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Based On a Solid Profile, Fitch Ratings Affirms Its BB- Rating for Tecnoglass with a Stable Outlook

Based On a Solid Profile, Fitch Ratings Affirms Its BB- Rating for Tecnoglass with a Stable Outlook

Tecnoglass Barranquilla Colombia window glass

Fitch Ratings today affirmed its BB- ratings for the Barranquilla-based window-maker Tecnoglass (NASDAQ: TGLS), with a stable outlook, thanks to a solid profile, a competitive cost structure, and above-average growth. The BB- rating and stable outlook apply to both the company’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating and long-term local currency issuer default rating (IDR).

According to the New York-based “big three” rating agency, Tecnoglass’ rating of BB- reflects its good market position in windows and glass-based facades, low cost base, and long-term expected growth rate. Against Latin American corporates rated at the BB-, Tecnoglass’ financial profile compares favorably, the agency added.

Fitch Ratings said in a statement that key assumptions within rating case for the company include sales growth continues in 2018 and 2019, supported by existing backlog and growth in U.S. commercial construction. The agency also noted its assumptions for Tecnoglass’ to maintain positive cash flow from operations in 2017 and 2018, gross leverage remaining at or below 3.5x over the intermediate term, and net leverage remaining below 3.0x over the intermediate term.

Photo: A Tecnoglass employee working within the company’s factory in Barranquilla, Colombia (Photo credit: Liliana Padierna)

Earlier this year, in March, the company, whose shares are listed on the NASDAQ and the Colombian Bolsa de Valores, bought Giovanni Monti and Partners Consulting and Glazing Contractors, Inc. (GM&P), a glazing and consulting contractor in Miami, for $35 million USD.

“The option to pay for the remaining $29 million USD of the acquisition amount of Giovanni Monti and Partners Consulting and Glazing Contractors Inc. in shares of Tecnoglass, either in whole or in part, provides Tecnoglass’ with the flexibility to choose some combination of funding so as to maintain its liquidity position,” stated Fitch.

This move was announced just three months after the company acquired Miami-based E.S. Windows, LLC for $13 million USD. The Florida company is the largest importer and reseller of the Barranquilla-based window and building materials maker’s products in the United States.

Despite these new acquisitions, Fitch said that liquidity is considered adequate. “The company held $46 million USD in cash as of the second-quarter 2017 and faced no significant debt maturities until 2022 when $210 million USD of notes mature,” stated Fitch. “Recently completed investments mitigate the need for large capital expenditure in the next two to three years.”

Santiago Giraldo, who was named chief financial officer of Tecnoglass in August, said he was pleased with the affirmation in what has been a challenging year but one that has been weathered well given the ongoing diversification strategy of a company that makes about 80% of its total sales to the United States.

“We expect to grow approximately 6% compared to 2016,” said Giraldo. “Additionally, it is important to see the credit that is given to our business model and cost structure, where we continue to obtain the highest margins in the industry and which gives us the flexibility to continue growing.”

Fitch added that positive rating actions could be driven by a strengthening of Tecnoglass’ business and financial positions. “Stable operating cash flow generation through industry and economic cycles resulting in leverage levels of total debt/EBITDA at or below 2.0x and net debt/EBITDA below 1.5x would be considered positive.”

Santiago Giraldo chief financial officer of Tecnoglass

““It is important to see the credit that is given to our business model and cost structure,” said Santiago Giraldo, CFO of Tecnoglass. (Photo credit: Liliana Padierna)”

Tecnoglass grew rapidly from 2012, as it has gained new business, particularly in the United States. Its growth slowed in 2017 as new construction in Colombia contracted and its U.S. order backlog was deferred during the first half of 2017. The company’s 2017 EBITDA is expected to close at around $60 million USD, which compares unfavorably to $63 million USD as of 2016.

Despite lower 2017 EBITDA, Fitch estimates Tecnoglass EBITDA will expand to about $70 million USD in 2018 as its backlog is fulfilled. Tecnoglass’ order backlog expanded to $487 million USD as of June 30 of this year from $398 million USD a year ago.

Though Tecnoglass in recent years has been selling more products within Colombia, as well as Panama, its main market continues to be the United States. “The U.S. is such a big country and a powerful buyer that we still have a lot of growth to do in the U.S.” Tecnoglass COO Christian Daes told Finance Colombia in September. “The market for windows in the U.S. is over $30 billion USD, and we are hardly making 200 and some million dollars in sales. So that means there is still a long way for us to go.”

Fuente: Finance Colombia

Distrito y Tecnoglass ponen la primera piedra para el nuevo CAI de Las Flores

Será construido por las empresas Monómeros, Merco y Tecnoglass. Una vez terminada la obra, será entregada en comodato a la Policía.

Tecnoglass desde el aire window glass

En 45 días el barrio Las Flores tendrá un nuevo Comando de Acción Inmediata (CAI). Así lo aseguraron los representantes de las fundaciones de las empresas Monómeros, Merco, y Tecnoglass, quienes pusieron ayer la primera piedra de la obra.

Cristian Daes, COO del Grupo Tecnoglass, manifestó que están haciendo lo que la hacía falta al barrio: la seguridad.

“Lo tuvieron hace tiempo, pero ya era hora de que regresáramos y ahora sí para quedarse. El barrio debe ser cada vez más seguro y haremos lo posible porque tenga más desarrollo”, señaló.

Daes explicó que el CAI contará con una garita, cocineta, vestidor, baño y depósito, y posteriormente será entregado a la Policía Metropolitana a través de un contrato de comodato.

La composición y blindaje de los elementos de la estructura, brindarán al proyecto un nivel de aislamiento térmico. Así mismo, se incorporarán luces LED de bajo consumo energético.

“Inicialmente íbamos a realizar este proyecto solos, pero las otras dos fundaciones nos manifestaron su interés y decidieron integrarse. Con el dinero que no vamos a colocar, decidimos que lo invertiremos en motocicletas y comunicación”, añadió.

El alcalde de Barranquilla, Alejandro Char, hizo presencia en el evento y manifestó que con el nuevo CAI buscan fortalecer la seguridad de este gran sector que sigue creciendo cada día.

“Solo tengo palabras de agradecimiento para las empresas privadas que siempre están dispuestas a apoyar el trabajo por el bienestar de la comunidad”, puntualizó el mandatario.

