Colombian utility firm Empresa de Energia de Bogota is poised to successfully complete a stock sale later this week to finance its overseas expansion plans, the company’s chief executive said in an interview.
The company is in the process of selling 700 billion Colombian pesos ($370 million) in the Bogota stock exchange, the latest share placement by a local firm this year. EEB, as the company is known, is controlled by the municipal government of Bogota, with an 81.5% stake in the firm.
Monica de Greiff, EBB’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview Monday that “we are confident that the share placement will be very successful.”
“We’ve been studying this sale since April and we are sure it was the right time to do it,” she said.
The firm controls several energy utility firms in Colombia and is also moving to expand its operations abroad. The firm already has plans to enter Peru and Guatemala, and is also considering a natural gas transportation business in Chile, de Greiff said, without giving more details.
The company’s expansion projects calls for $956 million in new spending starting in 2012.
The share sale is slated to end on Oct. 27. The shares were priced at COP1,300, a slight discount from the company’s current share price of COP1,340.
The new share placement will give the company more liquidity in the local stock exchange, something that investors had been demanding for some time, de Greiff said.
EEB is the latest Colombian firm to issue new shares this year. The local stock exchange estimated that around $4 billion have been sold in secondary share placements this year and more are expected in the coming months.
Colombian companies have been issuing large secondary share placements this year, a move designed take advantage of the country’s growing attraction for foreign investors.
Davivienda, Colombia’s third largest bank, is carrying out a secondary share placement which could reach $420 million. Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA , Colombia’s largest financial conglomerate, is also preparing a share placement to pay for part of its $3.7 billion acquisition of the Latin American pension unit of ING Groep NV.
Despite the crowded field for new issues, de Greiff said that investors had welcomed the new share placement by EEB. “Investors know our expansion plans and they see them as a great opportunity,” she said.
EEB is also preparing to roll over for the end of this month $610 million in international bonds that were coming due in three years for a new badge of bonds with a 10 year maturity.