Colombian domestic consumption and some industries are recovering to levels similar to 2007 when the economy recorded record growth, the president of Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana, one of the country’s largest private holdings, said on Wednesday.
Gruposura’s SIS.CN assets in banking, cement, insurance, electricity and the food industry showed better performance in the first quarter, David Bojanini said at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
“There has been a reactivation in consumption and in some businesses that are now similar to 2007,” Bojanini said. “The country really is back on track.”
Gruposura is the holding company for the largest conglomerate in Colombia, Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno, whose annual revenue is equal to about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Within the company’s portfolio are key assets, such as Bancolombia BIC.CN, Cementos Argos CCB.CN, Nacional de Chocolates NCH.CN, Inversiones Argos ARG.CN and Suramericana de Seguros, an insurance asset that is not listed on the stock exchange.
Colombia in 2007 registered economic growth of 7.5%, but a fall in demand and in prices of its commodity exports dragged down growth to 2.5% in 2008 and to 0.4% in 2009 during the global economic crisis.
The government expects economic growth of 2.5% for 2010.
Bojanini said recovery in food production and cement was slower than in other sectors, but prospects for growth were good with the recovery in the U.S. and Latin America markets.
“We saw a better reaction toward the end of March and April,” he said.
In cement, Gruposura is looking for demand from the expansion of the Panama Canal. Gruposura’s Argos has installed capacity of 13 million tonnes with 14 plants in the region.
Bojanini said the company had no plans at this time to list its insurance asset on the stock market. But he said they could issue stock for financing if the opportunity arose to purchase an important insurance operator.
(Reporting by Javier Mozzo; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by John Wallace)