August 13, 2019 / 10:12 PM / 4 months ago

Colombia's Grupo Argos says 1st-half net profit up 16% to $77 mln

BOGOTA, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Colombian industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos said on Tuesday its net profit increased 16% in the first half of the year to 265 billion pesos ($77 million) compared with the year-ago period.

The company, whose subsidiaries include cement-maker Cementos Argos and energy company Celsia, did not include figures for the second quarter in its filing to the country’s financial regulator.

“Various milestones that will have positive impact in the long-term materialized in this period,” chief executive Jorge Mario Velasquez said in a statement.

Those milestones include “the incorporation of the transmission and distribution assets of our subsidiary Celsia for close to 2 trillion pesos and financial optimization operations in our concessions business, which included bond issues for close to 2.5 trillion pesos,” he said.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were 2.1 trillion pesos, up 12% compared with the first half of 2018, the filing said.

Revenue was 7.6 trillion pesos during the first half, the company said, up 9% year-on-year.

Celsia said last week it would sell some $420 million in thermal energy assets. The sale will give it more flexibility and profitability, Argos said in its Tuesday statement, as well as focus its grid more on clean energy.

Cementos Argos said on Monday its net profit was up 33.5% to 70.7 billion pesos in the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 2018.

Argos has approached U.S. aggregates and cement maker Summit Materials Inc about a merger, Reuters reported in June, a deal that would bolster Argos’ U.S. footprint and illustrate how building materials companies in emerging markets are seeking to become consolidators of their sectors in more mature economies. ($1 = 3,436.26 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Chris Reese)

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