March 26, 2020 / 8:43 PM / 9 days ago

Grupo Argos to postpone investments, reduce costs over coronavirus

BOGOTA, March 26 (Reuters) - Colombian holding company Grupo Argos will defer investments and cut spending by nearly a trillion pesos ($245 million) this year, amid uncertainty about the economic impact of the coronavirus, the firm’s chief executive said on Thursday.

Grupo Argos is one of the largest holding companies in the Andean country, and its main subsidiaries include Cementos Argos , electric company Celsia and Odinsa, which holds highway and airport concessions.

The group will postpone investments of 700 billion pesos ($171.30 million) and cut costs by 250 billion pesos ($61.2 million).

The measures will hit certain expansion projects as the company looks to protect jobs and ensure its sustainability.

“Today we have taken measures to postpone investments ... they haven’t been canceled, we have just put them on ‘stand by’ until we have more visibility of the future,” Jorge Mario Velasquez told journalists.

“These two measures will provide around a trillion pesos for the organization, in addition to other sources, cash and financing it has access to, which gives us relative peace of mind,” he said.

Grupo Argos’ five-year investment plan includes some 15 trillion pesos ($3.67 billion) earmarked for renewable energy, energy distribution, airport operations and its cement business. (1 dólar = 4.086,34 pesos) (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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