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Isagen Declines as Doubts About Stake Sale Fester: Bogota Mover

Isagen SA, Colombia’s third-largest energy producer, slumped to a one-month low on growing doubts that the government will be able to complete a plan to sell its majority stake.

The shares slid 3 percent to 2,900 pesos at 12:35 p.m. in Bogota, poised for the lowest closing price since Aug. 12. The decline was the worst performance on the Colcap index, which was down 0.8 percent.

Speculation is building that the sale won’t happen or will be further delayed amid opposition to the plan from former President Alvaro Uribe, who says fully privatizing the company would make electricity service less reliable. Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said July 29 that 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 ($2.4 billion). Cardenas had previously said the first round of the sale would start the last week of August.

“Investors are getting tired,” Juan David Ballen, an analyst at Alianza Valores SA brokerage, said in a telephone interview from Bogota. “There’s a lot of noise in the market, a lack of clarity of what will end up happening, and it’s just getting more delayed.”

Isagen said in a Sept. 5 regulatory filing that an administrative tribunal notified the government of a demand by Uribe to halt the sale and that it had 10 days to answer. Uribe said in a Twitter posting on July 30 that he opposes the sale because Isagen is “needed to guarantee electric infrastructure.”

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