BOGOTA (Reuters) – Shares of companies in Colombia’s largest conglomerate GEA rose on Wednesday after Abu Dhabi investor International Holding Company (IHC) made a bid to buy a stake in Nutresa worth up to $2.15 billion.

Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno, or GEA, is a conglomerate of more than 100 firms, including Nutresa, many of which own significant stakes in one another.

IHC’s bid is the latest in a long saga of moves to buy back stakes in GEA companies. Jaime Gilinski, one of Colombia’s richest businessmen, bought up to 62.625% of Nutresa last year with the backing of Abu Dhabi’s Royal Group, which is the majority owner of IHC.

IHC made an offer to buy between 25% and 31.25% of Nutresa’s shares at $15 each – a 79.3% premium to Tuesday’s closing price. IHC’s bid sent shares of the conglomerate’s other companies soaring.

Shares in investment holding company Grupo SURA, GEA’s crown jewel that owns the largest stake in Nutresa, rose nearly 7% in the morning session.

Shares in industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos also rose about 7%.

“The rise in (shares of) Grupo Argos and Grupo SURA is driven by speculative market movements related to the possibility of new takeover bids for these companies,” Camilo Andres Tom├ís of brokerage Alianza Valores told Reuters.

Shares of Colombia’s largest bank Bancolombia, another GEA company, also rose 5% during the session.

Trading in shares of Nutresa, a processed food maker, was suspended following IHC’s bid, which would be worth between $1.72 billion and $2.15 billion if successful.

Grupo Gilinski, backed by Royal Group, whose chairman is Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, brother of the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, won control of 31% of Nutresa in two takeover bids last year.

The third bid was invalidated by the Colombian Stock Exchange in May of this year.

IHC is a partner of Gilinski Group, stockbrokers told Reuters. If the latest bid is successful, Grupo Gilinski will become Nutresa’s largest shareholder.

Nutresa operates in 14 countries and has 47 factories for the production of processed meat, coffee, cookies, chocolate, pasta and ice cream, as well as a number of restaurants and ice cream parlors.

The Gilinski Group also acquired a 38% stake in Grupo SURA after several bids and deals last year.

Gilinski’s bid to buy up to 32.5% of Grupo Argos was invalidated in July.

($1 = 4420.38 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Oliver Griffin; Writing by Oliver Griffin. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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