Pension Funds Mull Investing in Ecopetrol

Colombia's six pension fund managers, the AFPs, might present a bid in the upcoming auction of a 20% stake in state oil company Ecopetrol, daily La Republica quoted pension fund association Asofondos president Luis Fernando Alarcon as saying.

Last week, Colombia's government approved the sale of up to 20% of Ecopetrol to attract investment and increase oil output.

Under Colombia's privatization law, companies being sold off have to be offered first to the country's so-called solidarity sector consisting of pension funds, unions and cooperatives.

Earlier this month, the AFPs won the bid for a 97.2% stake in state-owned gas transport company Ecogas for 750bn pesos (US$285mn). Back then, Alarcon told BNamericas Asofondos was seeking to find a strategic partner to administer Ecogas' network within one month.

Colombian AFPs had some 39.3tn pesos in assets under management at end-April.

The market is dominated by locally owned companies Porvenir and Proteccion, which are controlled by the country's largest financial holding companies Grupo Aval and Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno (GEA) respectively.

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