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Isagen Slumps on Ruling as Uribe Fights Stake Sale: Bogota Mover

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Isagen SA tumbled after a Colombian tribunal gave the government five days to answer a demand from former President Alvaro Uribe to halt the sale of its majority stake in the hydropower producer for at least $2.3 billion.

The shares dropped 2.6 percent to 2,980 pesos at 2:36 p.m. in Bogota, the biggest decline on a closing basis since June 6. The stock was the worst performer after Canacol Energy Ltd. on the Colcap index, which lost 0.4 percent. Isagen’s shares soared yesterday to a record 3,060 pesos.

“The big driver behind Isagen’s move has been the stake sale so that has investors worried,” Daniel Escobar, the head analyst at Global Securities brokerage, said in a telephone interview from Bogota.

An administrative tribunal for the Cundinamarca province commented in a ruling signed yesterday by Magistrate Luis Manuel Lasso Lozano. Uribe said in a Twitter posting on July 30 that he opposes the sale because Isagen is “needed to guarantee electric infrastructure.”

The government is seeking to sell its 57.66 percent stake in Isagen for a minimum of 2,850 pesos a share, valuing the holding at least 4.5 trillion pesos ($2.3 billion). Colombia sold a portion of its stake in an initial public offering in 2007.

“We demonstrated irreparable and immediacy of the harm if Isagen is sold,” Guillermo Rodriguez, a lawyer working on the case led by Uribe, said in a posting on his Twitter account.

Isagen fell 5.9 percent earlier today as Rodriguez said in the Twitter posting that the tribunal suspended the stake sale as a “cautionary measure.” Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said in Bogota “there has been no such suspension.” A spokesman for Uribe didn’t answer a call seeking comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christine Jenkins in Bogota at cjenkins28@bloomberg.net; Oscar Medina in Bogota at omedinacruz@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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