Ecopetrol: First Tranche of Share Sale August 27

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol will start selling up to 20% of its shares on August 27, a company official told BNamericas.

"The minister of mines assured us yesterday [Mar 15] the schedule for the Ecopetrol [sale] shows the first tranche will start on August 27 not August 23," a public affairs official said in an email.

Colombian press reports on Thursday had the sale starting August 23. The company had previously promised to schedule the sale at some point during the third quarter.

The first tranche has been set aside for the "solidarity" sector of the economy, which includes current and former workers, beneficiaries, pension funds and cooperatives.

In related news, the company selected US law firm Shearman & Sterling to act as an adviser for the sales process.

However, Ecopetrol has yet to select the investment bank that will carry out the sales' financial engineering.

Colombia's congress last year approved a bill that allowed for changes in Ecopetrol's structure, opening the door to the sale.

The company plans to use the money from the sale to fund vast expansion plans, which focus on E&P expansion, refinery upgrades and the fostering of growth in the ethanol and biofuels field.

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