February 13, 2018 / 3:43 PM / 5 months ago

Cementos Argos reports net loss of $23.4 mln in fourth quarter

BOGOTA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Colombia’s top cement maker Cementos Argos reported a net loss of 68 billion pesos ($23.4 million) in the fourth quarter of last year because of lower prices and higher costs amid economic deceleration in the Andean country.

The net loss was a contrast to the 61.8 billion peso profit that the company, a subsidiary of Grupo Argos, earned in the final quarter of 2016.

Spending on sales operations was up 6.6 percent between October and December last year to 1.58 trillion pesos, compared with the same period of 2016, the company said in a statement late on Monday to the financial regulator.

Income taxes tripled to 154 billion pesos.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell 8.9 percent to 362 billion pesos during the quarter.

“The fall in income and EBITDA of Cementos Argos is best explained by the price of cement in Colombia, which reached its lowest level in the second quarter of the year,” the statement said.

Imports from countries that subsidize industrial energy costs and exchange rate changes led to the fall in prices, the company said.

Net profit slumped 86.3 percent to 77.2 billion pesos during all of 2017, compared to 562.5 billion pesos during 2016.

EBITDA for the full-year 2017 was down 15 percent at 1.42 trillion pesos.

$1 = 2,904.29 Colombian pesos Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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