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Colombia’s Grupo Argos to ‘seriously’ Consider Finding a Strategic Partner

BOGOTA, June 20 (Reuters) – Grupo Argos (ARG.CN), Colombia’s largest industrial conglomerate, on Tuesday said it will focus “seriously” on finding a strategic partner once it concludes an exchange of shares in the country’s largest producer of processed foods, Grupo Nutresa (NCH.CN).

Last week Grupo Argos reached a deal with businesses forming part of Grupo Gilinski, a conglomerate owned by Jaime Gilinski, one of Colombia’s richest men, and Arab partners including IHC Capital Holding to exchange shares in Grupo Nutresa for its own shares and others of Grupo SURA (SIS.CN).

Nutresa, Grupo SURA and Grupo Argos form part of Colombia’s largest conglomerate GEA, a loose organization of more than 100 firms which is held together by associated companies holding shares in each other.

Analysts say the agreement between Grupo Argos and Grupo Gilinski could end Gilinski’s attempts to seize stakes in Grupo Argos and Grupo SURA via public takeover bids, which generated legal disputes between the parties.

“The option of (working with) some partners is one that we are seriously considering,” Grupo Argos President Jorge Mario Velasquez said during a virtual press conference.

When the deal with Grupo Gilinski closes, Grupo Argos is forecast to hold a controlling stake of close to 70% in Grupo SURA.

The search for potential partners will take place as quickly as finalizing the agreement with Grupo Gilinski allows, Velasquez said.

Grupo Argos will be cautious in its search, he said, adding that a potential partner would have to be willing to pay its fair share in investments and have a clear vision for the future and potential of the companies involved.

Since the end of 2021, Grupo Argos has worked to list some of the assets of its Cementos Argos subsidiary on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), as well as consolidate investments subsidary Odinsa’s highway and airport concessions, energy, and real estate assets in a single vehicle, also ahead of a possible listing on the NYSE.

Source : Reuters