Uribe Signs Ecopetrol Partial Selloff Bill into Law

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe has signed into law a bill that allows the sale of up to 20% of state oil company Ecopetrol, government news service SNE reported.

The shares are due to become available for sale later this year. The government will retain the 80% balance.

Shares will be sold in three separate rounds.

The first two will go to pension funds, cooperatives, Ecopetrol workers and pensioners, local governments and individual Colombians. In the third round, shares will be available for institutional investors.

Individual investors cannot buy more than 2 billion pesos (US$900,000) in shares, while institutional buyers cannot acquire more than 3%.

The capitalization will allow Ecopetrol to carry out an investment plan that calls for spending close to US$2.5 billion a year, the statement said.

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