The Colombian government plans to sell as much as 15% of state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol SA to finance construction of new roads and other projects in the country, Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga said Wednesday.
The Energy and Mines Minister Hernan Martinez is currently drafting a bill to be sent to Congress that would allow the government to sell as much as 15%, up from the 10% previously announced, Zuluaga said.
“There is a group of legislators ready to support the proposal,” Zuluaga told reporters.
The Colombian government owns 89.9% of Ecopetrol, and the remainder floats on the local stock market after the company sold a 10.1% in an initial public offering in 2007 to raise fresh capital to speed up its investment program.
The company has been allowed by Congress to sell another 9.9% in new shares to raise fresh capital. Ecopetrol’s Chief Executive Javier Gutierrez has said the company won’t sell before late 2010 or 2011.
Shares of Ecopetrol ended 1% down at 2,605 Colombian pesos ($1.33), while the benchmark IGBC stock index fell 1.1%.
A 15% stake in Ecopetrol would be worth about COP16 trillion at current market price. (Dow Jones)