Grupo SURA wants to focus on reducing its debt and estimates to grow its profits between 10% and 15% – AméricaEconomía

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Grupo SURA wants to focus on reducing its debt and estimates to grow its profits between 10% and 15% - AméricaEconomía

Colombia’s largest investment holding company, Grupo Sura, plans to allocate most of its projected cash for this year, around 250 billion Colombian pesos (US$60.8 million), to reduce debt in the face of higher costs due to interest rate hikes, a senior executive said Monday.

The conglomerate – made up of some 43 companies, including Bancolombia, Grupo Argos, Grupo Nutresa, the insurance company Suramericana and the pension fund manager Sura Asset Management, more than doubled its net income in the first quarter to 429,271 million pesos Colombians (US$ 104.4 million).

For all of 2022, the firm maintained its projection of a controlling net profit of around 1.7 trillion Colombian pesos (US$459 million), equivalent to an increase of between 10% and 15%, Ricardo said. Jaramillo, vice president of business development and finance at Grupo SURA.

“We have a focus on continuing with the organic growth of the businesses and how to also accelerate the deleveraging of Grupo SURA, so in this capital allocation, the use of those 250,000 million Colombian pesos (US$60.8 million) will surely be very much aimed at lowering the debt,” the executive said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

“We are aware that we are in an environment of rising interest rates that is going to have some impact on companies’ debt costs, and we must be careful not to increase debt at this time,” he explained.

Grupo SURA’s net financial debt closed the quarter at 4.5 trillion Colombian pesos (US$ 1,215 million), with a decrease of 4.4% compared to last December.

Jaramillo highlighted that its insurance subsidiary, Suramericana, will invest this year between 80 and 85 million dollars in the nine countries of the region in which it operates, focused on its operating model and technology.

Meanwhile, its Sura Asset Management unit will allocate approximately US$60 million to the development of new channels, products and funds for seed capital.

The difficulties associated with the war in Ukraine and the lockdowns in China, which have impacted international trade and logistics chains, would not affect the results for the rest of the year, said the manager.

“We are seeing that there are a few quarters aware of these possible volatilities, but there are a few quarters in which we expect these good results to continue,” he concluded.

Grupo SURA is present in 11 Latin American countries with investments in the banking, insurance, pension, savings, food, cement, energy and infrastructure sectors, as well as in a corporate venture for innovation and technology companies.

The tycoon Jaime Gilinski consolidated a 34.58% stake in the total of Grupo SURA through three takeover bids in which he disbursed some US$1,380 million, surpassing Grupo Argos, which owns 27.79% of the investment holding company .

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