El proyecto, que tendrá una inversión de $173 millones donados por las distintas compañías, se desarrollará en un lote propiedad del distrito ubicado en la carrera 82 (vía 43) N° 108-08.

Fuente: El Heraldo

FITCH ratifica la calificación crediticia de Tecnoglass con perspectiva estable

La ratificación refleja la estructura competitiva de costos de la compañía y su perfil de crecimiento, el cual es superior al promedio de la industria.

Tecnoglass desde el aire window glass

De acuerdo al comunicado de Fitch Ratings, la ratificación de la calificación BB- refleja la estructura competitiva de costos de la Compañía y su perfil de crecimiento, el cual es superior al promedio de la industria. El crecimiento esperado está respaldado por un backlog de contratos firmados robusto y por una relación consolidada con clientes a largo plazo.
Lacalificación se ve limitada por el riesgo operativo de tener la mayoría de la producción en su mega planta en Barranquilla y por la naturaleza cíclica y alta demanda de capital de trabajo asociada a la industria de la construcción.
La perspectiva estable se basa en las expectativas por parte de la calificadora de que el EBITDA de la Compañía crecería por encima del 15% en el 2018 frente a su comparativo del 2017; a medida que la Compañía ejecute su backlog de contratos firmados.
Lo anterior, daría como resultado una relación deuda bruta / EBITDA total de 3.4x en 2018 (con una deuda neta /EBITDA esperada por la compañía de menos de 3.0x para el período).

Factores claves en la calificación

  • Industria competitiva y fragmentada. Fitch argumenta que los competidores de Tecnoglass tienen diversos grados de especialización y diversificación geográfica o de mercado final, incluyendo un número limitado de jugadores con marcas establecidas y recursos financieros. Tecnoglass está bien posicionada en Estados Unidos y Colombia, sus dos mercados principales.
  • Estructura de bajo costo. Fitch considera que la integración vertical de la Compañía, junto con sus costos competitivos de mano de obra y transporte, le dan una amplia ventaja y unos márgenes superiores a los de los de la industria.
  • Concentración de producción. Fitch Ratings cree que cualquier interrupción, en la mega planta en Barranquilla, podría afectar la capacidad de la Compañía para fabricar o distribuir sus productos, lo que podría ocasionar que incurra en costos más altos o tiempos de entrega más largos, menores ingresos y flujo de caja reducido.
  • Órdenes sólidas de Backlog. Fitch estima que el EBITDA de Tecnoglass se incrementará en aproximadamente un 15% en el 2018 frente a los resultados esperados para el 2017, a raíz de la cantidad de contratos ya cerrados y de las órdenes en curso.
  • Conclusión de su fase de crecimiento en inversión. La finalización del ciclo de Capex de crecimiento en el 2016, debe apoyar un crecimiento en las ventas y flujo de caja operativa durante el corto y mediano plazo. Según la Compañía, se han invertido más de $200 millones en los últimos 5 años en maquinaria, terrenos y equipos.
  • Apalancamiento con tendencia decreciente. Fitch espera que la Compañía deba continuar reduciendo sus métricas de apalancamiento financiero, en la medida que crece su EBITDA. Se espera que la Compañía pueda seguir apalancando adquisiciones modestas en el futuro.

Santiago Giraldo, Director Financiero- CFO de la Compañía, indicó “estamos complacidos con la ratificación de nuestra calificación, esto refleja la visión de mediano plazo de Fitch pese a un año retador en Colombia pero en el cual, gracias a tener una estrategia de diversificación de mercados en el cual Estados Unidos ya pesa más del 80% sobre el total de ventas, esperamos crecer aproximadamente un 6% frente al 2016. Adicionalmente, es importante ver el crédito que se le da a nuestro modelo de negocio y estructura de costos, donde continuamos obteniendo los márgenes más altos de la industria y lo cual nos da flexibilidad para seguir creciendo en nuevos mercados”.

Tecnoglass Inc. es la Compañía líder en la fabricación ventanas arquitectónicas, vidrios, y productos de aluminio para la industria mundial de la construcción residencial y comercial. Tecnoglass es la Compañía #1 en la transformación del vidrio arquitectónico de Latinoamérica y es el segundo fabricante atendiendo el mercado de Estados Unidos. Con sede en Barranquilla, Colombia, Tecnoglass opera un moderno complejo industrial de más de 250 mil metros cuadrados, integrado verticalmente, que proporciona fácil acceso a las Américas, el Caribe y el Pacífico. Tecnoglass vende sus productos a más de 900 clientes en el Norte, Centro y Sur de América, el Caribe y el Pacifico, exporta aproximadamente el 70% de su producción a Estados Unidos. Tecnoglass manufactura productos de primera categoría, los cuales se encuentran en algunas de las propiedades más distintivas del mundo, entre ellos, aeropuerto El Dorado (Bogotá), Centro Medico Imbanaco (Cali), Trump Plaza (Panamá), Trump Tower (Miami), y The Woodlands (Houston).

Fuente: Zonacero

Tecnoglass COO Christian Daes Is Striving for Greater Vertical Integration and Further Expansion into the United States

Barranquilla-based window-maker Tecnoglass (NASDAQ:TGLS, BVC: TGLSC) is an undeniable success story in Colombia. It is a manufacturer that exports the bulk of its products to the United States in a country not known for export-oriented manufacturing.

Christian Daes, the company’s chief operating office, told Finance Colombia that there really is no secret: Tecnoglass simply manufactures windows for the U.S. market and then delivers them with higher quality and at a lower price than the competition.

He recognizes that not enough Colombian companies have been able to replicate this model to take advantage of the free-trade agreement with the United States.

But the company wastes no time lamenting that fact. Instead it has continued making acquisitions and setting up operations in the United States since becoming a publicly traded company on NASDAQ in addition to its listing on the Colombian stock exchange, Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (BVC).

“I don’t show results quarter after quarter to make anybody happy. I plan for the long run.” – Christian Daes, COO of Tecnoglass (Photo credit: Liliana Padierna)

Daes recently sat down for an extended interview with Loren Moss, executive editor of Finance Colombia, to discuss the early history of the Tecnoglass, its recent acquisition of Giovanni Monti and Partners Consulting and Glazing Contractors (GM&P), ongoing efforts for greater vertical integration, further expansion into the United States, and why Barranquilla is set to rise again as a business hub.

