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EPM in Colombia begins share offer for 19-MW Rio Aures hydroelectric unit

Colombia’s Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has launched a public offering of shares in its 19-MW Rio Aures hydroelectric unit, as it ratchets up efforts to raise at least US$1 billion from asset sales. 

BNamericas reports that more than 2.5 million shares have been made available to investors at a price of 2,105 pesos (US$0.62), EPM said in documents filed this week with Colombia’s financial regulator

EPM hopes to raise 5.43 billion pesos from the operation – equivalent to 33% of the unit’s share capital. Rio Aures SA owns a 19-MW run-of-river hydroelectric project in the Sonsón area of Colombia’s northwestern Antioquia department.

The first stage of the sale – which targets active Rio Aures workers, former staff and pensioners – will end Dec. 30.

News of the public offering came three days after EPM began the first stage of a sale of a minority stake in gas pipeline operator Promioriente.

The multi-utility is offloading non-core assets in Colombia and abroad to help bankroll emergency measures for the embattled 2.4-GW Ituango hydro project.

Construction work at Ituango – Colombia’s largest infrastructure project – was halted in April 2018 when the collapse of a water diversion tunnel forced the evacuation of 113,000 people and prompted the Antioquia regional  government to declare a state of emergency amid fears of catastrophic flooding. A series of further complications led EPM to postpone the scheduled December 2018 startup by three years in a best-case scenario.