Colombia kicking off sale of Coltel stake

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Colombia's finance ministry will launch the sale of the government's 32.5% stake in Colombia Telecomunicaciones (Coltel) on Friday.

In July, the government announced it would carry out the process in two stages. The first is a public offering of the government's 1.1bn shares to special interest groups like current and former employees and unions. The price per share has been set at 2.075 pesos.

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The expectation is that only a small number of shares will be snapped up during the first stage, with the majority being sold during the second stage, when the offering will be extended to the local and international market. The first stage will run until October 3.

The government believes it can raise 2.3tn pesos (US$800mn) from the sale. Fitch has rated Coltel 'BB'/stable.

Telefónica owns 51.5% of Coltel while Latin America Cellular Holdings has 8%.

Last month, media reported that Telefónica is not interested in increasing its stake.

When the government was auctioning a 50% stake in Coltel in 2006, Telefónica beat Claro's bid by offering US$370mn.

In 2012, Telefónica merged its mobile unit Movistar with Coltel resulting in a 70% stake in the new company. But over the years Movistar reduced its share.

The Colombian state currently has direct stakes in 109 companies in the transport, energy, finance and oil industries and is seeking to offload some of its interests due to the administrative workload.