Colombia sells Isagen controlling stake to Brookfield for $1.99 billion

Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:25pm EST
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By Julia Symmes Cobb

BOGOTA (Reuters) - The Colombian government sold its 57.6 percent controlling stake in power generator Isagen ISG.CN to Canada's Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO: Quote) for $1.99 billion, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Wednesday.

The stake, sold at the minimum price of 6.49 trillion Colombian pesos, is the largest privatization in the country in nearly a decade.

Isagen shares were up nearly 16 percent, trading at 3,780 pesos per share. Brookfield shares were up 1.23 percent, to$41.88 Canadian dollars.

"The buyer is Brookfield Colombia Investment, part of Canadian investment fund Brookfield Asset Management," Cardenas said. "The price of the sale was 4,130 pesos per share, with which the nation will receive 6.49 trillion pesos."

The government plans to use proceeds to fund highways, bridges and tunnels across the country, its so-called 4G infrastructure projects.

"We are extremely pleased to grow our business in Colombia, an attractive market with strong long-term growth fundamentals, a highly skilled labor force and continued need for new investment," Sachin Shah, president of Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, said in a statement. Brookfield valued the sale at approximately $2.2 billion.

Brookfield has until Jan. 27 to pay for the company and take possession of the shares, a finance ministry official said. The government was advised on the sale by Credit Suisse.

The sale price was 11.1 times EBITDA and 24.2 times earnings, according to Jaime Pedroza of Credicorp Capital Research.   Continued...

General view of the Isagen building in Medellin, Colombia January 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Fredy Builes