(Adds details on cost increase)
BOGOTA, May 27 (Reuters) - Cementos Argos, Colombia’s biggest cement maker, said on Wednesday its net profit rose 3.3 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year due to increased sales in the United States.
Between January and March, net profit reached 78.9 million pesos ($29 million), Cementos Argos said in a filing to Colombia’s financial regulator. The company posted an increase in income despite higher sales costs.
Consolidated income rose to 1.6 trillion pesos, 28 percent higher than the same period in 2014. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 18 percent to 307 billion pesos, the highest in the company’s history.
The increases were due principally to growth in the United States, where cement income rose 31 percent to $264 million, the company said.
“Today 60 percent of Cementos Argos’ income is generated outside of Colombia,” Chief Executive Jorge Mario Velasquez said in the statement, “Added to the solid results in all our operations, dispatched volumes and generated EBITDA, we can be optimistic about 2015.”
Costs for the company, a subsidiary of Grupo Argos, rose 33.3 percent to 1.19 trillion pesos in the first quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier because of bad weather in the United States and increased transportation costs in Colombia caused by a brief truckers’ strike, Velasquez said during a conference call.
Cementos Argos, which produces both cement and concrete, also operates in Central America and the Caribbean. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Nelson Bocanegra; editing by Meredith Mazzilli and G Crosse)