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By Alexandra Alper
MEXICO CITY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Mexico’s embattled ICA plans to launch a venture with assets from the construction firm’s homebuilder unit ViveICA and a 1.5 billion peso ($84 million) investment from real estate group Nemesis Capital, a person familiar with the matter said.
The venture is part of ICA’s efforts to boost liquidity after soaring debts and flagging cashflow pushed Mexico’s largest construction firm into default in December.
ICA said earlier on Wednesday it had agreed to a venture related to ViveICA with an investor, but did not name Nemesis Capital. The deal will not increase cashflow, it said.
ICA is also working to reduce costs and plans to lay off around 1,000 people in total via cuts spanning 2015 and this year, the person familiar with the measures said.
ICA declined further comment. Nemesis, a Mexican business involved in commercial, residential and industrial property development, did not reply to requests for comment.
The deal with Nemesis could be formalized this week, the person added.
ICA sharpened its focus on asset sales last year and announced it would not pay $31 million due on an interest payment at the end of November. The company said it aimed to draw up an initial restructuring plan by mid-February.
Reuters reported in December that ICA sold its 49 percent stake in an environmental waste firm for around 1.2 billion pesos to a trust run by prominent Mexican businessman Fernando Chico Pardo.
But it is unclear if the sales will be enough to right the company, whose net debt reached 51.147 billion pesos ($2.97 billion) at the close of the third quarter - almost nine times its earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization.
ICA has interest payments due of $6 million on Jan. 24 and $22.25 million on Feb. 4. ($1 = 17.8045 Mexican pesos) (Additional reporting by Gabriela Lopez and Elinor Comlay; Editing by Andrew Hay)