
Costs for the company rose by 33.3% year-on-year to US$469m in the first quarter because of bad weather in the US and increased transportation costs in Colombia caused by a brief truckers' strike.

Meanwhile, Jaime Hill Tinoco, president of Holcim Colombia, has confirmed the company's upcoming projects, which include the second stage of the connection between Puente Aereo (Terminal 2) and the new terminal at El Dorado airport in Bogota, La Felicidad shopping centre and a residential development in Madrid (Cundimarca). Hill said that Holcim will install plants at the building sites and added that it will also supply cement for the construction of a Grupo Carso mall in Bogota.

With regards to infrastructure projects, Hill said that Holcim is participating in the construction of the Bogota-Villavicencio road and in the second section of the Ruta del Sol road project. He added that the expansion of infrastructure initiatives would benefit the cement sector, improving the transport of material.

In January - March 2015, Holcim Colombia posted a sales increase of 5%, below the national industry's average growth rate of 7.5%. Hill said that the difference was due to the truckers' strike, which forced distribution to be halted for a week. The company has forecast a 5% sales rise by the end of 2015, representing 15% of the 12.5Mt tonnes of cement that the industry expects to produce during the year. By 2020, it is expected that Colombia will produce 15Mt/yr of cement.