Colombia regulator suspends trading in shares of Grupo SURA, Grupo Argos and Grupo Nutresa

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s financial regulator on Thursday suspended trading in shares of Grupo SURA, Grupo Argos and Grupo Nutresa, after top shareholders in the companies announced negotiations to make changes to their respective participations in the companies.

Grupo Gilinski, a conglomerate owned by Jaime Gilinski, one of Colombia’s richest men, had over the past year and a half acquired stakes in both Nutresa and Grupo SURA alongside Arab partners such as Abu Dhabi’s Royal Group and IHC Capital Holding LLC.

Grupo Gilinski on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to divest its stake in investment holding company Grupo SURA and hold at least an 87% stake in processed food producer Nutresa.

The MoU involved Aflaj Investment LLC and industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos, Nutresa said in a filing, as well as JGDB Holding SAS and Nugil SAS – both part of Gilinksi’s conglomerate.

The suspension of trading in the three companies’ shares will remain in place through June 15, the Colombian Stock Exchange said in a statement.

Nutresa, Grupo SURA and Grupo Argos are part of what is informally known as GEA, the country’s largest conglomerate made up of over a hundred firms across all sectors in a complex shareholding arrangement involving many internal partnerships.

The agreement between Gilinksi and GEA takes place amid a number of legal disputes over alleged wrongdoing during takeover bids.

Under this agreement, JGDB and Nugil would acquire a controlling stake of no less than 87% in Nutresa, the food company said in a filing.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Andrea Ricci)