The Master Pro venture will be headed up by new Orbis president Rodolfo Bayona Plata, who took office in September. Within his academic background, Bayona attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MBA at Northwood University. He also has worked for Dow Chemical.
Orbis estimates that the hardware store market is worth 26 billion pesos, or about $8.8 million per year, and that 13 percent of DIY products sold nationally are sold by DIY stores. Orbis has set a goal of opening 30 stores by 2021. The first store in the chain was opened early this year in Bogota, with 1,500 square meters of floor space and 15,000 SKUs. More stores will open in Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga.
Among Pintuco paint brands, Viniltex and Koraza are well known architectural segment brands. Similarly, the Terinsa and ICO brands are well known in the construction industry.
The group is active in over a dozen countries in Latin America. Last year Pintuco began distributing AkzoNobel’s protective coatings under the International Paints brand in Peru. In Venezuela, Orbis owns Venezolana de Pinturas. Pintuco is broadly distributed in Central America in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua, as well as in the Caribbean islands of Aruba under the brand Arvefa, and Curacao, under the brand AVF.
The current domestic focus of Orbis is well suited for the economic straits in Colombia; the peso recently dropped to a record low of 3,300 to one U.S. dollar. At the same time, inflation is hovering around six percent per year. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently downgraded Colombia’s expected economic growth prospects, with expectations for Colombia growth now at 2.1 percent in 2016, 2.5 percent in 2017, and 2.9 percent in 2018.
Colombia is broadly expected to continue to grow since President Santos has managed to reach a delicate peace accord with the revolutionary party FARC. However, the economic crisis in neighboring Venezuela has become so intense that the border was closed for 72 hours by Venezuela to avoid currency movement leading up to the release of new larger bank notes there.
According to Bloomberg, “Grupo Orbis S.A. manufactures and supplies paints and chemical products in Latin America and internationally. It offers decorative, construction, industrial, institutional, and specializes coatings; and polyester and other chemicals for use in various products, such as inks, paintings, textiles, leather, products of pharmaceutical and personal care, and human and animal nutrition. The company also provides products and services for water handling, treatment, and storage, such as fiber reinforced polyester glass, tanks, rehabilitation of pipes, and project management.”