THE RIGHT EQUATION

Ecuador 2012 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Luis Enrique Coloma, Executive President & CEO of SANTOS CMI, on the company's relationship with POSCO Group, the significance of Ecuador in its regional operations, and past and present projects.

Luis Enrique Coloma
BIOGRAPHY
Luis Enrique Coloma graduated from Texas A&M University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Distribution with complementary studies in Computer Science. In 1996, he completed his MBA with a specialization in Marketing at the Escuela Politécnica del Ejército of Ecuador in agreement with the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. From 2005 to 2007, he acted as President of the Board of Directors of SANTOS CMI, and has been its Executive President and CEO since 2007. Additionally, he participates on the Board of Directors of several important corporations in Ecuador.

Why did POSCO decide to invest in Ecuador and SANTOS CMI?

Group is interested in expanding its presence in world markets with high potential and currently one of the most interesting regions is Latin America. POSCO already had important presence in Latin America; it invested in a steel production facility in Mexico, in addition to joint ventures with US Steel Corporation and Valle in Brazil. The engineering and construction branch of POSCO—POSCO E&C—has a successful track record in this part of the world, including Chile, Peru and Brazil, where the company recently executed a large steel mill project. The leaders at POSCO understood the potential of the region and decided to strengthen the group's strategic presence by acquiring a regional engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company in Latin America. SANTOS CMI is a company with more than 12 years of international experience working in EPC projects in 19 Latin American countries; therefore, it was a good fit for POSCO E&C. In February of 2011, POSCO E&C acquired a 70% share in SANTOS CMI. It was the first acquisition of a Latin American EPC company by an engineering and construction firm from South Korea.

What projects is the company working on currently?

In Ecuador, we are working on the overhaul of the Esmeraldas Refinery as a sub-contractor of another South Korean company, SK E&C. We are pursuing other work at the Esmeraldas Refinery and several projects for Petroamazonas EP, which is a valuable client for us in Ecuador. We are also monitoring with interest the Refinery of the Pacific project, for which the Ecuadorean government is still seeking a strategic partner and the required financing. However, I believe that if the government succeeds in this venture, it will generate significant opportunities for engineering and construction firms in Ecuador. We will certainly be very interested in participating in such a project.

What are the main projects that the company is involved in internationally?

We are participating in three important projects in Peru, which will generate approximately 2,200 MW of electricity. These are thermal-electrical generation facilities, and these projects make SANTOS CMI one of the largest EPC contractors for electrical work in Peru. We are also participating in important projects with POSCO E&C in Brazil, which is building a steel mill in the state of Ceará in Brazil's northeast. We recently completed two power plants in Chile and a 200 MW thermal-electrical facility in Costa Rica.