BUENOS AIRES, May 17 (Reuters) - Argentina said on Thursday that the combined lowest bids to modernize highways through public-private partnerships had come in 33 percent under the $8 billion investment initially expected by the government.
The projects are for six high-traffic highways over four years, the Transportation Ministry said in a statement. The winning bids will be announced in June, the ministry said.
“To choose the winners in the tender, we’ll assess the best combination of offers by highway ... those that represent the lowest cost for the government,” the statement said.
The road auctions were the first wave of a total of $26.5 billion in public-private investment planned through 2022, an effort by President Mauricio Macri to beef up Argentina’s infrastructure while holding down its deficit.
The government said 32 bids had come from 10 consortia representing seven foreign and 19 Argentine companies. Each group of businesses can win as many as two projects, the ministry said.
Bidders included a unit of Argentina’s Grupo Techint and the Portuguese construction firm Mota Engil, among others.
Techint bid $4.2 billion for three of the highway projects, while Argentine construction firms Benito Roggio and Jose Chediak offered $9.4 billion for five projects. A consortium of MSU Infrastructure, UCSA and Inversiones PPP bid $7.534 billion for four of the projects. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi y Maximiliano Rizzi, writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Grant McCool)