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INTERVIEW-Colombia Colpatria seeking capital, partners for building, mining ops
February 14, 2017 / 7:04 PM / 10 months ago

INTERVIEW-Colombia Colpatria seeking capital, partners for building, mining ops

BOGOTA, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Colombian investment firm Colpatria is seeking capital and possible partners for its construction and mining businesses as the conglomerate expands in two of the Andean nation’s growing sectors, its president said on Tuesday.

Colpatria has interests in banking via its Banco Colpatria, pensions through Colfondos, insurance with AXA Colpatria, construction through Constructora Colpatria and gold mining via its listed Mineros.

“We have not ruled out a partner for the construction company, to repeat some of what we did with our bank and insurance companies maybe. What I‘m sure about is that we need access to additional sources of financing,” Eduardo Pacheco told Reuters in an interview at his Bogota office.

Colpatria in 2011 tapped Canada’s Scotiabank as a partner, ceding 51 percent in Banco Colpatria, and in 2013 it sold a similar amount of its insurance business to France’s AXA.

“There’s so much work in construction and what we don’t have is the money to do it all,” said Pacheco. “So one of our challenges with the construction company is how to raise capital.”

The construction unit has operations in Colombia, Peru and Mexico, where it expects to expand this year. It is also looking to enter another market this year, though he declined to say which.

Pacheco said Mineros, Colombia’s biggest gold miner, also needs to raise capital.

“We’re thinking about opening up Mineros’ capital. We have a goal of reaching 500,000 ounces (of gold production) annually, and while the purchase we made in Nicaragua was important, we need to follow that process and for that we need to open up the property,” he said.

In 2013 Mineros bought 90 percent of gold miner Hemco Nicaragua.

“I hope it’s one of the things that happens this year,” said Pacheco, who has controlled the family company since 1997, when he succeeded his father, its founder.

In banking, the focus for this year will be investment in digital channels and new technologies, he said.

Pacheco ruled out any need for additional capital in the banking business and is not considering new purchases. The company made a failed bid to buy Citibank’s Colombian operations last year. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Dan Grebler)

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