Goldman Sachs wins bid to build Mexican toll roads

| 8/7/2007

Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners is part of a team that bid $4.1 billion to finance the construction of 340 miles of toll roads in Mexico, the Mexican government reported.

Mexico’s communications and transportation ministry has rolled out the welcome mat to private investors as part of a campaign to build new roads and pay off debts on existing failed toll roads.

Goldman Sachs and Mexican construction company Empresas ICA bid $4.1 billion U.S. for the right to build and operate four toll roads totaling 548 kilometers – about 340 miles – in central Mexico. The consortium agreed to maintain the roads for 30 years, at which time they will be returned to the government.

The government will use part of the proceeds for paying off debts and liabilities on failed toll road projects from the 1990s, Transportation Minister Luis Tellez said during a press conference this week. Funds will also go toward completion of a government-built highway from Mazatlan to Durango.

Goldman Sachs and Empresas ICA will pay the Mexican government in October when the contract takes effect. The contract was the first privatization deal awarded under President Felipe Calderon.

Losing bids came from Mexican construction company IDEAL, Spanish toll operator Abertis, Spanish bank Caja Madrid and Spanish builder Obrascon Huarte Lain.

The government promised more announcements related to privatization, including a toll road proposal to be announced by the end of 2007.