The region could develop new projects, including green buildings, electricity-based transportation and energy efficiency.
SAN PEDRO SULA. In the year of its centennial, Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI) went on the capital market and raised 700 million dollars in green bonds and 300 million dollars in a syndicated loan, which will improve the operations of the renewable energy projects that they have in Central America, but they will also serve to finance new ventures in efforts such as energy efficiency, green buildings and clean transportation (which do not use fossil fuels).
CMI is headquartered in Guatemala but has presence in 15 countries, including Honduras, with a global network of 40,000 employees. It is divided into two large segments, one of them focused on the food industry, where they produce, among others, flour, pasta, sausages, chicken and pork, but also in the restaurant sector (Pollo Campero). Their second segment is CMI Capital, whose investments focus on the renewable energy industry, real estate development, and the financial industry.
In Honduras, the Corporation has poultry production and restaurant operations, but also renewable energy, particularly wind, in the Cerro de Hula park, where an initial investment of 300 million dollars was made. They also operate in Choluteca, with a $210 million solar generation plant operation with generation capacity of 200 megawatts.
Globally, the company generates about 800 megabytes of renewable energy in established projects, in addition to Honduras, in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
In a conversation with Diario El País, Aldo Vallejo, director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at CMI, explained that with the resources obtained, debt will be restructured in all the countries to create greater efficiency and optimization of the investment portfolio in renewable energy.
Another important part of these funds will be allocated to new projects to be gradually chosen, specifically in energy efficiency, green buildings and clean transport, especially in electric mobility, Vallejo said.
The journey to complete the billion dollars (between bonds and loans) was long and had to be subjected to the scrutiny of risk rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Moody's and Standard & Poor's, in addition to continuous rounds of analysis with more than 200 investors, of which 140 decided to put their money in the region. Of these, 56 percent are from the United States, 30 percent from Europe, 12 percent from Latin America and 2 percent from Asia.
CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME
Honduras will receive part of these resources through the existing projects in Francisco Morazán and Choluteca, but participation in new initiatives to be developed is not ruled out. However, CMI executives are aware that there are challenges to overcome.
“The fundamental point to continue attracting these investments is legal certainty, clear rules that are not subject to periodic changes, maintaining a sound, autonomous, apolitical institutional framework, and an institutional system that allows the electricity sector to be competitive and achieve its objective to bring inexpensive and clean electricity to consumers ", said Vallejo.
He recommended continuing the path outlined in the last agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund, which includes the commitment of the National Electric Power Company (ENEE) pay generators within 45 days and to divide the state power company in three entities to maximize their efficiency, but also to ensure that these commitments be respected by the government that will take office next January.
However, these commitments are no longer being complied with because ENEE has allowed six months to pass since the last payment, to the point of accumulating a debt of 7,000 million lempiras; and the division has not occurred, he regretted.
He insisted that investors need to have confidence, which requires that ENEE pay its debts on time, that the contracting of more energy be a transparent process, and that efficiency and competitiveness be reflected in the reduction of losses in power distribution.
“The responsibility of the sector is to demonstrate trust, transparency, efficiency and competitiveness, to show that the bills can be paid, because if the bills are not paid and there are still losses and there is no transparent system, then the investments that came today will no longer repeat themselves or they will go away”, the executive concluded.
¿WHAT ARE GREEN BONDS?
Green bonds are resources destined to finance projects with environmental sustainability. For example: renewable energy, energy efficiency, control of all kinds of pollutants, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, protection of water sources and wastewater management, ecological buildings and clean transportation, among others.
“The largest amount from the funds raised will go to existing renewable energy projects in Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. In total, in these countries, we have approximately 800 megabytes of capacity, with which, on average, we avoid the emission of one million tons of CO2 into the environment, and we contribute to fight climate change” said Aldo Vallejo, Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at CMI.
Source: El País HN