June 21, 2018 / 4:28 PM / 6 months ago

Colombia's Ecopetrol to pre-pay nearly $156 mln in debt

BOGOTA, June 21 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol will pre-pay nearly $156 million of international debt guaranteed by the Export–Import Bank of the United States, the company said on Thursday.

The July payment is possible because of the company’s robust cash position, which is allowing it to manage crude price volatility and take on growth opportunities, Ecopetrol said in a statement to the financial regulator.

The credit, taken out in 2013, was due to be paid off in 2023.

“This anticipated payment is in line with the objectives for our 2020 business plan and confirms Ecopetrol’s commitment to its credit rating and an increase in returns for its shareholders,” the statement said.

Ecopetrol, which produces some 60 percent of Colombia’s oil, reported that its net profit surged nearly 200 percent in the first quarter, thanks to efficiencies and higher crude prices.

The company also took advantage of available cash in April to pre-pay $350 million worth of 5-year international bonds.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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