September 4, 2019 / 6:10 PM / 3 months ago

Colombia to launch $23.2 billion holding company for state-run businesses

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia in November will launch a $23.2 billion holding company comprising 19 companies in which the government has stakes, including banks focused on agriculture and exports, to boost efficiency and improve portfolio management, it said on Wednesday.

The effort follows recommendations for better governance from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which Colombia joined last year, the finance ministry said in a statement.

The 80 trillion peso conglomerate will also include three financial trusts and insurance businesses, and is aimed at reducing duplication and improving service, the finance ministry added.

Colombia’s capital market requires a long list of reforms to attract new investors but change may be difficult as the government wrestles with limited congressional backing, experts and executives have said.

Colombia has stakes in some 105 businesses and is considering selling some holdings to raise funding. The government has not yet provided information about which companies it may divest from.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Richard Chang

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