The government of Colombia is looking to sell its 32.5% stake in Telefonica’s local unit Coltel for COP2.3 trillion ($791 million).
The country’s finance ministry confirmed that the sale will be open until 3rd October. 1.1 billion shares are being made available at a price of COP2,075 each, and will initially be offered to special interest groups before bidding is opened up to local and foreign investors.
Telefonica moved into Colombia in 2006 with the acquisition of a 50% stake in Coltel for $369 million. It has increased its holding in 2012 with a further investment of $670 million and now owns the remaining 67.5% in the unit. The operator was merged with Telefonica’s Movistar Colombia and uses the latter’s branding.
In 2017, the Colombian government and Telefonica agreed a €1.37 billion boost to Cotel’s capital to clear the operator’s debt. This was further increased by €472 million later on in the year after the operator was issued an arbitration fine for violating a government contract.
Movistar Colombia is the second largest operator in the market – behind America Movil’s Claro Colombia - with 15 million connections at the end of Q2, according to GSMA Intelligence.