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Italian firm Mapei has announced investments in Colombia  of US$11 million in 2024

by | Jun 9, 2024

Italian company Mapei’s recent strategic investment in Colombia is not just a financial move but a significant step in the bilateral economic relationship between Italy and the South American nation. This substantial investment of US$11 million made during Q1 2024, aimed at expanding the firm’s manufacturing capabilities for chemical products used in construction and industry, is projected to drive Mapei’s growth by 35% in 2024 and contribute significantly to Colombia’s economic development. This follows a remarkable 400% growth rate in recent years, demonstrating the company’s successful integration and expansion and its ongoing commitment to Colombia’s economic prosperity.

Mapei’s participation in the Colombian economy extends beyond mere financial investments. Since entering the Colombian market in 2017 with an initial investment of €30 million, Mapei has steadfastly built a sustainable and resilient operation. Acquiring the local company Bronco laid the groundwork for a robust and growing presence in the country. With three manufacturing plants, three logistics centers, and six regional offices, Mapei’s infrastructure is well-equipped to support its investments in Colombia and ambitious growth plans and uphold its commitment to sustainable and resilient operations.

Mapei invests in its human capital

Mapei’s activities in Colombia are not just about financial resources but also about human capital development. The company has not just dedicated over 12,000 hours to employee training since 2023 but invested in cultivating a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. This workforce can drive innovation, maintain high production standards, and contribute to the company’s growth and sustainability goals. This emphasis on training and development is not just a strategy but a reflection of Mapei’s commitment to its people and their role in its success.

Mapei’s introduction of the Zero Line, a family of sustainable products, is not just a product launch. It’s a testament to the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and its investments in Colombia. By offsetting the CO₂ equivalent to its ceramic adhesives and nozzles sales through certified forestry projects, Mapei is not just talking about climate change but actively contributing to global efforts to combat it. The company has already offset more than 100,000 tons of CO₂ worldwide, equivalent to planting 1.25 million trees.

The investment landscape in Colombia has seen significant contributions from other Italian companies. In recent years, various Italian firms have strategically invested in different sectors of the Colombian economy. For instance, Enel, through its subsidiary Enel-Codensa, has been actively involved in the energy sector, investing heavily in renewable energy projects. Additionally, Italcol, a company specializing in animal nutrition, has expanded its investment in Colombia, contributing to the agricultural sector’s growth.

Beyond Italy, other European countries have also been significant investors in Colombia over the past five years. According to ProColombia, the country’s investment promotion agency, the Netherlands has been one of the largest European investors in Colombia, particularly in the oil and gas sector. Royal Dutch Shell and other Dutch companies have invested billions of dollars, highlighting the strategic importance of Colombia’s energy resources.

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Beyond Italy other European companies have made considerable investments in Colombia

Spain is another key player, with significant telecommunications, banking, and infrastructure investments. Spanish multinational companies like Telefónica and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) have established substantial investments in Colombia, contributing to the modernization and expansion of critical services. The United Kingdom has also been active, with British Petroleum (BP) investing in oil exploration and production and Diageo expanding its presence in the beverage industry.

Germany’s investment in Colombia is notable in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, with companies like Daimler AG and Siemens AG investing in production facilities and technology solutions. France has contributed through investments in retail and agriculture, with Carrefour and Groupe Danone expanding their operations in Colombia.

European companies investing in Colombia benefit significantly from the country’s strategic geographic and economic advantages. One of the primary benefits is access to major South American markets. Colombia’s central location on the continent provides a gateway to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, facilitating trade routes and logistics for reaching neighboring countries like Brazil, Peru, and Chile. This strategic positioning allows European firms to distribute their products across the South American continent efficiently.

Additionally, Colombia’s extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) enhances market access beyond South America. Colombia has FTAs with major global economies, including the United States, the European Union, Canada, and several countries in the Asia-Pacific region. These agreements reduce tariffs and trade barriers, making it more cost-effective for European companies to export their goods and services from Colombia to these markets. As a result, European companies can leverage investments in Colombia as a hub for broader international trade, increasing their global market reach and competitiveness.

Colombia’s expanding domestic market represents a growing opportunity

Participation in Colombia’s growing domestic market also generates added revenue for European companies. With over 50 million people, Colombia has a steadily growing middle class and increasing consumer demand. This demographic shift creates a fertile ground for European firms to expand their sales within the country. Sectors such as retail, automotive, consumer goods, and technology are particularly poised for growth, providing ample opportunities for revenue generation.

Furthermore, European companies benefit from Colombia’s economic stability and generally pro-business environment. The government actively encourages foreign investment through various incentives, including tax breaks, investment protection agreements, and streamlined regulatory processes. This supportive business climate reduces operational risks and enhances profitability for European companies with investments in Colombia.

Overall, European investments in Colombia have played and will continue to play, a crucial role in the country’s economic development, bringing in capital, technology, and expertise that have supported growth across various sectors. These investments have created jobs, stimulated economic activity, and fostered innovation and sustainable practices, aligning with Colombia’s long-term development goals.

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