Colombia Reports

(Image credit: Claudia Lopez)

Colombia has temporarily suspended the sale of the country’s third largest energy company, Isagen, to consider allegations that the sale would be a misuse of public resources.

The Colombian government has, for the past several years, attempted to sell its 57.6% stake in the company to raise money for infrastructure projects that the country desperately needs.

Colombia seeks to sell Isagen stake, hopes to generate $2.4B for infrastructure

The latest obstacle to the sale has been a suspension imposed by magistrate Hugo Bastida Barcenas of the Council of State, the suspension based on claims that the Colombian government will sell their stake in the company for too little.

Critics also highlight that nearly $1.6 billion was recently invested in the company to increase the capacity of the seven power generators currently operated by Isagen. As the government is only hoping to sell for $2.1 billion, many claim the sale would not be an adequate return on investment.

Others, however, draw attention to the gaps in the government budget and crumbling infrastructure as reason enough to expedite the sale.

The main beneficiary of the sale of Isagen would be the highway system in Colombia, long criticized as inflating the cost of doing business in Colombia due to its subpar quality and lack of extension.

Proponents of the sale also argue that, if the government delays too long, the Chilean, Canadian, and French companies currently set to bid on the stake may withdraw and leave the government without crucial funds.

Barcenas, in an email, explained that he expects a definitive sentence to come down in two or three months, enough time in his mind to explore the issues of “medium complexity” that have arisen in this matter.

Sources

Gobierno prepara defensa jurídica de la venta de Isagén (El Tiempo)

Colombia Court Sees Ruling on $2.1 Billion Isagen Sale by August (Bloomberg)

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