Christian Daes: We began in 1984 making solar water heaters, but then soon after we started the company, natural gas came in pipes in Barranquilla, and obviously the natural gas people began to distribute the natural gas heaters for water at a very low price and financed from 12 to 24 months to incentivize people to use natural gas.

Christian Daes: We began in 1984 making solar water heaters, but then soon after we started the company, natural gas came in pipes in Barranquilla, and obviously the natural gas people began to distribute the natural gas heaters for water at a very low price and financed from 12 to 24 months to incentivize people to use natural gas.

Obviously we had our first crisis there. We were using glass and aluminum to make the solar water heaters, and so we decided that maybe making aluminum windows would be a good deal. We began making aluminum windows. We began to grow the company.

By 1990, we were doing a couple of million dollars in sales. By 1994, we were already doing $15 million USD, and we were already a national company selling in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, La Guajira, and Santa Marta. So, we were buying a lot of glass. We decided to put our own template facility.

“Our sales were up to $50 million USD by 2006, and we decided that it was time to establish our own aluminum company to continue with our vertical integration.” – Christian Daes

At the beginning, the name was “Energia Solar,” so Tecnoglass started as a company to supply the glass to Energia Solar. When we finished the plant that was ready to start in 1995, Colombia was in the middle of a construction crisis. Crises have always changed our path — or our future — which is good because every time we have had a crisis, we have become a much better company.

Since we didn’t have anybody to sell the glass to — because Colombia was in a construction crisis — we went to the U.S. to try to open a market, and we found the perfect partner in the U.S. called RC Aluminum and Mr. Raul Casales. We started making glass for him. We did the first job, and then he saw the quality of our products and he began to expand — to buy more from us. Then we asked him why he didn’t send me the aluminum and I would cut the aluminum, assemble his windows and put my glass in and ship them to the U.S., which he agreed to and we started with the job in 1997.

We began to develop the business over the years. In 2000, the hurricane law they passed in Miami-Dade County obligated everybody to use hurricane-proof glass. We were ready to invest in the new laminating facility. We expanded five times in the next five years. Our sales were up to $50 million USD by 2006, and we decided that it was time to establish our own aluminum company to continue with our vertical integration.

When we had the aluminum factory ready in 2007, the U.S. was in the middle of a crisis, and we used to sell 90% of our production to the U.S. and 10% to Colombia. So we had to come up with new products for Colombia and for Panama, and we were able to grow from $50 million USD in sales to $120 million USD by the time the crisis was over in the U.S.

So that means that the crisis helped us to really grow and expand our sales into other markets where we were not selling before. Then, in 2013, we decided to go into the NASDAQ market, and the reason why we did so was because we felt that was the only way to really expand in the U.S.

We were playing local in Miami, but it wasn’t so easy to sell in New York or in Ohio or in Chicago or in Los Angeles because people said, “Who are you? How do I know you are going to deliver?”

So, when we entered the NASDAQ market, the stock market, we had that in mind — and it paid off because we were doing $120 million USD and today we are going to do approximately $350 million USD in sales, which means that it helped the purpose.

“We want Barranquilla to be known in the future as the capital of windows in the world. Whenever anybody thinks about a window or a piece of glass, they should have Barranquilla in mind.” – Christian Daes

Loren Moss: That’s interesting. I remember when you were in Medellín recently, I was at a talk that you gave and you talked about how difficult it was to break into the U.S. market.

There were people that you talked to that really didn’t want to trust you and had never thought about Colombia as an exporter of glass, and when you shipped them glass and they measured the quality, that they would probably check it even more stringently than if they had bought it domestically. How hard has it been to overcome at least any initial perceptions with people not thinking of Colombia as a traditional export manufacturing source?

Christian Daes: It’s very difficult. Getting a product from Colombia that is not a traditional product — like windows and glass — to a U.S. market was the most difficult thing that we have ever done.

There is an ASTM standard that you have to follow for quality in glass, and when we got to the U.S., the standard was not being used to check glass. But the standard says that you should the check 3 meters, or 9 feet, away from the glass, and if you don’t see the defect, the defect is not there, and our glass was being looked at from 3 inches with a magnifying glass to see if they could find anything.

So that taught us to be even better, to make an even better product and become a stronger company quality-wise, and that’s why we have the best quality in the industry. That’s why our slogan is “The Power of Quality.” That taught us a lesson to be the best.

Loren Moss: We’ve followed Tecnoglass for some time, and your glass is used in some very marquee properties: airports, high-rise hotels, universities — not just in the U.S. and here in Colombia, but even in Panama and other countries. How do you see the potential for growth? Obviously, the U.S. is a wide-open market for you, but then in other countries, whether those are nearshore countries here in the Americas or the Caribbean or even across the ocean. Is there a potential there or is there still so much of a market opportunity in the U.S. and Colombia to be exploited?

Christian Daes: Definitely the U.S. is such a big country and a powerful buyer that we still have a lot of growth to do in the U.S. The market for windows in the U.S. is over $30 billion USD, and we are hardly making 200 and some million dollars in sales. So that means there is still a long way for us to go.

But we are also looking to many other markets, even Colombia continues to be a very strong market for us. Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile. And we want Barranquilla to be known in the future as the capital of windows in the world. Whenever anybody thinks about a window or a piece of glass, they should have Barranquilla in mind, and that’s what we’re trying to build here. Now that you are here, you can see the magnitude of the facility that we have in Colombia. This is 90 acres of land. This is 3 million square feet of factory.

Loren Moss: Usually when people outside of Colombia hear “Colombia” they think of Bogotá and they think of Medellín and they might think of Cartagena for tourism. Barranquilla is a large port city. Even though there’s a lot of domestic manufacturing here, it’s interesting that you guys have staked your claim here in Barranquilla. Besides being a major port city, what are the advantages of this particular city on Colombia’s Atlantic coast?

Christian Daes: The best thing about Barranquilla is not only that it’s positioned in a strategic place. Because obviously, being less than three days away by boat from Miami — or five days from Houston or 10 days from L.A. or seven days from New York — that’s a very powerful place to be when you want to export, especially to the U.S. market.

“The U.S. is such a big country and a powerful buyer that we still have a lot of growth to do in the U.S. The market for windows in the U.S. is over $30 billion USD.” – Christian Daes

But in the end, it’s the people in Barranquilla. People in Barranquilla are different. They are relaxed, happy, hardworking, and they learn anything quickly. It helps when getting into this type of business that you don’t learn at university.

