Finance, Latin America, News, Small Hydro

EPM receives no offers in first phase of sale of 19-MW Rio Aures hydroelectric project

Colombia’s Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) received no offers in the first stage of its public offering of shares in the 19-MW Rio Aures hydroelectric project, the company said in a regulatory filing. 

More than 2.5 million shares priced at 2,105 pesos (US$0.62) each were made available to Rio Aures workers, former staff and pensioners during the opening phase, which ended Dec. 30, according to BNamericas. 

EPM has said it hopes to raise 5.43 billion pesos from the operation – equivalent to 33% of the project’s share capital – as part of a wider plan to sell non-core assets worth up to US$1 billion. 

EPM is offloading non-core assets to help bankroll emergency measures for the embattled 2.4-GW Ituango project. In a separate filing on Tuesday, the utility said it completed the divestment process for a minority stake in gas pipeline operator Promioriente, without providing details. 

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.

Cost overruns associated with the project, originally budgeted at US$3.5 billion, could surpass US$1 billion.