A Colombian court ordered the temporary suspension of the government’s $2.2 billion sale of Isagen SA, the operator of the nation’s largest hydropower plant.
The Council of State ordered the Finance Ministry to halt its auction of the government’s 57.6 percent stake in the Medellin-based power company, which had been scheduled to take place May 19, while it rules on three cases relating to the sale.
Engie, the French energy company formerly known as GDF Suez SA, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Chile’s Colbun SA all presented a 100 billion pesos ($42 million) bid security, qualifying them to take part in the auction.
The government of President Juan Manuel Santos had earmarked funds from the Isagen sale to help fund a $25 billion highway program. Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said in a newspaper column published Wednesday that the government will get at least 5.3 trillion pesos from the sale.
Isagen shares have gained 16 percent over the last six months, the biggest gain on Colombia’s benchmark Colcap index. The Council of State said in an e-mailed statement that the suspension was to prevent “eventual damage to the public interest” if the court later finds that the acts that authorized the sale are invalid.