Mexican builder ICA mulls expansion of homebuilding unit-sources

lunes 13 de abril de 2015 11:52 GYT

MEXICO CITY, April 13 (Reuters) - Mexican construction firm ICA is exploring strategies to expand its presence in the home construction market, two sources said, taking advantage of financial woes that have felled the sector's top players.

Geo, Homex and Urbi collapsed last year under heavy debt loads and slumping sales of their cheap, single-unit homes in developments often far from city centers.

The companies are trying to restructure their debt, but their troubles have opened the field to other players such as ICA and Mexican homebuilder Javer, which said last month it was seeking to raise 3 billion to 3.5 billion pesos in an initial public offering.

ICA, which has struggled with its own debt burden, said on Monday that it had teamed up with Canada's second-largest pension fund, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, to run transport projects in Mexico. Caisse will put up 3 billion Mexican pesos ($196.19 million) for a 49 percent stake in the vehicle, which will start with four of ICA's highway projects. The news sent ICA's shares up more than 7 percent in morning trading.

ICA is also considering seeking financing to expand its ViveICA homebuilder, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, after the government announced new fiscal stimulus last month to revive the sector.

One of the sources said that financing options could include finding a partner, issuing debt, seeking capital or offering stock.

ICA declined to comment.

In 2013, ICA and Javer announced they had terminated an agreement in which ICA planned to sell assets to Javer in exchange for a 23 percent stake in the local developer.

ViveICA produced at least 5,000 homes per year over the last four years, one of the sources said. ($1 = 15.2914 Mexican pesos) (Reporting By Alexandra Alper and Gabriela Lopez, Additional Reporting by Christine Murray,; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)