Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana Obtains International Investment Grade

- Yesterday GRUPOSURA held its Annual Shareholders' Meeting where it announced that it had obtained a BBB- rating from the firm, Fitch Ratings.

- The Company also highlighted the results obtained for this past decade where shareholders´ equity rose 37 fold and assets increased 28 times.

- The Group's purpose of providing greater shareholder value resulted in an average weighted annual growth in net profits of 36%, while the share's intrinsic value increased 26 fold over the last decade.

- GRUPOSURA continues to advance with its strategy of gaining greater international scale within the framework of responsible and sustainable dealings.

Mar 30, 2011, 13:59 ET from Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana

MEDELLIN, Colombia, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday the firm Fitch Ratings announced that it had decided to issue Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana with a BBB- rating together with a stable outlook, hence the Company now holds an international investment grade thereby qualifying for a positioning based on the highest global standards.

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In the accompanying report, Fitch Ratings highlighted the fundamentals on which this international investment grade was based including the following aspects relating to the Group's judicious strategy, its robust financial situation and the excellent performance of both the Company and its portfolio of investments:

  • An appropriate diversification of its portfolio of high-quality assets showing an excellent performance including a special mention of the manner in which these companies have been historically managed, their consistently robust financial performance, and strong competitive positioning in both Colombia and throughout the region.
  • The significant role played by the Company in the management, results and dividend policies of its main investments.
  • The successful corporate strategy producing consistent results with regard to which the report highlights the Company's skillful and experienced management team.
  • Its reliable and well-diversified sources of liquidity, as well as the prudent financial policies deployed, these having played an important part in the results thus obtained.
  • The rigorous corporate governance standards upheld by the Company .
  • The sound financial results that GRUPOSURA has shown over the last few years, which have had a corresponding effect on its share performance, net revenues and the substantial demand enjoyed on the local stock market, amongst others.
  • Low levels of leverage and good debt protection measures.

Consequently, Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana not only proudly shares the recent good news when Colombia's own sovereign debt rating was upgraded to an international investment grade, but now it has the immense satisfaction of this same rating being given to the companies belonging to its own portfolio:  Bancolombia, Seguros Generales Suramericana and Seguros de Vida Suramericana, thus providing support for the Company's robust financial situation as well as its strategic investments.

ANNUAL SHAREHOLDERS MEETING – 2011

At its Annual Shareholders Meeting 2011, the Company not only highlighted the achievements obtained in 2010, but also provided a summary of this past decade which served as a basis for this important level of results thus secured; this included simplifying its corporate structure, consolidating its portfolio and increasing shareholders´ equity. Consequently, GRUPOSURA is looking forward to a new decade in which it shall be extending its international presence as one of its prime goals, and providing its total support for the expansion projects scheduled by its own portfolio of companies and in so doing harness important synergies and foster a spirit of innovation so as to continue growing and opening up new markets.

Over the last 10 years, GRUPOSURA has made a positive contribution to the Colombian economy becoming one of the top-performing companies listed with the local stock exchange, upon obtaining results such as:

  • A 37-fold increase in shareholders´ equity which reached COP 17,6 billion.
  • An average annual weighted growth in shareholders´ equity of 43,5% .
  • Assets increased 28-fold, going from COP 600 thousand million to COP 18,2 billion.
  • The intrinsic value of the GRUPOSURA share increased 26-fold.
  • Its share price rose 31-fold, from COP 1.200 to COP 37.480
  • The average annual weighted growth in net profits came to 36% .
  • GRUPOSURA was the first Colombian company to issue bonds for a term of 40 years, thereby pioneering a new financial instrument with which to deepen the country's capital market.
  • It was the first holding company in Colombia to sell options on its own investment portfolio.
  • It was the first company in Colombia to create structured notes for purchasing non-liquid stocks.

The positioning that the Company enjoys today, has allowed us to extend its shareholder base to another 147 international funds, 59 of which took up positions in the Company in 2010, for an overall growth of 67%.

Broadening its stock exchange scope

The Company's strategy to gain greater presence on the international stock exchanges began in 2008 when we launched our shares in the US upon registering with the ADR Level 1 program. It also got off to a good start to this present decade as the first Colombian company to list with a European stock exchange, specifically Latibex, the Market for Latin American Stocks in Euros which is hosted by the Madrid Stock Exchange.

After listing with Latibex, the Company has seen growing investor interest in its stocks not only in Europe but also in Colombia. Here, it is worthwhile mentioning that since February 28, when first listed, until March 25, the GRUPOSURA share has obtained a gain of 12% on the Latibex market, going from Euro 12.95 to Euro 14.51, while in Colombia during this same period, the corresponding gain came to 10% largely due to the growing interest that the Company has triggered within the investor community.

Also now that stock markets are beginning to integrate as is the case with MILA (Colombia, Peru and Chile) we expect this to provide an additional boost for the GRUPOSURA  share, which has been listed with the Colombian Stock Market since 1945, this being the sixth top-performing stock market in the world in terms of market capitalization, and where the price of the GRUPOSURA share rose by 52.7% in 2010, which was far greater than the average gain of 33.6% reported by the Colombian Stock Market.

Results for 2010

Based on the report presented at yesterday's Annual Shareholders Meeting, the Company ended the decade with a positive level of results for 2010, including:

  • Net profits of COP 696,266 million for a growth of 56,1% compared to 2009. This was largely due to the good levels of performance reported by our insurance subsidiaries, as well as dividends and interest income received from our non-controlled investments.
  • Total assets came to COP 18.2 billion, showing an increase of 23,6% compared to last year.
  • Total liabilities came to COP 607,419 million for a debt ratio of 3,3%.
  • Total shareholders´ equity came to COP 17.56 billion, showing an increase of 22.5% compared to last year.
  • The intrinsic value of the GRUPOSURA share reached COP 37,441, this being the highest recorded in the Company's history.

DECISIONS MADE AT THE ANNUAL SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

At the Annual Shareholders Meeting held yesterday, the Board of Directors proposed that the upcoming dividend payment be increased by 8.21% to COP 290 per share, that is to say 5 percentage points higher than the CPI increase. This was duly approved by the shareholders.

Another important decision made by the shareholders at their Annual Meeting for 2011 was to appoint a new independent member to the Board of Directors, to replace Mr. Hernando José Gomez, who resigned upon accepting the post of Director of the National Planning Department  in August 2010. Our new Board member, Mr. Jaime Bermudez Marinade is a distinguished lawyer holding a PhD in Political Science who has held important posts in both the private as well as public sectors, the most recent being Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2008 and 2010. He is currently is the Chief Executive Office of the investment bank MBA-Lizard, based in Colombia.

GRUPO DE INVERSIONES SURAMERICANA

Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana is a company listed on the Colombian stock exchange as well as with the ADR- Level 1 program in the United States and the Latibex Market for Latin American Stocks in Euros hosted by the Madrid Stock Exchange. Its portfolio of investments is divided into two main segments: the first is Strategic Investments, comprised of the financial services, insurance and social security sectors as well as complementary services. The second is its Portfolio Investments, mainly in the food and cement sectors

GRUPOSURA is mainly focused on its Strategic Investment segment, playing an active role in the management functions of all its companies with a view to harnessing common synergies, as well as taking full advantage of creating, growing and extending its business

Communications Office
Phone: +011-574-4355935
comunicaciones@gruposura.com.co

Investor Relations
Luis Eduardo Martinez
Phone: +011-574-4355628
lemartinez@gruposura.com.co

SOURCE Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana