Panama eyes long-term solution to financial dispute with multinational consortium

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-24 11:12:52

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and a multinational construction consortium in charge of canal expansion agreed Thursday on a negotiation protocol for a long-term solution to their financial dispute threatening to stall the expansion.

In a statement released in Panama City, Grupo Unidos por el Canal de Panama (GUPC), which includes Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso, Italy's Impregilo, and Belgium's Jan de Nul and Panama's CUSA, said that an agreement was reached on an integral commitment to finish the expansion after two days of talks.

In the statement, the Spanish-led consortium said both parties agreed to hold talks until Feb. 1 to find a long-term solution to the dispute.

According to the statement, the proposal for a negotiation mechanism was initially made on Tuesday during a meeting at ACP's headquarters in Panama City, along with an initiative to devise a new joint financing scheme.

"The protocol also includes talks for complete solutions, including a co-financing proposal involving ACP, GUPC and Zurich Insurance Group," said the statement.

At the end of 2013, GUPC threatened to halt expansion work on Jan. 20, unless the ACP paid an additional 1.6 billion US dollars to cover cost overruns.

The consortium blamed the overruns on faulty geotechnical studies carried out by the APC prior to the expansion.

The ACP offered to add more money to keep the project going, but both sides have so far failed to agree on the amount.

Posted in: Americas

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