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Going flat.

The sale of Colombia's largest brewer, Bavaria, will make some investors richer, but one casualty in the medium term of the transaction is likely to be the country's stock market. The maker of Aguila beer accounted for an average of 10% of daffy volume over the past 6 months as investors bought and sold on rumors of the sale. U.K. global brewer SABMiller eventually bought Bavaria for US$7.8 billion in cash and stock.

Traders worry that Bavaria's sale is contributing to a general reduction in choices for those looking to invest. "This is a very hard hit for the market because it continues this trend of less options for investors to buy," says Sergio Gomez of Bogota's Acciones y Valores brokerage. The problem could be solved, to some degree, by companies at home--pointing up another fundamental problem in the market. Although the index has skyrocketed of late, most Colombian companies still raise cash by selling bonds, not equity. As a comparison, trading of the 106 companies' stocks accounts for just over 1% of the business conducted in Colombia's stock exchange, while private bonds account for 10% and public debt accounts for 81%. Juan Pablo Cordoba, president of the Colombian Stock Exchange says the main reason for the resistance is that many Colombian companies remain family affairs, so they are loath to sell a majority of the company fearing an end to family control. He hopes this is changing. "This has been the traditional problem, but slowly we are changing the minds of these companies, and they are warming up to the idea of selling stocks on the market," he says. "Our challenge is to make sure we attract new companies."
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Title Annotation:Bavaria S.A. sold to SABMiller PLC
Author:Muse, Toby
Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:3COLO
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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