Spanish Billionaire Cortina Joins Venezuelans in Rubiales Tussle

(Bloomberg) -- Spanish billionaire Alberto Cortina has made his first foray into oil, joining a group of Venezuelan investors to demand a better buyout price for Colombian producer Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp.

Cortina’s Cinainvest Holding SA declared in Canadian filings Monday that it owns 500,000 Pacific Rubiales shares. That would bring the stake owned by a group led by Venezuelan investor Alejandro Betancourt to 19.18 percent, according to Bloomberg calculations based on previous filings. The group opposes a planned C$6.50 ($5.43) a share bid for the Toronto- listed oil company from Mexico’s Alfa SAB and energy investor Harbour Energy Ltd. that was disclosed last week.

“I’m here to support Alejandro,” Cortina said by telephone from Dakar on Tuesday. “I’m a fireman. Whenever there’s a problem around the world, I go there to sort it out for my partners.”

Pacific Rubiales jumped 43 percent last week to a four- month high after saying it was in exclusive talks with Alfa and Harbour. The bid is 73 percent below a 2014 peak. The stock fell 2.6 percent to C$5.99 at 1:02 p.m. in Toronto.

Cortina said he invested with Betancourt in projects ranging from Europe to Africa since around 2010.

“I’m always a long-term investor, never a speculator,” he said. “This is a marvelous opportunity.”

Pacific Rubiales, operator of Colombia’s largest oil field, wants to complete negotiations with Alfa and Harbour as soon as possible and views the $1.7 billion offer as “reasonable,” General Counsel Peter Volk said last week.


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