BOGOTA, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Colombia’s decision to delay the sale of its majority stake in power generation utility Isagen will not impact construction of highways planned by the government using the proceeds, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday.
The government, which hopes to raise about $3 billion from the sale of Colombia’s third-largest energy generator, this week postponed its privatization for as long as a year at the request of bidding companies and to drum up additional interest.
Shares of Isagen plunged almost 15 percent on Tuesday after Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas made the announcement, on concern the government would be unable to fund the construction project and that interest in the power company had been weak.
Isagen, which operates six electricity generators, had been scheduled for auction on Aug. 22.
“What was decided yesterday, not to sell Isagen in the coming days, in no way affects these truly revolutionary infrastructure plans,” said Santos of the so-called fourth generation building program.
Isagen “is a potential source of funding, but there are many sources of funding. One can be replaced with another,” he said.
There have been numerous hold-ups in the sale of Isagen, dragging through several governments. It was also halted for two months until May for a review by a judicial authority after a pressure group tried to stop the privatization. (Reporting by Monica Garcia; Writing by Helen Murphy; editing by Gunna Dickson)