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For these companies, 2020 meant an adaptation challenge. Some had to modify their offer to match the new market needs. That is why this year some of them asked him to invest to increase their production capacity and consolidate their presence in the country.
Ternium started the race to open new plants in the country. It is the one located in Palmar de Varela, Atlantic with which the company expects to triple its steel production. For its construction, the company invested $ 270,000 million (US $ 76.3 million with the TRM of Friday, February 19). It also required the hiring of 1,000 people.
This industrial center has 300 direct jobs and for each direct one it will create three or four indirect jobs. It hopes to contribute to the self-sufficiency of the country in terms of steel, as it has the capacity to produce almost 600,000 tons.
In addition to supplying the local market, the objective, according to Máximo Vedoya, CEO of Ternium, is to export at the end of the year.
For its part, Nutresa Group announced the construction of a new plant in Santa Marta that would be operational in the second half of the year. For this the company allocated US $ 133 million and its construction is generating about 500 jobs in the region.
“This plant will become a major development focus for the department of Magdalena and the Colombian North Coast,” sources from Nutresa assured La República.
Once operational, 400 people are expected to be directly employed at the facility. The plant will strengthen the growth of all the group’s business lines. The location of this corresponds to the intention of the company to export 70% of what is produced there to key markets such as Central America and the Caribbean, South America and the United States.
This is because Nutresa currently exports 40% of total sales and the growth rate justifies the creation of a new production plant.
For its part, the paper-based packaging production company, Smurfit Kappa announced an investment plan of US $ 90 million this year that is oriented to make increases in production capacity. Of these, US $ 50 million will be for the Guarne, Antioquia plant.
Álvaro José Henao, executive director for Colombia of this company, stated that this implies an increase in the investment that is normally made per year. “The idea is that in the following years significant investments are made in expansions,” he said, adding that “it will be the company’s most modern plant in Colombia.”
With this, they hope to double their paper sack production capacity and increase the paper mill’s capacity by 20%. This new structure will be ready in 2023 and is designed to grow modularly and increase production over time.
According to Henao “If the country continues at the pace that is coming we expect the return in four or five years.”
Another plant to be built in Guarne, Antioquia is PepsiCo, which will be the largest of the company in Colombia and the most modern of the company in Latin America. It has an investment of US $ 93 million and began in August 2020 and it is expected that in 2022 it will be operational. Once it is ready, it will be able to generate 400 jobs.
In addition to this, PepsiCo reported that the Funza plant was expanded and renovated with an investment of US $ 65 million. This will allow you to increase the production capacity of products such as potatoes. Thanks to these, the purchase of potatoes from national producers will be increased by 20%.
The last company in this survey is Grupo Familia, which announced the construction of a plant in Rionegro, Antioquia. It will have an injection of resources for US $ 50 million and it will be a multipurpose plant. Construction is projected to start in 2021 and finish the following year. “With this project, Grupo Familia will generate 150 new jobs in the region, in addition to the 400 it currently has in the region and about 170 jobs in its construction phase,” said Andrés Gómez, general manager of Grupo Familia.
Gómez added that he foresees “growth between 7% and 9%, leveraged on an international vision, the care of our people and a positive impact on the community.”
Just as some invested to build from scratch, other companies did so to expand existing ones. This is the case of Kimberly-Clark, which in three years will allocate US $ 80 million to strengthen its production capacity at its plants in Cauca, Cundinamarca and Antioquia. Alimentos Polar will also expand the plant that produces Harina PAN to increase exports.
Regional reactivation in the pandemic
Construction is a catalyst for the local economy at a time when the pandemic has caused a high level of unemployment. The Dane revealed that in 2020 there were 3.76 million unemployed. This is why investment in works will contribute to the creation of skilled and unskilled jobs for the construction and operation of the plants. According to Sandra Forero, executive president of Camacol “the development of industrial areas is essential for economic reactivation. In the last year 390,000 m2 were started, representing 4% of the total construction areas started ”.