Alfa SAB (ALFAA), the owner of Mexico’s largest publicly traded petrochemical company, said it boosted its stake in Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. (PRE) to 12.3 percent from the previously disclosed 10 percent.
Additional share purchases in the last two weeks on the Toronto Stock Exchange made Alfa the second-largest shareholder in Pacific Rubiales, surpassing Capital Group Cos., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lazard Ltd. is the biggest, with 58.7 million shares compared with Alfa’s 38.4 million.
Alfa is increasing its exposure in Bogota-based Pacific Rubiales, Latin America’s largest non-state-owned oil producer, as Mexico is seeking greater private-sector energy investment after ending a 75-year government monopoly. Alfa bought the shares “for investment purposes,” it said in a statement today, echoing language from when it revealed the size of its stake on May 20.
Alfa, which sold $1 billion in bonds in March partly to finance energy investments, is seeking to become a company of “real oilmen,” Chief Executive Officer Alvaro Fernandez said last month.
It already has an oil and gas business in the U.S., where it works with Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. Alfa, based in the Monterrey suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico, also owns petrochemical maker Alpek SAB as well as food, auto-parts and telecommunications units.
Pacific Rubiales has been investigating opportunities in Mexico for two years and would be open to a joint venture with state-run Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, Chief Executive Officer Ronald Pantin said at an investor event May 13.
Mexico ended Pemex’s state-run oil monopoly last year when President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a law to allow private companies to tap the country’s 13.44 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brendan Case in Mexico City at firstname.lastname@example.org