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Colombia Probes Petrominerales Trades Before Pacific Deal

Colombia opened an investigation into Petrominerales Ltd.’s record share price gain before the announcement of a takeover by Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp.

The Superintendencia Financiera, as the country’s securities regulator is known, is seeking information from Calgary-based Petrominerales and its prospective buyer Pacific, as well as exchanges in Bogota and Toronto, the agency said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions.

Petrominerales rose a record 18 percent Sept. 27, while Pacific fell in Bogota as the two crude producers were put on trading halt in Toronto pending news. They disclosed the C$935 million ($909 million) acquisition agreement two days later.

The probe aims to “clarify the circumstances in which transactions were carried out on the exchange,” the regulator said yesterday.

Pacific said it would answer any questions from the regulator, and the Toronto stock exchange declined to comment, in e-mailed responses to questions. Petrominerales and the Bogota stock exchange didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

Under the deal, Pacific has agreed to buy light-oil producer Petrominerales for C$935 million in cash as the world’s fastest-growing major crude producer seeks to reduce transport costs in Colombia. The total value of the deal, including net debt, is about C$1.6 billion, Petrominerales said.

Petrominerales stockholders will receive C$11 a share and one share in a newly formed exploration and production company.

Pacific shares fell 3.4 percent to 37,460 pesos in Bogota yesterday, while Petrominerales surged another 36 percent to 21,500 pesos. In Toronto, Petrominerales closed at C$11.70.

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