QUITO/SAO PAULO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The city of Quito, Ecuador, on Tuesday awarded a $1.5 billion contract to build part of its metro to a consortium led by Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA and Spain’s Acciona SA.
The project was auctioned to the lowest costing bidder after several delays as the Andean city struggled to obtain financing for Ecuador’s first metro.
Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest engineering firm, said in a statement it would sign the contract, worth $1.72 billion, once taxes are accounted for, within 60 days.
The deal came as Odebrecht’s CEO and other senior executives are in jail in Brazil, facing trial for corruption. Brazilian prosecutors say the family-run conglomerate may have led what they call a cartel of engineering firms that allegedly overcharged state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA and used the excess funds to bribe politicians and executives.
Odebrecht denies the accusations. The conglomerate accounts for nearly three-quarters of infrastructure built by Brazilian companies abroad. Authorities in Colombia, Panama and Peru are collaborating with Brazil or also investigating potential corruption in Odebrecht projects.
Mauricio Anderson, manager of Metro Quito, said he saw no problem with Odebrecht winning the contract in Ecuador as four multi-lateral lenders had evaluated the entire process and had no objections.
The Quito mayor’s office is financing 63 percent of the project with support from the Interamerican Development Bank, the World Bank and others.
Acciona had previously been awarded a contract for the first phase of the metro project. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Dan Grebler)