In 2022, foreign investment reached record figures again in Valle del Cauca
• Invest Pacific joined 23 multinational companies, 60% plus of them being brand new to the area. The rest expanded their operations, thus strengthening investment trust. More investment and job creation initiatives are expected for 2023.
Foreign direct investment supported by Invest Pacific in Valle del Cauca throughout 2022 reached record figures again. A total 23 foreign and national capital companies decided to either set base or expand operations in this region of southwestern Colombia, growing their project count by 15% compared to the previous year. These companies are making investments to the tune of more than USD$484 million, four times larger than investment amounts reported for 2021. All this has created 1,802 new formal jobs in the area.
More than 60% of these investments, supported by Invest Pacific throughout 2022, represent companies that are settling their operations in this prosperous area for the first time; i.e., new investment. The remaining percentage represents the growth of companies that were already present in the area, thanks to both investment trust and the business environment that the region offers.
Investments in Valle del Cauca throughout 2022 came from nine countries: United States, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chile, France, Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Companies from other Colombian regions have invested as well, attracted by Valle del Cauca’s suitability to expand production and export operations.
Food and beverage are among the sectors that fostered foreign investment in 2022. Companies from these sectors expanded their industrial facilities, distribution centers, and production lines both old and new. Metal and mechanical industries followed suit, along with electric equipment, body care, and household products. Throughout the year, these sectors chose the region to either settle their operations or expand them, or increase their export capabilities from Valle del Cauca to different global markets.
Agribusiness logistics operations and land expansions for Hass avocado crops are also of note, as well as distribution centers and new production lines for general logistics. Another sector of note making ripples in the region is technology and service outsourcing; where software, agritech, surveillance software, logistics tracking services, and bilingual services companies continued to solidify.
“We are witnessing a very encouraging synergy for investment in the area, as demonstrated by the sheer number of companies and their contribution to formal employment creation. The presence of multinational companies in the region means a lot to us, given that it has contributed to driving the development and employment of Valle del Cauca. 200-plus foreign companies have been in operation here for more than 80 years, accounting for more than 40% of the region’s exports and 20% of the national GDP”, stated Alejandro Ossa, Executive Director of Invest Pacific.
Even though most of these companies have settled in Cali, other municipalities have also received attention, such as Palmira, Buga, Yumbo, Bugalagrande, Candelaria, Bolívar, and Puerto Tejada (Northern Cauca region). This reflects the wide array of services present in the region and how investment has reached non-traditional municipalities, contributing to both their economic and social growth.
What 2023 has in store:
Invest Pacific is gearing towards implementing 26 new investment projects in the region, thus helping to create 3,190 new jobs in Valle del Cauca and using investment funds around USD$225 million.
Invest Pacific Will bring Valle del Cauca to new businesses in different countries, among them being the United States, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Spain, as well as other Colombian regions. The goal is to promote the salient features of the region in order to attract sectors that will, in turn, pull in even more investment from sectors such as technology and software, BPO, shared services centers, fruit and agribusiness-adjacent operations, food and beverage ingredients, distribution centers, manufacturing, construction materials, packaging, grooming, and household products.
Throughout 2023, we will also be encouraging national relocation, so that more companies with foreign market shares that are located far from ports can make the most of the opportunities afforded by a region such as Valle del Cauca. This is especially important, since Valle del Cauca is home to the Buenaventura port, which would make operations more cost-efficient for both the local and foreign market.
These are the new investments supported by Invest Pacific throughout 2022:
Nexans, a French company specializing in manufacturing copper and fiber optics cables, made itself at home in Valle after purchasing Centelsa, in order to continue serving Andean countries. Nadir Figueiredo, a Brazilian company specializing in household glass products, purchased the Cristar manufacturing plant in Buga. Bold, an acrylic product distribution center first created in Brazil, has now expanded to Yumbo.
Oikos, which is part of a Colombian corporate group, built storage warehouses in Cali to further drive their logistics operation. Among their customers are last-mile e-commerce companies. Emergent Cold Latam, an American capital multinational that provides logistics services, recently announced the acquisition of Frigorífico Metropolitano (Frigometro), located in Buga. This is a spearhead cold storage company in Colombia, which further strengthens national distribution and export sales.
Min & Mon, an American company that manufactures leather goods and footwear, has started operating at a free trade zone in Palmira, in order to reap the benefits of Free Port environments to drive up their export activities. Tiny App, a software developing Finnish firm company, focused in the educational sector, has just started operating in Cali. SLC Enterprise, an American BPO operation, has arrived in Cali to expand their software surveillance product. Lean Solutions Group, a BPO specializing in operations in English, has started serving the back office and marketing departments of companies in the logistics and transport companies.
GRM Document Storage, a new American investor, recently built its document management storage warehouse in Yumbo. Solvo Global, a bilingual talent outsourcing service, has started serving American companies in a wide variety of areas such as accounting, legal, customer service, and many others. Berrify, from Puerto Rico, a platform that exports Colombian and Vallecaucan talent, has begun entering Colombia by opening their first offices in Cali. TSO Mobile, an American tracking service for the transport industry, has made Cali one of their most strategic global hubs. Scojet, an American investment firm specializing in metallurgy, has recently built a manufacturing plant in Cali together with a local partner.
Reinvestments supported by Invest Pacific in 2022:
The growth of companies who were in the region from before is worth a mention. Such is the case of Kimberly Clark in the northern Cauca region; American companies Vistex and Virtual Guard, an agritech operation and a surveillance software operation respectively; Moove It, a software developing company that just opened new offices in the capital city of Valle del Cauca; and Falabella, with a brand new transfer center in Yumbo.
Also of note is the expansion of Dutch margarine company Upfield, located in Cali; a new production line confirmed by Nestlé (Switzerland) in Bugalagrande; GreenFruit Avocados expanding their lands to grow Hass avocado crops in different municipalities across the region; and the expansion of the Cargill distribution center (United States) in Candelaria, located in Villagorgona, which is an initiative to increase their storage capacity by 32% and solidify the sustainability of their operation.
While this is all taking place, Valle del Cauca continues to establish itself as an excellent platform for large-scale distribution centers. Joining the Dollarcity distribution center at the Guajira 7 industrial park in Palmira is Portuguese group Jerónimo Martins, who have started building new facilities to further drive their growth in the country. There are also Copidrogas and Madecentro’s new distribution centers, located at the La Magdalena industrial park. These operations strengthen the cost-efficiency advantages of the region because of their strategic location, wide road network, and proximity to both the international airport and the Buenaventura port.
Invest Pacific is a public and private non-profit that seeks to serve the region by promoting and attracting both national and foreign direct investment, as well as by supporting investors at free cost. Among the allies and partners that make this mission possible are the Governor’s Office of Valle del Cauca and the Mayor’s Office of Cali and their Departments of Economic Development, the Mayor’s Office of Palmira and its Department of Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Cali’s Chamber of Commerce, ProColombia, and other public entities, guilds, companies and universities.