For finance, you can go to university and learn how to work the finance side or accounting of administrative issues or the calculations of a civil engineer. But to make windows, there is not a university. This is something that you teach from one person that knows to the next one.

And Barranquilla has proven to be the perfect place to be because the environment where we work is a happy environment. One of the things that surprises most of the visitors when they come over from the U.S. is that people are so young, people are so happy at work, and people can deliver what they promise that they can do.

Loren Moss: I’ve only been here in the city a few times, but it seems to have a very good infrastructure, very good roads as far as capacity compared to even other cities in Colombia. Why is it that Barranquilla’s message has not gotten out? Why is it that Barranquilla doesn’t have maybe the fame that some of the other large cities in Colombia have?

Christian Daes: Well, because we were for many years behind in many things. But lately we have had four mayors in a row that have been very good to Barranquilla and that have really turned Barranquilla around.

If you talk to anybody in Colombia, they will tell you that Barranquilla, within the next 10 years, will be within the first two, the first three in Colombia. Why? It’s because we are getting back on track. Barranquilla’s nickname is “The Golden Doorway of Colombia.” Why was Barranquilla called the Golden Door of Colombia? Because everything came through Barranquilla.

When the Wright brothers began to fly in North Carolina in 1912, the first plane landed in Barranquilla. The first airmail was in Barranquilla. Soccer came in through Barranquilla, radio stations came in through Barranquilla. The traffic-light system? Through Barranquilla. The first Olympic stadium? In Barranquilla. The first public water-treatment plant was in Barranquilla. The development of Colombia came in through Barranquilla.

But then, we had a problem. We had a guy who was very industrious, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, and he had the beer company. He had 20 companies in Barranquilla. But then he decided to move to Bogotá. Not the companies, but he began moving his people to Bogotá, and then he sold the companies and he moved to New York. And people in Barranquilla got used to being employees and not being entrepreneurs. And then we lost like 20 or 30 years because of that.

Tecnoglass is an example of what Barranquilla is capable of doing. We would love for Barranquilla to be more industrious, to have more industry. And I’m saying “we” because I feel like I am the mayor of Barranquilla. I want the city to do better, and I always talk to the mayor and to the governor of the Atlantico department. I want them to approach companies and tell them that Barranquilla is the place to be.

Loren Moss: Are there other major companies that are headquartered here in the Barranquilla region that might be export-oriented?

Christian Daes: Well, the headquarters of the main four companies in Colombia had their headquarters originally in Barranquilla. And in Colombia, there is a law that where the company was born is where they have to do their annual meeting for stockholders.

So, for example, Avianca’s meeting is in Barranquilla because Avianca started in Barranquilla. Argos, which is a company that people recognize as being a Medellín company, was started in Barranquilla, and the meeting is in Barranquilla.

“Getting a product from Colombia that is not a traditional product — like windows and glass — to a U.S. market was the most difficult thing that we have ever done.” – Christian Daes

And you have many other companies like that are no longer in Barranquilla, but they have to come and have their meetings in Barranquilla because this was their starting point. I mean, it’s where the Magdalena River — which is as big as the Mississippi River — is.

We have the second largest river on the continent. And when it meets the ocean — the Caribbean — Barranquilla is right there. The first deepwater port in Colombia was Barranquilla.

When my grandfather came from Palestine, he landed in Barranquilla. They didn’t know where they were going to land. They took a boat to America, and the boat would stop in Chile or in Peru or in Colombia or anywhere. It landed in Barranquilla, and many other things took place in Barranquilla. The problem is we had such success that for some time everybody studied to be an employee of Julio Mario Santo Domingo.

I wish one day we could even be similar to Julio Mario. I’m not criticizing Julio Mario. On the contrary, I’m saying that we were no longer on the entrepreneurial side because people held him as “the god” and all the companies were his. Everybody was going to school to work for him. So when he left Colombia, we were missing our father here.

Loren Moss: The boss left.

Christian Daes: There was nobody making any companies or doing any developments or anything in Barranquilla, and the public side was not helping. Finally, we got the story together, we are right back on track. We have had this mayor now, Alejandro Char — twice, once in 2008 and now for the second term. And he has been so good for the city that we are right back on track. I mean, we will be back.

Loren Moss: So Tecnoglass has come a long way since manufacturing solar water heaters. You have made some acquisitions in the United States. Can you tell us about your purchases? I believe you have a presence in Miami now.

Christian Daes: We purchased GM&P [Giovanni Monti and Partners Consulting and Glazing Contractors] because we want to install and distribute our products directly — go all the way from one side to the next, doing everything ourselves.

The warehouse that we purchased from Glasswall three or four years ago was to have a place that we could have our main customers. And GM&P, to have them in one place so they could be able to unload containers if they had to, or fabricate, like GMP was fabricating in Miami. And we bought these two companies to integrate them and to make sure that we have a more efficient operation and that we can go from zero to 100 with customers.

“Crises have always changed our path — or our future — which is good because every time we have had a crisis, we have become a much better company.” – Christian Daes

Loren Moss: Speaking of that vertical integration — of being able to offer everything from manufacturing to installation — where are you there? I know that, beyond glass, you also have an aluminum fabrication factory manufacturing aluminum. I would imagine that is for the frames for the glass, but could you describe that better? And then you have plans for even greater vertical integration? What about going to manufacturing from even the silica itself up to the glass?

Christian Daes: That’s our dream. One day we will be melting the sand and making glass. We will get there. It’s not easy. When we began, we were a garage company in a small country. We have come a long way.

There is still a lot more to do, and we are on the right track to do it. But we like to be taking steps that sound very aggressive, but they are very conservative. When we started, for example, our aluminum plant, for two years we were not making any profit, but it paid off afterwards.

When we make acquisitions at Tecnoglass, we never plan for the short term but for the long run. We are always thinking of five, 10 years from today. You have to remember that we are the only glass company of this size that is managed by the owners. So what makes us different than being a CEO that hires for a company is that my term here is a life term.

I don’t show results quarter after quarter to make anybody happy. I plan for the long run. And maybe the results today are not as good, but I’m planning the future. I am building the future. So this is basically the way that we are planning in Tecnoglass: that one day we will close the loop and do our own glass.

Loren Moss: One of the things that seems to be important here is the corporate culture, the well-being of the employees. I know that you have a foundation and that you provide a lot of things, and I would imagine it would be more difficult to do that if you were, say, private equity owners who are looking at a two- or three-year time frame to cash out versus looking at the long range and the strategy of the company for the next 20 or 50 years — or in the next generation.

