Latin America

The region Latin America

Bekaert_Latin America figures_2013 

Combined sales: € 1 534 million
Consolidated sales(*): € 645 million
Capital expenditure (PP&E) (*): € 18 million
Total assets (*): € 407 million
Employees: 7 800
(*) Consolidated entities

Continued consolidation in Latin America

In Latin America, Bekaert manufactures an extensive product portfolio spread across the region: from steel cord and wire solutions for the automotive industry and barbed wire for the agriculture sector to ropes and meshes for mining and construction.

Bekaert has maintained solid volumes in the region. However, the region’s top line dropped significantly due to various reasons:

  • In order to avoid overvalued financial statements at the official currency rate of the Venezuelan bolivar, Bekaert has, since the beginning of 2013, translated the bolivar-denominated financial statements of its Venezuelan operations into the economic exchange rate. Excluding currency effects, the Latin American segment recorded a limited consolidated sales decline.
  • Social protests affected demand in Colombia throughout 2013. Moreover, the significant duties on imported raw material such as wire rod, had a major effect on the competitiveness of Bekaert’s manufacturing activities in the country.
  • Bekaert passed on the lower wire rod prices resulting from changes in sourcing policies for the region, thereby securing its competitiveness.

Bekaert’s joint ventures in Brazil delivered robust sales growth and an overall strong performance in 2013.

At the end of 2013 Bekaert announced its plans to expand in Central and South America, including the start-up of a Dramix® plant in Costa Rica, the acquisition of 73% of the shares of the ArcelorMittal steel wire plant in Costa Rica, and by raising its share from 45% to 100% in the Cimaf ropes plant in Brazil. Both the finalization of the acquisition deal and the start-up of the Dramix® plant are scheduled for the second quarter of 2014.

Bekaert_CostaRica_2013

Dramix® plant Costa Rica: Bekaert equips the plant with the necessary infrastructure. The plant is expected to become operational in the second quarter of 2014.

Bekaert Ideal Holding

Subsidiaries under the Bekaert Ideal Holding

Bekaert holds 80% of the shares in the Bekaert Ideal Holding. Bekaert’s Ecuadorian partners own the remaining 20%. The Holding covers Ideal Alambrec (Ecuador), Vicson (Venezuela) and Proalco (Colombia).

Venezuela

In Venezuela Bekaert continued to achieve high sales volumes but saw revenue drop drastically as a result of the continuous depreciation of the Venezuelan bolivar. Based on prudence principles, Bekaert has consolidated its bolivar-denominated financial statements using the economic exchange rate since the beginning of 2013.

The strong euro and a continuously accelerating depreciation of the Venezuelan bolivar in the course of 2013 have led to significant unfavorable translation effects in Bekaert’s financial statements. Compared with the previous year, the 2013 impact was € 110 million in sales and € 16 million in EBIT.

In addition, interruptions in the supply of domestic wire rod and reduced access to US dollars and hence to imports, led to activity losses in our production plants at the end of the year. Bekaert ensured continuity of operations whenever possible but remains cautious as to the sustainability of the business environment in the country. Our customers and our dedicated team of 681 employees in Venezuela are receiving as much support as we are capable to offer.

Ecuador

The Ecuadorian economy is characterized by solid GDP growth, mainly driven by the country’s strong oil extraction industry. Though the growth pace is lower than in previous years, the 2013 GDP is expected to exceed 4% growth year-on-year.

Bekaert’s subsidiary in Ecuador achieved higher sales volumes in 2013. The product mix was unfavorable though, as a result of an increase in demand for more basic steel wire products, especially in construction markets.

Bekaert_Cut_Bend

Bekaert-Ideal Alambrec, which holds a strong position in construction markets, not only supplies construction steel wire products to customers. It also offers added value by providing cut and bend services for construction projects.


As part of the acquisition deal in Costa Rica and Brazil, which was announced end of December 2013, ArcelorMittal will become a 27% shareholder in the steel wire activities in Ecuador. Bekaert Ideal Holding will retain the remaining 73%. This change of ownership will take place in 2014 after concluding the deal.

Colombia

The 2013 GDP growth in Colombia is expected to exceed 4%. The Colombian peso lost about 10% on the USD in the past 12 months and has been slipping further since the beginning of 2014. Social protests affected consumer confidence and demand in the country throughout 2013.

Moreover, the 21% import duty imposed temporarily on imported raw materials such as wire rod, had a major effect on the competitiveness of Bekaert’s activities in the country. Domestic sourcing is not an option due to supply capacity limitations. In April 2014, the government will decide whether the import duties affecting domestic industries in particular since they do not apply to finished products, will become permanent or be reversed.

Bekaert-Proalco saw its volumes and revenue decline as a result of the difficult market and fiscal conditions, and was forced to lay off 40 employees in order to align its operations with the new business circumstances.

Peru - Chile - Brazil

Peru

The Peruvian economic growth was 5% in 2013. While this growth still outpaced the regional average, the economic activity slowed to its lowest rate in four years. Growth last year was impacted by a decline in exports, lower metal prices, and weaker domestic demand. 

Bekaert’s major production facility in Peru, Prodac, achieved a solid performance in 2013. Compared with a very strong 2012, sales volumes were slightly lower. Prodac managed, however, to raise its export business and to improve the operational performance of the plant after the installation of the new galvanization line in December 2012.

Chile

In Chile, the price of copper is often seen as a barometer for the health of the global economy. In 2013, the price dropped, mainly due to lower demand from China — Chile’s main trading partner. As copper exports make up the majority of total Chilean exports, the country’s economy is sensitive to such developments. Chile’s GDP growth in 2013 is expected to reach 4%, with a slight upward trend in the last quarter of the year.

Bekaert’s activities in Chile were impacted by the lower demand in the construction and mining markets compared with 2012, as well as by ongoing pressure on margins as a result of strong competition from imports. In line with GDP evolution, Bekaert’s Chilean activities picked up modestly in the last quarter of the year.

Brazil

The global economic downturn and a weaker competitive position of the local industries on both domestic and export markets, have, since 2011, interrupted the long growth cycle that Brazil had experienced in the past decade. Brazil’s GDP growth further declined in 2013, to approximately 2.5%. Brazil’s economy continued to lose momentum in the last quarter of the year when the government began to wind down its economic stimulus program, which resulted in lower consumer and industrial demand. 

Bekaert has been actively supporting a strong position in Brazil for many years. The company operates, in partnership with ArcelorMittal, 9 manufacturing units in 3 states and serves customers in a very wide range of sectors. Notwithstanding difficult market conditions, Bekaert’s joint ventures performed very well and achieved solid growth in sales volumes and profit generation.

As part of the expansion plans announced at the end of 2013, Bekaert will obtain full ownership of Cimaf Cabos in Saõ Paulo in Brazil, one of the manufacturing plants currently owned by Belgo Bekaert Arames. Cimaf Cabos is a leading steel rope producer in South America and is part of a business platform which Bekaert is gradually expanding on a global level and which serves the mining, oil and gas, lifting equipment and infrastructure industries.

Bekaert_Cimaf_2013

Bekaert gradually expands its global ropes platform, among others by taking full ownership in Bekaert Cimaf Cabos (Brazil).


World Cup winner

Belgo Bekaert Arames provided complete fencing solutions for eight stadiums of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Securing the contracts for these stadiums presented a great challenge, since the construction involved unique and new demands. Belgo Bekaert Arames came out the winner after an extensive bidding process and succeeded in installing the security fences and gates of all sports stadiums on time.

Bekaert_fences_world cup

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