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Aval May Sell $1.3 Billion of Shares in Colombia Offering

Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA, the Colombian banking group controlled by billionaire Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, said it may sell about 2.4 trillion pesos ($1.3 billion) of shares in Bogota.

Grupo Aval’s board considered the share sale in a meeting yesterday and authorized the company to start getting the necessary approvals, according to regulatory filing late yesterday. Aval is seeking to raise capital and bolster its finances after agreeing to make three acquisitions since December for $1.4 billion.

The shares fell 4 percent to 1,315 pesos at the close of trading in Bogota, the biggest drop in two years. It was the worst performance on Colombia’s benchmark Colcap index, which declined 0.9 percent.

“The amount was surprising,” Juan C. Dominguez, an analyst at Credicorp Capital’s Colombia unit, said in a telephone interview. “It seems pretty high if you compare it to the purchases they’ve made.”

Aval has pledged to buy at least $500 million of shares in a separate capital raise planned for November by Banco de Bogota SA, the biggest of its four banks.

The group said today in a filing that it’s withdrawing a registration with U.S. regulators to sell shares in New York. Chief Executive Officer Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutierrez, Sarmiento Angulo’s son, told reporters Sept. 27 that while Aval was prepared to go forward with the sale in New York, the markets weren’t cooperating.

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