Colombian Banking Group Grupo Aval Raises $1.26B at IPO

Colombian banking group Grupo Aval SA (NYSE:AVAL) raised $1.26 billion, more than expected, from its initial public offering in New York on Tuesday, and plans to use the funds to bolster its banks' capital.

The offer was priced at $13.50 per American Depositary Share for the sale of 81.48 million ADSs.

The shares debuted on Wall Street with a 0.96 percent price rise to $13.63 per ADS.

Each ADS represents 20 preferred shares. They began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday under the ticker "AVAL."

The offer was above the $1.1 billion the company had originally predicted.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co, Citigroup Global Markets Inc and Morgan Stanley & Co LLC are underwriting the offering.

Funds raised by the sale will be used to support the company's banking entities, which include Banco de Bogota, Banco Popular, Banco de Occidente, Banco AV Villas, financial entity Corficolombiana and pension fund Porvenir, Grupo Aval said.

The company is Colombia's largest banking group and is controlled by the country's richest man, Luis Carlos Sarmiento, who holds about 95 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Sarmiento, estimated to be worth $16.9 billion according to Forbes, derives most of his wealth from his holding in the company.

(Reporting By Sudarshan Varadhan and Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)