Yesterday they finally announced that Carlos Enrique Moreno will continue as President of the holding, but he won’t be the head of Corona Industrial anymore, where he will be succeeded by Jaime Alberto Angel from October.
Corona Industrial is made up by four business divisions: bathrooms and kitchens; surfaces, materials and paints; industrial supplies and energy management; and the fourth one is tableware. But, there are also the Corona Stores and a commercial division. In this moment, they are investing 400 million dollars in a cement plant.
The Corona Organization, for its part, is its parent company, as well as of Sodimac Colombia and it holds the investments of the group in Falabella de Colombia and Banco Falabella.
Moreno spoke to Portafolio about what’s coming for the company.
Why the succession?
I’ve been in Corona for 16 years now and, with the board of directors, we had been working for a long time on a succession plan which was concreted yesterday (Wednesday) in the industrial business division. Over all these years, we have reinvented ourselves many times and leadership renovation is one of the inherent matters to this organization.
How did you choose your successor?
I feel satisfied and happy that Jaime Alberto Angel will be my successor in Corona Industrial. He is an impressive human being and results are also his key strength. An important part of what Corona has been doing in terms of innovation is thanks to him and his people. He’s been in the company for 35 years, he was one of the people who started the nanotechnology business with Nexentia and one of the main promotors of the cement business.
Why going from one to two presidents?
Now with the cement business, plus the international portion and the transformation challenges, management had become very complex, so we analyzed the situation and a consultant suggested dividing these topics. Besides that, I’m getting a bit old -he’s 64-.
How did you prepare the succession with Angel?
In several meetings, we talked about how the structure would be. He’s been in the organization for 35 years, he knows it better than anyone else, and we have been working together for six years. It’s a very easy transition.
What challenges are you expecting?
One of them is the transition, and to keep consolidating the businesses abroad, continue with the set-up of the cement plant which is going very well (a significant part of the equipment has already been manufactured and is being imported) and entering in other business which Jaime will disclose later. Besides that, continuing with the commercial businesses we have with our partners of Falabella, in a relationship of over 25 years which is going very well.
What will you use the half billion pesos obtained from the issuance of bonds announced by Sodimac for?
We want long-term funding, taking advantage of the current low interest rates.
How is the cement plant going?
It is a plant with over 1 million 350,000 nominal tons of capacity and it’s located in Sonson (far east of Antioquia). We already have all the permits, it is under construction and we expect to open by the beginning of 2019.
Why entering to a business like this, where there are giants operating?
We are also entering with a huge monster which is Cementos Molins, with plants in Spain, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico and now in Colombia.
How is 2017 going?
We have a commercial strength, a distribution network, a significant number of products and a clear preference of the consumers, but the economy is not going through a very good moment. I wouldn’t like to enter into details about figures, but in general terms, growth is very low in the commercial businesses, they are positive in certain industrial lines and there are some with slight decreases.
How does the rest of the year look?
I hope that the news given by the Government regarding reactivation come true. It is necessary for them to boost especially public works, that the 4G projects start running and to make decisions to pull the aggregate demand. Additionally, there has to be a frontal fight against contraband and money laundering because what you can see on the streets regarding these topics is something I’ve never seen before.
How is that?
The contraband of shoes and clothing is shocking. As for the ceramics sector, you can see imports at prices that make you think that there are illegal situations.
What have you done about this?
We have talked about this with the Government and the Dian, and you can tell there’s interest in working on this matter, but I would almost guarantee that there’s no business in Colombia that is not being affected by contraband and money laundering.