Christian Daes: First of all, to us there is nothing more important in life than our employees. We want to make sure that the wealth of the company is distributed among the employees, that they do well, that they grow with the company, that their lives become better and that they can give their families a better way of life.

At Tecnoglass, for example, we pay for university for 190 sons or wives or employees. Right now, it is at any university that they want to go to and where they can get accepted.

And we also have these programs to fix employees’ houses. We give them an amount of money to fix their houses, because most of the people here make $350 USD a month or $400 USD a month, and the never have the opportunity to have a better-looking place. And we go into the house and we rebuild it inside. Some people are so poor that they don’t even have a floor.

“In 2000, the hurricane law they passed in Miami-Dade County obligated everybody to use hurricane-proof glass. We were ready to invest in the new laminating facility. We expanded five times in the next five years.” – Christian Daes

So, we make sure that we put the tiles, that we put the bath enclosure, that we do the kitchen, because that’s what we want to do for our employees.

And we have many other programs. We help them with their health, medicine, transportation, school. Anything that we can do for our employees, we will.

Loren Moss: Impressive. Tecnoglass as an exporter — and an exporter to the United States — surely has experience with the free-trade agreement that Colombia and the United States have had now for some time. Colombia as a whole has not exported as much to the United States as many people hoped it would when the free-trade agreement came into effect. What do you think the reasons for that are? What are the things that hold Colombia back from fully taking advantage of accessing the U.S. market?

Christian Daes: This is bad to say, but it’s the truth: The free-trade agreement benefits the U.S. Because now they can sell more in Colombia than before — and they are selling more to Colombia than before. And Colombia has not taken advantage basically because what we want to export is bocadillos [Colombian sweets], cheese, coffee, oil, coal — things that we were already doing.

I don’t understand how our business people in Colombia don’t see that, if China exports to the U.S. — and they have a have deficit with China for $369 billion USD — and China has similar wages in China that we have in Colombia, why can’t we set up companies in Colombia to build what China exports to the U.S.?

We are closer, we speak basically the same language, we’re in the same time zone and everything is so much easier from Colombia that it makes no sense that we are not taking better advantage of the free-trade agreement.

Why is Tecnoglass so successful in exporting to the U.S.? Before the free-trade agreement, we were doing $50 million USD in sales to the U.S., and we are now over $200 million USD in sales to the U.S. But why is that? Because we were able to design products for the U.S. market. We are not exporting the windows that the Colombian market buys. We are exporting the windows that the U.S. market wants to buy, and we have created, designed and built the windows that they want to buy. Our prices are better, our quality is better, and that’s why we have been so successful over there.

Loren Moss: If a U.S. foreign direct investor is looking to set up operations in the “nearshore” — in the Americas, in the Caribbean — to service the U.S., whether that be manufacturing, whether that be logistics, whether that be a service exportation, why should they consider Colombia and why should they consider Barranquilla specifically?

Christian Daes: Because of our location, because we are so close, because English is not difficult to find in Barranquilla, because of the way Colombian people behave at work, because, definitely, we live two hours away from Miami. Miami is closer to Barranquilla than it is to New York. Miami is closer to Barranquilla than to Chicago.

So then it makes a lot of sense, in a country like Colombia, where you find cheap labor, quality labor, good manners, a democratic country — we are the oldest democracy in the Americas — it makes a lot of sense to establish yourself in Barranquilla.

Exclusive Interview: Santiago Giraldo Named CFO of Tecnoglass, Inc. (NASDAQ:TGLS)

Last week, Santiago Giraldo was named chief financial officer of Tecnoglass. He had previously served in a deputy financial role within the company and has seen major changes at the Barranquilla-based window and glass maker over the past few years.

The firm has gone from a small, family-run provider of home-building supplies to one that is now publicly listed in Colombia, on the Bolsa de Valores, and on the NASDAQ in the United States, where it generates about 70% of its sales.

Tecnoglass’ path has been one that more and more Colombian companies hope to emulate. With an improving security situation and a domestic private equity world that is beginning to mature, the investment community both in the country and abroad is offering opportunities for firms to grow like never before.

As he settles into his new role, Giraldo sat down with Loren Moss, executive editor of Finance Colombia, to discuss the journey that Tecnoglass has taken over the past half decade and how the company balances a family-built culture focused on long-term growth with its responsibility to continually boost quarterly earnings for investor.

Loren Moss: Tecnoglass has been listed on NASDAQ since 2013 and the BVC — Bolsa de Valores de Colombia — since the beginning of last year. What precipitated Tecnoglass deciding to list?

Santiago Giraldo: Basically, it was an opportunity to make the company known in the markets in which we participate. Our main market is the U.S., with about 70% of our sales. So it was a way to further penetrate some markets within the U.S. where Tecnoglass was not known. Originally, Florida was the vast majority of our sales, but by being public we were able to penetrate other markets within the U.S.

Having incremental bonding capacity also helped us participate in larger projects. So it was an initiative not only necessarily to raise cash, but a strategic initiative to penetrate the U.S. market.

On the Colombian listing, because we didn’t do an IPO, we just did a reverse ADR. It was basically an opportunity to meet local investors with an opportunity to participate in the company as well. Given that we are a Colombian company, we also wanted to open the opportunity to local qualified investors and retail investors to participate in the company.

Loren Moss: That’s interesting, because you have some Colombian companies that are listed in the U.S. with ADRs, but you guys have done the reverse. That’s really innovative. So, tell me, now that you are in the routine of quarterly reporting, how has that discipline changed? This company is still run by its founders, and they have a long-term vision. How does that impact the culture of the company internally?

Santiago Giraldo: Quite a bit. I think this has been a very nice success story of a family-based company that has grown into a large corporate that is listed on exchanges and has had publicly issued debt into the U.S. and European markets. So it’s kind of a mix in the sense that the family members are still very much involved.

Our CEO and COO are running the company, but you have to have a mix in the sense that being public obviously implies having a lot of regulations, filing necessities, and other activities that normal family-based companies don’t have. I think that the vision continues to be long term. We’re very much running the company with the vision of being a $500 million USD company within the next five years or so.

But on a quarterly basis you’ve also got to have your financial planning in order. You’ve got to have all the SEC requirements that non-public companies don’t have. You’re going to have to have some of your staff being proficient in U.S. norms while having the skills that a private family-owned company would have to have as well. So it’s a mix.

