Colombia creates $4.63 bln holding company for some state-tied companies

BOGOTA, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Colombia’s finance ministry said on Monday it has created the Grupo Bicentenario, a holding company comprising some of the companies in which the state has participation with a total capital of 15.8 trillion pesos ($4.63 billion).

The conglomerate will be the country’s third-largest, the ministry said, after privately-owned Grupo Aval and Grupo Bancolombia, and will include 16 companies with assets of around 80 trillion pesos.

Grupo Bicentenario will include agrarian bank Banco Agrario, export bank Bancoldex and other financial entities.

The conglomerate will improve the management of state assets, boost efficiency and provide better portfolio management, the government says.

“What we want to do is consolidate a portfolio of services, a portfolio of products,” finance vice-minister Luis Alberto Londono told reporters.

Colombia holds stakes in some 105 businesses, including oil company Ecopetrol. The government has ruled out the sale of some stakes to fund next year’s budget because of central bank profits and larger tax collection.

$1 = 3,410.77 Colombian pesos Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Carlos Vargas Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bill Berkrot