Suramericana to sell US$2.1bn shares by early Nov to fund ING deal

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Despite market turmoil, Colombia's Grupo Suramericana will sell US$2.1bn of preferred shares in late October or early November "at the latest" to finance the acquisition of Dutch group ING's (NYSE: ING) Latin American pension, life insurance and investment management operations, the holding's finance VP, Andrés Bernal, told BNamericas.

Suramericana's 2.68bn-euro (US$3.9bn) purchase was announced in July and will be funded through a combination of cash, debt, shares and the incorporation of international funds as minority shareholders.

The success of Colombian supermarket chain Almacenes Éxito's US$1.33bn share issue earlier this week, which saw investor demand surpass US$2bn, is a strong sign that the domestic market and foreign investors are eager to buy equity from local corporations, the executive said.

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Bernal said he expects "a large chunk" of the issue to be acquired by foreign shareholders.

The ING purchase was the largest ever by a Colombian company and includes 14 companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, with combined assets of US$70bn as of end-2010 and net income of more than US$275mn.

It will also more than double Grupo Suramericana's customer base to 25mn. The acquired companies will be integrated with Suramericana's existing operations in 2012.