December 18, 2016 / 2:09 PM / 2 years ago

Chile's Colbun to consider investments in Argentina, CEO tells paper

SANTIAGO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chilean electric utility Colbun SA has begun looking at investment opportunities in Argentina as part of its strategy to boost its international presence, the company’s chief executive officer told newspaper El Mercurio in an interview published on Sunday.

“We are looking at opportunities outside of Chile,” Colbun CEO Thomas Keller told the newspaper. “We continue with a clear focus on countries like Peru and Colombia, but we are also beginning to look at Argentina.”

Colbun, one of Chile’s largest energy generators, has a plan to invest between $1.8 and $2.1 billion to build hydroelectric plants in Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, and buy foreign assets. It began its move abroad when it entered the Peruvian market a year ago.

Keller said the company would focus on acquisitions and not immediately on developing new projects.

Since taking office one year ago, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has passed several market-friendly reforms after more than a decade of populist rule and unorthodox economic policies. Macri is seeking to attract foreign investment to revive growth in the recession-stricken economy.

“One of the characteristics of that market that makes it interesting is the push for change in the macroeconomic and political-regulatory realms, but also a clear need to increase energy capacity,” Keller said. (Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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