Condor seeks investment after guerillas retreat

2 February 2012

The ‘freeing’ of territories due to the retreat of guerrillas has given the contractor Construcciones El Condor of Medelin the confidence to seek investment to allow it to bid for infrastructure work in the region. Considering the terrain of much of Colombia, transport projects will be expected to include substantial tunnelling, in addition to any hydropower work, which features strongly in Colombia.

According to Bloomberg, Condor wants to raise up to COP 200bn (USD 111M) through an initial pubic offering this quarter. There is a reported backlog of COP 1.3tn (USD 722M) worth of projects to be worked on. The South American country will need COP 99tn (about USD 55bn) of infrastructure development by 2021 according to a September report by the Transportation Ministry. A surge in foreign direct investment is helping spark the fastest economic growth in five years as new areas of the countryside open up to oil and mining exploration after a decade of military victories over guerrillas.

Condor is one of at least five companies that have said they may offer shares this year in Bogota, and construction in Colombia is forecast to be a driver for growth for the next 5-10 years. Although Condor profits and revenue have dropped recently, highway projects are expected to bolster 2011 figures. Current Condor projects include highway work in the Putumayo and Narino regions of southern Colombia

Future projects may well be delayed by politics, bureaucracy and heavy rains says the Bloomberg report. The Environment Minister, Frank Pearl, suspended Condor’s work on a tunnel on 12 January for 90 days to review its environmental impact study. On the other hand, President Juan Manual Santos created a National Infrastructure Agency last November to streamline public bidding processes.