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SAP's office in Buenos Aires, Argentina. SAP is seeing another strong year in Latin America. (Photo: SAP)
Colombia's Ecopetrol is seen as the most efficient of Latin America's state oil companies. (photo: Ecopetrol)
Fibra UNO is expanding aggressively while successfully raising cash. (Photo: Fibra UNO)
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Special Reports

Latin America: Companies of the Year

Ecopetrol, Fibra UNO and SAP are Latin America’s companies of the year.

BY LATINVEX STAFF

The editorial staff of Latinvex selects the companies that stood out during 2013.

ENERGY: ECOPETROL

As Mexican state oil giant Pemex is about to lose its 75-year monopoly on the sector, it could learn a thing or two from Colombia’s state oil company Ecopetrol.

The company, Colombia’s largest, is also involved in exploration and production activities in Brazil , Peru and the United States Gulf Coast, and owns the main refineries in Colombia , most of the network of oil and multiple purpose pipelines in the country, petrochemical plants, and is entering into the biofuels business.

The Colombian company is widely seen as the most efficient of the national oil companies in Latin America, surpassing Brazil’s Petrobras, which has been suffering from falling production and rising debt problems. In the third quarter alone, Ecopetrol boosted profits by 22 percent. It also tripled  local crude oil sales.

And in December, it made two announcements of key oil discoveries. The first in the Cano Sur Este block, which it owns in full, with proven reserves of 22.4 million barrels. The second in the Akacias field in southeastern Colombia, which it owns 55 percent and an estimated 1.3 billion barrels of oil.  Canada-based Talisman Energy owns the other 45 percent.

On December 12, Fitch Ratings upgraded its foreign and local currency ratings of Ecopetrol S.A. from BBB- and BBB to BBB and BBB+, respectively. Furthermore, both rating outlooks were revised to stable.

Next year, Ecopetrol plans to invest $10.6 billion in 2014, two thirds of which will be spent on exploration and production.   

TECHNOLOGY: SAP, GERMANY

Germany-based SAP, the world’s largest business management software company, can boast 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth in Latin America, including the first three quarters this year. In the third quarter alone, software sales grew by 600 percent in Colombia and 500 percent in Venezuela.

And it is one of the companies that expects to benefit from the Mexican energy reforms thanks to having both state oil giant Pemex and private chemical giant Mexichem among its clients.

During the third quarter SAP posted Latin America sales growth of 50 percent for software and cloud subscription solutions. Software sales grew of 37 percent. While impressive, SAP executives point out the eye-catching news that 75 percent of those revenues came from new products that SAP didn’t have three-and-a-half years ago such as Hana in-memory database and cloud business.

Outside of Mexico it boasts such Latin American clients as Bancolombia and Grupo Aval in Colombia and Venezuelan food and beverage company Empresas Polar, Banesco and PDVSA in Venezuela. 

REAL ESTATE: FIBRA UNO, MEXICO

What a year it has been for Mexican real estate investment trust (REIT) Fibra UNO, which owns office, retail, industrial, and mixed-use properties.

In the third quarter revenues doubled to 1.1 billion pesos (US$80.6 million). During the first nine months of the year, profits reached 2.1 billion pesos (US$157.3 million) which also represents a near-doubling from the same period in 2012.

On December 13, 2013 it made its debut on the debt market, issuing 8.5 billion pesos (US$652 million) through the local market.  The deal marks the first time a Mexican REIT issued debt in the capital markets and is the largest debut for a corporate issuer, according to DLA Piper, which advised Fibra UNO. Fibra Uno first listed on the Mexican stock exchange in 2011, but has since placed two follow-on offerings for a total of 34.5 billion pesos, according to Reuters.

That includes raising $1.7 billion in January. Under the terms of the deal, Fibra UNO offered 600 million CBFIs (shares), including an overallotment option. "The deal marks the first time in Mexico that a company performed a hot deal option for the base public offer amount," its international legal adviser LA Piper said in a statement.

During the third quarter Fibra UNO began the construction of Torre Diana, after  reaching an agreement with Reichmann International, its partner in Torre Mayor and Grupo  MF. Torre Diana is a class A+ office building in Mexico City with a GLA of 63,000 square meters.

It has been steadily expanding its portfolio throughout the year. In August it acquired 34 properties from Finsa for $372 million in partnership with AIG and Walton Street Capital.

As of September 30, 2013, Fibra Uno had a portfolio of 319 prime properties, located mainly in central and southern Mexico.

 

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