August 31, 2016 / 1:13 AM / 2 years ago

Goldman interested in financing Colombia's Magdalena project -govt

BOGOTA, Aug 30 (Reuters) - - U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs has expressed interest in financing a project to make Colombia’s Magdalena River more navigable, the government said on Tuesday.

Cormagdalena, the government agency supervising work on the project, said it received a letter from Goldman Sachs “expressing interest in executing the financing for the project.”

No additional details were provided by Cormagdalena. Officials for the Colombian government and Goldman were not immediately available for further comment.

Work on deepening the river is run by the Navelena consortium, which includes Colombia’s Valorcon and Brazil’s Odebrecht. The project hit a snag in May when Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest engineering conglomerate, said it would relinquish 50 to 75 percent of its participation in the group.

Odebrecht pulled out in a bid to preserve the credibility of the project as it faces corruption allegations in Brazil, Cormagdalena said at the time.

It has yet to find someone to take over the stake.

The project contract allows Odebrecht to pass the majority of its 87 percent stake in Navelena to another firm, in extraordinary circumstances.

The Magdalena project, valued at 2.5 trillion Colombian pesos, is set to increase cargo transport on the river to some 10 million tonnes by 2029, in a bid to reduce freight costs and aid exports by commodities producers and agricultural companies. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta, writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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