Phoenix Group brings business opportunities

Phoenix Group president Alberto Peisach says the conglomerate – which owns, among others, the Colombian companies Multidimensionales and Plasdecol – will continue to expand in the coming years to the domestic market, Venezuela, Mexico, the US and other countries.

Annual investments in Colombia, he says, are between 20,000 and 40,000 million pesos. At the same time, it does not exclude the arrival of a third partner; In the past, it relied on Citi Venture Capital and Banco Santander, from which it later bought back shares.

Phoenix Group – a conglomerate focused on manufacturing, among other things, packaging and rigid containers for consumer products – received funding in July from private equity fund One Equity Partners (OEP), a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase, and it became a minority shareholder.

– What revenue and volume does the Phoenix Group expect this year in Colombia and growth compared to 2011?
We called 2012 the year of preparation and readiness because the next growth will be very important.
Each of the four operations in which we are present has a different role.
In the case of Colombia, the estimated growth compared to 2011 is conservative.

– Because?
Because growth comes from the expansion of business throughout the region, as well as the launch of new lines.

-Which activity would you highlight?
The Phoenix Group has three business lines: industrial packaging, consumer packaging and packaging for cosmetics and/or medicines.
The three lines have similar performance in terms of growth, have a large customer base and different solutions have been developed for all of them.

– How many investments are planned this year in Colombia?
In general, we annually invest between 20,000 and 40,000 million pesos in Colombia, depending on the projects completed with our clients in the different geographic areas where the Group is present.
However, the important thing about capital investment is that it allows us to assure our clients that we will have the availability and resources to accompany them in their growth plans not only domestically, but also abroad.

– How do you see the domestic Colombian market in 2012?
The market is promising. If we talk about the industry, we see how our clients and other companies in Colombia prepare for big international players and develop products for the local market based on global consumer trends.
It seems easy to say, but when you think about what it means to translate it into reality, you realize the magnitude that must characterize the entire chain, from raw materials to sales channels.
Now, if we talk about consumption, we can say that we felt a bit of a slowdown in the economy, especially in the second quarter.

– Does the course benefit the business of the company?
The revaluation greatly affects the export of our company and industry. Every large company in Colombia has to break through internationally in order to grow, and this has had a significant impact.

– How do you see the entry into force of the FTA with the United States? Will they import more raw materials from the United States?
The Phoenix Group has been investing in and participating in the United States market for more than a decade.
Without a doubt, this is a great opportunity for Colombia in general, and it benefits us in the same way as our clients benefit and can market their products to the US market. From our side, we are ready to accompany you from the area you consider most suitable.
Likewise with other free trade agreements that the government is working on.

– Do you have plans to buy or more factories in Colombia?
We would always like to grow up in our country of origin.
Of course there are plans; We hope that opportunities will arise to materialize them.

– How is the second factory in the USA doing?
The second factory of the Phoenix Group in that country is located in the state of Arizona. Since it started working, it has been up to par and has met the budget.
Without a doubt, this plant is a competitive platform in the western US.

– How much did the equity fund JP Morgan Chase invest in Phoenix and what percentage remains?
Details of the investment are confidential. However, I can assure you that we have enough capital to meet the needs of our clients and the end consumer.

-How will they use capitalization resources?
Investment in technology, research and innovation of packaging solutions will be the main directions of investment.

– Why are private equity funds good for companies?
I believe that companies cannot grow without capital, it seems very risky to grow only with debt.
Furthermore, the experience and support of a fund like OEP has great added value as it knows the sector. We are sure that with this investment we will be able to strengthen our presence in new geographical areas, without losing control and administration of the business, but, on the contrary, we will be able to add experience and knowledge to strengthen ourselves.

– Will you buy back the shares of the fund in the future or will you look for another partner for the Group?
We’re open to studying these initiatives, it’s important to bring the solutions you need to market and if that’s the way to do it, we’re ready.
In the Phoenix group, we are expanding because we believe that the responsibility of managing the economy is not exclusive to our clients. We, as their strategic allies, were always ready to take the next step with them.

Source: / Rolando Lozano G. / Economy and business

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