The General Shareholders’ Meeting of 2015 took place yesterday for Empresa Telefónica de Bogotá (ETB), where an improvement in the telecom’s balance sheet of an increase in equity (25.6%) and a decrease in liabilities (29.1%) during the last three years was the highlight, and the authorization of an increase in the amount of dividends to be distributed, from $ 17 (Colombian Pesos) per share to $ 19 (COP).
Above photo, ETB President Saul Kattan Cohen (left), Bogotá Treasury Secretary Ricardo Bonilla
The President of ETB, Saul Kattan Cohen, highlighted the progress of the company, reconfirming for the second consecutive year, the increase in income of the company, a trend that began in 2013, after more than eight years of losses and despite the continued decline in fixed telephone line revenues, the company’s largest generator of income. This fiscal year, revenues were $371 billion pesos. Liquidity is $1.1 trillion. Share value of the company grew 16% during 2014 compared to a decrease of 5.81% in Colombia’s COLCAP index.
The only financial debt is an international bond issue of $ 530 billion. The company’s decision to issue this debt in pesos has mitigated the negative effects of the current decline of the peso against the dollar in recent months. The bonds have a term of 10 years and a rate of 7%, one of the lowest rates obtained by a Colombian firm on international debt markets in recent years.
Kattan reported progress in service innovation this past year, with the launch of three new services: Fiber to the Home, Digital Interactive Television and 4G LTE Mobile Telephony Services. In ETB’s service area of 900,000 homes, 30,000 households have already been wired for fiber optics. The goal in 2015 is to connect 140,000 households.
In ETB’s Interactive television service, more than 10,000 homes are subscribed, and enjoy benefits such as greater speed in changing channels, the ability to record up to five channels at the same time, and rewind to play back up to an hour of live programming. The goal this year is to install 80,000 interactive vable television connections.
ETB’s moble service already has more than 50,000 users. ETB managed to sell its shares in Millicom’s Tigo (wireless carrier) worth over 240 million dollars, with a clause in the sale creating an infrastructure sharing agreement valued at $800 million dollars, enabling ETB, partnering with Tigo’s infrastructure, to launch a mobile service nationwide less than 1 year after obtaining the spectrum.
ETB won for the second year in a row, recognition by the organization Transparency for Colombia, for having good corporate governance practices, and for the first time achieved environmental sustainability certification under the ISO 14001 standard.
New Board of Directors
The assembly also elected a new board. The holders appointed are:
- The Mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro
- District Secretary of Education Oscar Sanchez Jaramillo
- Civil engineer and economic analyst Eduardo Sarmiento
- Business and marketing manager Juan Pablo Morris Rincón
- Economist Fernando Arbelaez
- Attorney Mauricio Duarte Duarte
- Economist Francisco González Barnier
The following alternate board members were also approved:
- Martha Lucia Zamora Avila, current General Secretary of the Mayor of Bogota
- Helga Maria Rivas Ardila, District Secretary of Habitat
- Leader of the Confederation of Workers (CUT) union, Fabio Arias Giraldo
- Social Communication expert José Manuel Alarcon
- Civil engineer Carlos Fonseca Hildebrand
- Utilities attorney Carlos Rey Arturo Parra
- Héctor Bermúdez