Ashmore makes 2x return in a year from telecom firm

A fund managed by Ashmore Colombia has sold 100% of Lazus, a Colombian telecoms infrastructure firm, to telecoms group Columbus International.

Ashmore Colombia, an Andean private equity subsidiary of emerging markets specialist Ashmore Group, says it has made two times its money in just over a year from the sale of Lazus, formerly known as Promitel Colombia, to Barbados-based telecommunications company Columbus International.

Established in 2001, Lazus today operates metropolitan fiber optic networks in 10 cities in Colombia. It also owns and operates telecommunications systems in Panama City, Panama and San Jose, Costa Rica and has growing operations in Peru. Its fiber-based network covers 3,500 kilometres across 12 cities and a population of nearly 23 million.

Funds advised by Ashmore Colombia purchased Lazus in January 2013 from Promigas and went on to support its expansion plans within Colombia and regionally.

“We are delighted to have secured an attractive return from the sale of Lazus, representing approximately two times our investment cost, which represents an excellent return for both our fund investors and our co-investors who supported us in this transaction,” said Camilo Villaveces, president and chief executive officer of Ashmore Colombia, in a statement.

In early February, Ashmore Colombia acquired an 85 percent interest in Compania de Desarollo Aeropeurto Eldorado, the concessionaire of two runways at El Dorado Airport in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. It paid Abertis, the Spanish developer, COP132 billion (€49 million; $66 million) for the stake.

Based in Bogota, Ashmore Colombia is a subsidiary of Ashmore Group, the emerging markets investment specialist which is listed and headquartered in London and had just over $75 billion under management at the end of 2013.