Newsletter 46 – Nestle, Unilever, Genfar and Yara highlighted their operations in Valle del Cauca
Valle del Cauca was the protagonist region in Bogota during the past April 26 Business Meeting: ‘Un Valle de inversiones’ (A Valley of investment), led by Invest Pacific and the Governor’s Office of Valle del Cauca, with the support of the CLIP Free Trade Zone and Logistics Park, which had an important attendance of more than 60 representatives from commercial departments of the various embassies, binational chambers, investment promotion agencies from other countries, Free Trade Zones, logistic parks, consulting firms, site selectors, guilds, and the media.
“This meeting was a wonderful opportunity to further connect all these players of great relevance for foreign investment promotion, with the competitive advantages our Valle del Cauca has to offer, both for domestic and international companies, by being a cost-efficient region for the carrying out of various manufacturing, service providing, and agro-industrial operations”, noted Alejandro Ossa Cardenas, Executive Director of Invest Pacific, during his intervention.
It also gathered corporate leaders from large multinationals established in Colombia and with operations in Valle del Cauca for many years. It featured the attendance of Rodrigo Sotomayor – Country Head of Unilever Colombia, Agustin Vincent – General Manager of Genfar-Sanofi, Carlos Barragan – Nestle’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Carolina Gomez – Yara’s Director of Communications for Latin America, and Jose Rafael Daste – Commercial and Marketing Director of CLIP Free Trade Zone and Logistics Park.
During his speech, Rodrigo Sotomayor – Country Head for Unilever Colombia, noted that the company features 5 manufacturing sites in Valle del Cauca and a distribution center, all of which allows to supply the needs of consumers in Colombia and other 16 Latin American countries. “The proximity to the Buenaventura Port is one of the elements that bring logistic advantages, as well as the business environment; all the human talent we need can be provided by Valle del Cauca, from the operator to the executive, along with the productive relationships network, such as the Palmira City hall, to bring greater value for the region”, those were some of the issues noted by the businessman concerning the value proposal of Valle del Cauca.
Genfar-Sanofi is one of the most important pharmaceutical production companies of Latin America, having launched in 2022 in the city of Cali, the first Pharmaceutical Research and Development Center for Latin America. “At Genfar we have a very clear mission to be the referent of health care and well-being for people, we have a manufacturing site in Cali from where we export to several countries in the region, mainly Peru and Ecuador”, stated Agustin Vincent, General Manager of Genfar-Sanofi.
In addition, he confirmed that the general public is aware about the interest shown by Eurofarma -the Brazilian multinational – to purchase Genfar; hence, a validation process has begun with regulatory bodies of the matter, which will rule such transaction. He further stated that Eurofarma has more than 50 years of history, and is present in many Latin American countries, United States, Africa, and has European certifications. “To us, it means an excellent opportunity for expansion and growth, and to join efforts to achieve more innovation and development for new products, as well as more exports from Cali to other countries, which is one of the company’s goals”, added Vincent.
Nestle is another relevant player within the food industry, not only for Colombia but for the world. The recent investment of the company in Valle del Cauca reaffirms its confidence in the region, with an increase in its capacity and productivity. In that sense, Carlos Barragan, the company’s Director of Corporate Affairs, emphasized that Nestle aims to become a production hub of Milo for Latin America from Valle del Cauca, for which he highlights the skillfulness of the human talent, and the work and commitment of the Governor’s Office and the City halls.
“We want for Bugalagrande to be the first plastic neutral township of Colombia, and found a commitment to develop a sustainability project, joined by an innovative human talent, which connects with other teams in know-how transfer matters. We have a staff that is deeply commitment with the company, and we saw it reflected during the national strike, when they would find a way for the plant to not stop. This human talent generates a great transformation and entrenchment in the region”, noted Barragan.
In regards to Yara, it is one of the most important companies in the manufacture of premium fertilizers, with many years of operation in Colombia and located in Yotoco, a township from the Colombian region that brings in 35% of the country’s agricultural production. “The Yotoco site is a plant for mixing, distribution, and storage. We transport everything that comes out of the factory inside the country, which facilitates the operation for various producers that have a rather high demand to export their products. Therefore, we’re strongly committed to work together with producers and the food network to provide support with our solutions, which feature a lower carbon footprint, thus also contributing with the country’s rural sustainability and development”, explained Carolina Gomez, Director of Communications for Latin America.
Concurrently, CLIP mentioned how Valle del Cauca is the suitable platform for international trading operations, as well as domestic distribution. “We are a logistics platform with the perfect location for logistic and manufacturing matters, being at the intersection between the road that leads to the Buenaventura Port, and enables the delivery to the country’s main cities and consumption centers. It is at that location where we are implementing a logistic node; we own 220 hectares, and are one of the biggest logistic and real estate projects of the country”, stated Jose Rafael Daste, CLIP’s Commercial and Marketing Director.
Nestle, Yara, Unilever and Genfar comprise a large business network of foreign capital with presence in Valle del Cauca for more than 80 years. Today, in Valle there are more than 200 multinationals, responsible for the 40% the region’s exports, 20% the region’s GDP, and at least 5% the formal employment of Valle del Cauca.
The ‘Un Valle de inversiones’ meeting also featured lectures from the Investment Managers of Invest Pacific for Manufacturing and Service sectors: Mauricio Concha and Manolo Constain, accordingly. Along with the Executive Director, they provided further information to attendees concerning strategic location, qualified human talent, infrastructure, connectivity between the business network and institutional leadership, as some of the elements making Valle del Cauca a destination that has it all for international businesses.
Altogether, the event gathered commercial attachés from The United Kingdom, Belgium, Hungary, The European Union, Italy, Japan, Canada, United States, Argentina, and Brazil. Also, the binational chambers from Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru, The Antilles, Spain, The United Kingdom, India, Czech Republic, The Arab countries, Netherlands, Israel, Vietnam, Germany, China, and Japan. Concerning promotion agencies from other countries, we were joined by APEX Brazil, Kotra, Pro Ecuador, Pro Chile, and PromPeru. Among consulting firms, national agencies, and partners, there were: Araujo Ibarra, Brigard Urrutia, PWC and Guajira 7, which are also contributors of Invest Pacific; likewise, CBRE, EY, GBS Finance, IXL Center, Mazars, The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism; ProColombia, and ANDI Alimentos.
With such events, Valle del Cauca aims to continue building stronger relationships with the main players in competitive advantage promotion of Valle del Cauca as a strategic destination for direct foreign investment. Moreover, it allows to highlight success cases of companies with operation in our region.