The president of Holcim Colombia, Miguel Angel Rubalcava notes that transport costs have risen by roughly 15% of late amidst a harsh winter and this has pushed cement prices up by 10% this year, ahead of inflation. The 10% rise has come via two hikes, one at the start of the year of 6% and one in the last few days (transport-enforced) of 4% by the leading trio of Holcim, Cemex and Argos. Holcim Colombia’s new leader, Mr Rubalcava, notes however that concrete prices have remained untouched with the firm taking the blow rather than passing it on to final clients. Holcim’s plant in Chia has been affected by flooding of the River Bogota and its output is down by almost 30%.
Mr Rubalcava says that this year the firm should increase cement output this year to 1.5Mt against the 1.32Mt sold in 2010 – a rise of 11.1%. Investment this year is to total US$15m and is to go on modernisation of logistics, transport and equipment assets. Profits are expected to be reduced once again (in 2010, the firm posted a net COP$22.313bn compared to COP$72.07bn in 2009) as Holcim does not intend to pass on the full impact of rising transport costs.