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Bancolombia May Opt for $1 Billion Share Sale, Santander Says

Bancolombia SA, the Andean country’s largest bank, may raise $1 billion in a share sale to meet stricter capital requirements and fund acquisitions, Banco Santander SA said.

Bancolombia needs cash to meet so-called Basel III bank capital rules and to complete its purchase of a stake in a Guatemalan lender through Agromercantil Holding, Santander analysts Boris Molina and Luis Guzman wrote in a report late yesterday. The bank’s capital ratios may fall in the second half of the year to levels “too low for management’s comfort,” they said.

Bancolombia shareholders are scheduled to consider a share sale proposal at a March 4 meeting, according to a regulatory filing on Feb. 8. The filing didn’t specify the sale’s size.

The Medellin-based bank declined to comment on Santander’s report. “For the moment, it’s a request for authorization from the shareholders’ meeting for the issuance,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

The preferred shares rose 0.7 percent to 30,200 pesos at 12:31 p.m. in Bogota, after dropping 3.2 percent yesterday.

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