In the end, the strategy continues to be long term, but you measure the long-term progress on a quarterly basis, and that’s a change. You have to have very good vision on the short-term — what the results are going to be not only for the next year or two years but for the next quarter. And you also must keep in mind that you’re running the company for the long term and doing what is best for the company for its sustainability over the long haul, as opposed to just running it quarter-by-quarter.

Loren Moss: Now, Tecnoglass is in the league with other large and well-known Colombian companies that are listed. We have Ecopetrol, the state-controlled petroleum company, Avianca, Bancolombia, and others. How did the market receive you when you first listed? When you first went to NASDAQ, what was the reception? Were the analysts, or was the investor community, somewhat familiar with you already? Was there a learning curve to orient them? What have the challenges been in the capital markets and in the institutional debt markets?

Santiago Giraldo: Yes, so this is kind of a different story in the sense that it wasn’t public through a straight-up IPO, but it was done through what is called a “SPAC,” which is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company vehicle. Basically, there was already a vehicle that was publicly listed that basically took over the private company — that took over Tecnoglass. And in that transaction, Tecnoglass became public.

But the process of getting to know the company and raising funds is pretty similar in the sense that you conduct a pretty extensive “roadshow” to market the company and educate investors as to what the company is. You have to communicate what its markets are, why it’s a different story, why it’s different than the competition, and where the advantages are.

And that’s an ongoing process, really. I mean, the first amount that was raised was obviously done in 2013 through a very extensive process. But the truth of the matter is that, ever since last year, we’ve been going to investors — doing roadshows, talking to a lot of people, seeing new investors coming on board, and hopefully having your stock price reflect a proper valuation.

It’s really an educational process that’s ongoing. It’s not necessarily one that took place four years ago and then it stopped.

And we are scheduled to participate in two or three different conferences in the third quarter this year and then a couple of others in the fourth quarter. As part of the investor relations initiative, you have to be continuously out there and getting people to know the story and trying to penetrate different investors that you haven’t talked to.

Loren Moss: I imagine, with the success that Tecnoglass has had, it has kind of paved the way and it will probably be easier in the future for other Colombian manufacturing companies when they decide to go that route.

Santiago Giraldo: Yeah, I think you have to be ready. To be public is not a process that is easy to absorb and it’s not something that you’re going to learn overnight, so it’s certainly something that you want to make sure that the company has enough skill, it has enough resources, and it’s ready to make the change.

I think we don’t probably know enough in Colombia about accessing the capital markets. To tell you the truth, I think a lot of the companies — other than the typical top 10, top 15 companies — are just basically relying on bank financing. There are really not a whole lot of companies that issue bonds or that go out and issue equity. But those are very suitable options to grow a company, and I just don’t think we have that culture, and unfortunately our capital markets in Colombia are not as deep as you would like.

I think it’s a learning process and we’re going that way with the MILA (Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano) integration, being associated with Mexico, Peru, and Chile as having one stock exchange. But I think we have a ways to go. I think we need to educate corporates more and make them more aware of what it could mean for their companies, and have people see these as a viable option.

Loren Moss: It seems that the capital markets are very immature in Colombia. Private equity didn’t really exist here — the laws weren’t really set up to facilitate a private equity industry — until 13 or 14 years ago. We’ve talked with Isabella Muñoz, the director of ColCapital, the professional association for private equity in Colombia, and it seems that traditionally the economy, which had been agrarian, has been set up for family-owned dynasties.

Tecnoglass head Mr. José Daes has mentioned the Santo Domingo family, for example, and that’s how things have worked here and in a lot of other Latin American countries for a long time. Bringing in investment capital and market-based capital is a relatively new phenomenon, I think, in many places. Brazil and Mexico are a little bit more advanced — perhaps Chile — and Colombia seems to be now on board. But it seems to be still a relatively new thing here, and companies are not necessarily used to dealing with or navigating public capital markets.

Santiago Giraldo: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. They’re not used to it, and I think the new era of PE funds is definitely up and going. You see a lot more PE funds being interested in Colombian-based companies.

Obviously, with the investor confidence and what’s transpired in the country over the last decade or so — as far as people having confidence that the country is secure — you have everything that is required to be successful here from a political standpoint. And also from a security standpoint and from basically everything that an investor will look for.

So I think we’re up and going. There are a lot of PE funds. There’s a lot of activity. There has been M&A from PE funds coming from offshore wanting to invest in Colombia. And I think that’s definitely another viable option. I think PE funds look to have the same interest as the companies do. They want to grow the company, they want to make it more profitable, they want to establish the best practices in order for them to eventually go out of that company when it’s much more robust, when it’s a much larger company.

We’re already seeing it. I don’t know the numbers exactly, but the amount of PE funds that were present in Colombia and active 10 years ago versus what it is today has to be tremendously different.

Loren Moss: Oh, it’s much different. I mean, the industry didn’t exist 15 years ago in Colombia. The way it was explained to me, actually I think Chilean investors came in, lobbied, took some leadership, and got some of the laws changed, so that now there’s quite a driving private equity and private capital community. I was at their industry event a few months back in Bogotá and it had interest from the world over. There were investors from Israel, South Africa, the U.S. — very large players from the U.S. were there — and from the rest of Latin America. It was very interesting to see.

It seems that Colombia has left behind that old family dynasty kind of thing, where “you’re going to be the president of the company because you’re my nephew” versus “let’s go out and get professional management and have some professional capital.” That, I think, has been one of the things that has held the Colombian economy back in the past. Now the country seems to be making good time in catching up and modernizing those markets and those structures.

Santiago Giraldo: Yeah, I think the frontiers have been opened. I think the mentality of businesspeople has changed. Like you said, I think companies are more professional, more structured. They’re sophisticated. You’re looking at a lot of companies becoming “multilatinas” as opposed to being just local-based economy companies.

So, I think it’s an evolution — and a positive one. I think there are a lot of companies growing beyond the Andean region, which is very positive. There are relationships being established with Europe, with Asia. The government, actually, is very active every year in going out and promoting Colombia so investors can take a look at what the country has to offer. I think that this year’s round was concluded about a month ago, and the president, the Ministry of Finance, and all of his team kind of lead the way. And they bring along top-class executives and CEOs from the main Colombian companies.

There’s much more of a showcase for people to know the country, to know the economy, to know each company — and I think that’s paving the way.

