Cementos Argos, a subsidiary of Grupo Argos, reported a 10.6% increase in revenue during the first half of 2019, a positive reflection of its BEST 2.0 efficiency plan, the company stated. The company earned a net profit of $22 million for the period, a 33.5% increase compared to the first half of 2018.
Cement shipments were close to 8 million metric tons (Mt), 1.2% higher than in the first half of 2018, and concrete dispatches were 5 million cu. meters, a decrease of 2.5% due to the impact of heavy rains in some regions of the U.S.
“In the first half of 2019 we continued to strengthen our operation and our presence in the United States with the execution of the BEST 2.0 efficiency plan, which added to the best price dynamics that we began to see in Colombia and allowed us to compensate the pressure we experienced in energy costs,” said Juan Esteban Calle, CEO of Argos. “The significant progress of our divestment plan in non-strategic assets allows us to continue focusing on improving the competitiveness of the company and innovating in products, services and solutions to support the growth of our customers.”
In the United States, Argos earned revenues of $781 million, 3.5% higher than in the first half of 2018. Its EBITDA was stable year-on-year at $108 million. Cement dispatches rose by 6.9% to exceed 3 Mt, but concrete dispatches slipped by 3.8%, mainly due to heavy rains in the south-central region. The profit in the U.S. was $11 million.
In Colombia, revenues during the first half of 2019 were $352 million, 3.3% higher than in the first half of 2018. EBITDA was $72 million, 4% lower year-on-year. Cement dispatches totaled 2.4 Mt, a 2.5% reduction. On the other hand, concrete sales remained stable at 1.4 million cu. meters.
In the Caribbean and Central America, revenues stood at $286 million, a 4.5% decrease year-on-year. The region’s EBITDA dropped 19.8% to $79 million for the first half of 2019. Cement dispatches were 2.5 Mt and concrete dispatches were 194,000 cu. meters, 1.5% and 3% lower, respectively, compared to the prior-year period.
“Our priority is to gain financial flexibility and reduce, by June 2020, the net debt to EBITDA ratio to a level of 3.2 times,” said Calle. “The shareholders can count on our total commitment to continue working to improve the operational performance of the businesses, consolidate the execution of BEST in the U.S., accelerate the divestment strategy, and optimize the working capital cycle and the capex.”