The Group’s business started in the 1950s when Mr. Piero Coen Montealegre planted his first cotton fields, at the early age of 14, in his place of birth, Chinandega, Nicaragua. He diversified his activities founding, “Casa Coen” in 1960, a company that was later known as “Agroquímicos Nicaragua,” distributing fertilizers and agrochemicals. Subsequently Piero started the firm “Coen-Guerra-Munguía,” which focused on crop growing and related activities. Before the beginning of the revolution, Piero had become the main cotton producer in Central America, a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit he was imbued with, despite his humble origins.
Looking for new horizons, between 1980 and 1990, the Coen family lived in exile and while abroad, they entered the financial services industry by starting a currency exchange business and a micro-credit pilot project. They also endeavored into the money transfer business by acquiring exclusive representation of Western Union in five Central American countries and becoming one of this company’s main exclusive agents in the world.
During the ’90s the Coen Family returned to Nicaragua, where they once again turned to agribusiness. Recognizing the significant productive value of the lands in their native Chinandega, they invested in real estate and infrastructure for agricultural development. They engaged in intensive sugar cane growing to supply sugar mills, and plantain production for export. As for cattle, they started breeding and raising bovines, and soon became the largest producer in the America’s northern hemisphere. In addition, they started Andalusian and Lusitano horse breeding, combining equestrian art schools with a breeding and genetic improvement center.
The Nicaragua-based Coen Group, with a footprint that covers the whole of Central America, is today an example of the new breed of responsible, sound and diversified business conglomerates that not only seek their own development, but also that of the citizens and the nations where it conducts its business.
In line with its philosophy of contributing to integrated development, in 2003 the Coen Group established the Coen Foundation, an organization that develops successful value-adding programs with strong impact on human wellbeing and development in the communities it serves. At present, the Foundation implements programs in the areas of Education, Health, Environment, Culture and Social Protection.
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