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Odebrecht wins auction for part of key Brazil highway

28 november 2013, 13:20
Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Brazilian construction group Odebrecht. ©Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil
Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Brazilian construction group Odebrecht. ©Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil
Engineering giant Odebrecht on Wednesday won the right to operate a 855-kilometer (534-mile) stretch of highway in Brazil's key central grain-producing region of Mato Grosso, AFP reports according to authorities.

The Sao Paulo stock exchange said Odebrecht prevailed in the auction for a 30-year concession for a section of highway BR-163, offering a toll some 52 per cent under the maximum price set by the government.

It was the second time in less than a week that Odebrecht won a major auction.

Last week it teamed up with Singapore airport operator Changi to pay 19 billion reais ($8.24 billion) for a 25-year concession to run Rio's Galeao airport.

The BR-163 highway is the main distribution channel for the harvest of the center-west region, a major producer of soybean and livestock. But it is heavily congested and the scene of frequent accidents.

The concession aims to double the highway's capacity in both directions, with investments of more than $2 billion.

Seven companies took part in the auction, which marked a new step in the federal government's ambitious plan to earmark $58 billion for the construction and renovation of highways and rail links.

According to the Transport National Confederation, Brazil has 1.7 million kilometers (1 million miles) of highways, of which only 202,000 kilometers are asphalted.

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