Brazil's Odebrecht bets on Mexico, eyes oil reform

Wed Oct 2, 2013 7:42pm EDT
 
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By Ana Isabel Martinez and Elinor Comlay

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht has an $8.1 billion investment plan to expand in Mexico's petrochemical and infrastructure sectors, the chief executive of its Mexican business said on Wednesday.

"We expect strong growth in Mexico in the next few years," Luis Weyll, chief executive of Odebrecht's Mexican operation, told Reuters in an interview.

However, Odebrecht SA ODBES.UL, which had global revenue of $41 billion last year, has no plans yet to take part in any opening of Mexico's energy sector, preferring to watch from the sidelines as the government tries to overhaul the oil industry.

One of Latin America's biggest family-owned companies, most of Odebrecht's spending in Mexico is on a plant to make ethylene, a building block for plastics and textiles, Weyll said.

The company expects to spend about $4 billion on the project, including building the plant and operational costs, and it should contribute to revenue starting in 2015, he added.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's office said on Wednesday that Odebrecht plans to spend $8.1 billion in Mexico over five years.

As well as the ethylene plant, Odebrecht is building a $450 million multipurpose dam in Mexico's Veracruz state on the Gulf Coast, Weyll said. The dam will provide drinking water and hydroelectric power for the region.

Additional projects include a public-private partnership to build a highway, also in Veracruz state.   Continued...

 
Luis Weyll, chief executive of Odebrecht's Mexico unit, talks to Reuters in Mexico City October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Claudia Daut