Colombia's Grupo Argos first quarter profit down 88%

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos ARG.CN said on Thursday its first quarter net profit was down 88.3% to 26 billion pesos ($6.6 million) compared with the same period a year earlier, because of the impact of coronavirus containment measures.

The company said in a filing to the country’s financial regulator its consolidated income was down 3% to 3.6 trillion pesos during the quarter, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were down 17% compared to the year before, to 819 billion pesos.

Net profit in the first quarter of 2019 was 223 billion pesos, while EBITDA was 992 billion pesos.

The company said in March it would defer investments and cut spending this year amid uncertainty about the economic impact of the coronavirus.

"These efforts, which will continue to deepen, represent initially close to 2.5 trillion pesos in essential resources so we can have a larger margin of maneuver in the current moment," said the company, whose subsidiaries include cement-maker Cementos Argos CCB.CN and energy company Celsia CEL.CN.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Alistair Bell