Fuente: Finance Colombia

Tecnoglass Names Santiago Giraldo as New CFO

Barranquilla-based window and glassmaker Tecnoglass, Inc. has named Santiago Giraldo as its chief financial officer, the company announced today.

He will replace Joaquin Fernandez, who is remaining with Tecnoglass in the position of director of administration and finance for the firm’s operating subsidiaries. “His decision to step down as chief financial officer is not related to any issues regarding financial disclosures, accounting matters, or business issues,” said the company in a statement.

Effective immediately, Giraldo, who had previously served as deputy chief financial officer, will now be tasked with overseeing Tecnoglass’ corporate finance, accounting, tax management, SEC reporting, and business development initiatives, said the company.

Before joining Tecnoglass, Giraldo served as CFO at Ocensa, a subsidiary of Ecopetrol S.A. He also has experience working as vice president at Citibank Colombia and in the corporate bank units of both JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo in the United States.

“Since joining Tecnoglass, Santiago has been instrumental in building a stronger financial department through his intricate understanding of our business and extensive financial experience,” said José Manuel Daes, chief executive officer of Tecnoglass. “He has designed and implemented stronger internal controls, reporting protocols, and accounting practices.”

Fuente: Finance Colombia

The 196 largest

For the second consecutive year, +Negocios (+ n) has followed the pulse of the 196 largest companies in the Caribbean region that were part of the ranking of the Superintendencia de Sociedades. Last May that Authority published a list of the 2,000 companies that moved the most capital in their operating revenues, including group from the Atlantic Coast that moved more than $ 55 billion over the past year and joined the list this year.

There is much to learn from this outlook: falling revenues of all 196 companies (-0.01%), marked mainly by the mining sector; reorganization in the sector, as the industry showed a strong recovery in profits: its share in the total profits increased from 9,81% in 2013 to 34.15% in 2014; and the challenge of the Caribbean region to be more competitive with other regions of the country.

Notable results are the top 10 companies in the region: Avianca, Olimpica, Reficar, Electricaribe, Prodeco, Cementos Argos, Gecelca, Opese, CBI Colombiana and Mexichem Resinas Colombia.

These are some of the issues analyzed in the July edition of the magazine to present an assessment of the business dynamics in the Coast. But the new edition of +n will also discuss BoConcept’s franchise model to give you some clues so you don’t ‘fail’ when doing a job interview, and the recommendations of Jorge Reynolds, creator of the pacemaker to be a leader.

See the list: Las 196 más grandes

Tecnoglass will implement liquidity programs for its shares

Bogota
Yesterday, Tecnoglass Holdings held its first meeting with the media after being listed in the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC) on january 6. Christian Daes, company COO, told LR, that the listing process was performed twice because people here in Colombia wanted to buy our shares, but had to open an account in the United States to be able to. He also stated that this year will be good for the company, both in Colombia and outside the country and with the foray into the stock market they want to have a volume of 100,000 shares.
Tecnoglass, headquartered in Barranquilla, entered Nasdaq in 2013 to raise capital. According to the company, the last two years increased the company’s value by around 35% in dollars, which means that in Colombian pesos it has reached a valuation of 130%.

What are your expectations with your listing in the Colombian Stock Exchange ?
Expectations are very positive. We hope to consolidate our investors in Colombia and the United States. The first year we moved 4,000 shares in Nasdaq; in the second year, 8,000 shares and this year we expect to double the volume to around 31,000 shares. The goal is to reach a volume of 100 thousand shares.

Why go to the local market at a time when the markets are so low?
In the United States the competition has lost share value, but not us. We hope the same thing happens in Colombia because we want to be known across the whole country and that we have many quality products.

What is your plan to improve liquidity of the shares?
Within our priorities we plan visit major cities in Colombia and for our customers in the country to become shareholders. In addition, we are working on forming a liquidity program to increase the volume of share, and we are working with with Credicorp Capital and Casa de Bolsato this end. The final plan will be reported at a later date.

What investment plans do you have for the company?
This year we will continue working on expanding the company’s infrastructure and new business lines. We hope to continue to grow this year in sales and we hope to sell nearly (COP) $ 1.1 billion.

How will you finance these processes?
We were recently granted a credit of around US $ 120 million, which will be used to refinance a debt of about US $ 83 million to be paid in seven years, an additional US $ 30 million will be used to finance expansion in our plant facilities. With this capital we will work in 2016.

How has the devaluation of the colombian peso in the last year affected you?
The strengthening of the dollar has impacted us favorably. We suffered for many years due to reevaluation and the industry was not profitable. We can now have more export earnings. It helps that the exchange rate will not be based on the export of oil or coal, it is the time for the country’s exporters.

Have sales in Colombia have been affected by the devaluation?
Clearly they have been affected because the raw material for our products is imported. Additionally, going from peso to dollar sales would seem to affect sales. However, in Colombia, our customers give us advances on the work, allowing us to work without having to stop production.

How do you see the slowdown?
We can’t be pessimistic because it is a process that is affecting all countries and we are hopeful because we are having more sales in pesos. Also, this year in construction we’ve had a lot of serious interest in our products.

Projections of increased sales by 20% in 2016
According to the company with the investments this year like the US $40 million, 20,000 square meter soft coat glass plant, Tecnoglass Inc. plans to increase its sales by 20% in 2016. This plant will employ more than 700 people and generate an estimated increase in sales of US $ 200 million over the next five years. By the close of 2015, the company expects sales of more than US $ 240 million and EBITDA of US $ 65 million.

The opinions:
Diego Franco
Trader
“Having Tecnoglass on the BVC is positive because it sends a message to other companies that it is an adequate market to find resources”

José Manuel Daes
CEO of Tecnoglass
“We have decided to make this double listing with the BVC because we want to diversify our shareholder base and expand our exposure”

Source: La República

Tecnoglass, the new ‘jewel’ of the national industry

Preliminary sales for 2015 are 820,000 million pesos. For this year, the growth forecast is 20% and estimated to continue increasing its value with its foray into the local stock market.

The parent company Tecnoglass Inc., specialized in manufacturing of high quality window frames for the residential and commercial construction industry, expects to maintain a growth rate in sales close to 40% in 2016.

The solid financial figures last year and its debut in the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC) in early January are important achievements for the company that will be available to all Colombians who wish to invest in it.

This business group, consisting of several subsidiaries like Tecnoglass SA, focused on the transformation of glass and aluminum, and Energía Solar, focused on the assembly of architectural systems, will continue to pursue the glass and window frames market to convert Barranquilla into a world-class axis of industrial development.
Currently, the business conglomerate, which has about 5,000 workers operating in a 260,000 square meter plant located in the capital of the Atlántico department maintains business relationships with nearly 800 customers spread over 27 countries, among which are customers the United States, Colombia, Panama and Bolivia.

In a market that moves about 30,000 million dollars in the United States, Tecnoglass occupies an important position and at the close of 2015 would record sales of more than US $ 240 million.

To continue to achieve success, the Colombian company expects to continue taking advantage of its vertical integration model among its subsidiaries: Tecnoglass is responsible for transforming the glass and then sells it to Energía Solar.

Furthermore, the use of cutting edge technology has enabled the manufacture of new products like glass that retains no energy.

The figures do not lie and show that in the first nine months of 2015, adjusted net income increased 20,6% compared to the same period of 2014 which was 13.8%. By the close of 2015, the EBITDA would be close to $ 65 million.

In terms of investment, the company invested this year in a new 20,000 square meter, $40 million dollar ‘soft coat’ glass plant. This could boost sales by up to 20% (US $ 200 million over the next five years) and employ over 700 people.

INCURSION INTO THE COLOMBIAN STOCK EXCHANGE

The operations of this Colombian industry ‘jewel’ has made investors believe in the company and, according to Jose Manuel Daes, President and CEO of Tecnoglass Inc., the recovery in the last two years reached levels of 35%,in dollars, and 130%, in Colombian pesos.

From the January 6, the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC) approved the double listing of the common shares of the glass producer under the ticker TGLSC.

Note that the titles of Tecnoglass Inc., listed on the Nasdaq stock market, are unique in being listed in the second most liquid exchange in the global equity market.
“We decided to make this double listing with the Colombian Stock Exchange because we want to diversify our shareholder base and expand our exposure and access to the investment community of our country. We are a Colombian company for the world “, said Daes.

With the entry of the new emission, local and foreign investors may acquire shares in both the BVC and Nasdaq through stockbrokers.

The initial price for the share will be the closing price on Nasdaq the preceding day and converted by the Representative Market Rate (TRM) that day.

Being listed on Nasdaq has allowed Tecnoglass Inc. to “be more competitive, constantly innovate and bring best practices with a rigorous corporate governance “, which aims to give investors confidence about the future of the company according to the president of the company.

“We will work hard to be the first choice for local investors, “concluded Daes.

Source: Portafolio.co

“Entering the Colombian stock exchange was harder than getting into the one in New York”: Tecnoglass

During a press conference on Tuesday in Bogota, Tecnoglass managers reported that due to the stronger dollar, which is improving the profits of their business in the US, its financial results are putting the company in one of his best levels in history. Partial results of the first 9 months of 2015 show an increase in gross profit of 53%.

Other characteristics that highlight Tecnoglass is that it is the only Colombian company listed in Nasdaq, the largest automated electronic stock exchange in the United States based in New York. In addition, after two and a half years in the US market, the company decided to enter the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC), whose stocks began trading on January 6.

The strange thing is that Tecnoglass dabbled in the stock market contrary to other large companies in the country, usually listed on the BVC first and then entering the New York Stock Exchange. So, the strategy used by the company is an alternative for Colombian companies who are thinking about entering the capital market.

El Espectador spoke with Christian Daes, Tecnoglass’ main partner, who narrates experience of this strategy. Among the advantages available to the employer is the increased credibility with American institutions.

Why did you venture first to the capital markets in the United States instead of Colombia?

The strategy was motivated by the company’s need for greater credibility in the American market. In the US if you sell something you’ll need a compliance insurance policy, and it was very difficult to get this requirement without being an American company. Because of this, we decided to enter the Nasdaq, where we are required to publicly present our balance sheet, which are audited by firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers. After our foray into this market the change in our credibility improved markedly, we even increased the amount of insurance that we can use.

Why enter Nasdaq, not the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)?

Nasdaq has an advantage as it is intended for technology and fast growing companies. In contrast, the NYSE is for more traditional businesses like oil companies. Nasdaq was the best market that we could apply to our company, and so far it has been a good decision. US stocks has appreciated by 36% in the last year.

Would you recommend that Colombian companies enter US stock exchanges rather than the one in Colombia?

There is no formula for success. In each case you should think about the best strategy for each company. In our case it was a necessity to first enter the United States, which turned out to be the best. And today we are reaping the benefits.

Should other Colombian exporters should follow Tecnoglass’ example?

Industries in Colombia should take advantage of the US market. There is an impressive appetite for local companies, so it is unfair that while in Chile there are 21 companies listed in Nasdaq in Colombia there is only one. This is a tool to internationalize the country.

How painful was the process of entering Nasdaq?

The process is painful because it is a lot of paperwork, meetings, travel, etc. But the changes are good because the company has been internationalized, allowing Tecnoglass exports continue to grow in the coming years. This is making us proud of our homeland.

Now that you are also listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange and have experienced of both processes, where was it more difficult, Nasdaq or the BVC?

As hard as it is to believe, the process of entering into the BVC was more time-consuming than the process we did to get into Nasdaq. However we understand that they are different regulations, which are steps that must be taken and respected. They are also experiences that allowed us to acquire discipline.

What are the advantages of Nasdaq?

Being in this market will allow us to leverage the next decrease in the US construction sector. When the decline arrives our level of Ebitda will allow us to increase participation, as it happened in 2008. The crisis allowed us to expand throughout the US market.

Recently they acquired a loan with Credicorp to the order of US $ 120 million, what was the motivation?

A our investors were worried that all our debt was short term. So we was decided to change all these loans to one long-term, seven year, credit, to enhance sustainability. Besides our debt is now in dollars because most of our revenues are in this currency, so that this strategy reduces the currency risk.

How did you manage to use the crisis of 2008, and what did you learn that will enable you to take advantage of possible declines in the United States and Colombia?

We know that the boom will end someday, the good thing is that we have learned that we must be very sober while expanding during declines. Our experience taught us that our debt should be backed in batches, and we have to diversify. The result was that when the construction sector went into recession in 2008 we had sales of US $ 60 million, and when the crisis ended we recorded US $ 180 for this same item. And what we’re thinking right now is to repeat that strategy when the next crisis comes along.

Source: El Espectador