MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico declared void a tender process in which a consortium that includes U.S. investment group BlackRock Inc <BLK.N> was the sole bidder, to build a section of one of the government’s flagship infrastructure projects, the so-called “Mayan Train”.
The 1,470-km (910-mile) train project is designed to link tourist spots and spur development on the Yucatan Peninsula at an estimated cost of $7 billion.
Deemed essential infrastructure by the government, the rail project is a top priority of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who hopes it will be a major generator of jobs in the poorer south.
Mexico’s National Fund for Tourism Promotion (Fonatur) initially planned to announce the decision on Aug. 31, but said it needed more time to analyze the proposal from BlackRock and its partners.
“As with other projects, we participated in this tender knowing there is never a guarantee of being selected. We respect the outcome,” BlackRock said in emailed comments that called the process “open and transparent.”
The Greenfield SPV VIII proposal, a consortium with BlackRock Mexico Infraestructura II and other companies, was the only bidder for the 121-km (75-mile) “section 5” that runs from Cancun to Tulum in Quintana Roo state.
Fonatur said in a statement late Tuesday that the bid’s economic proposal was “not solvent” and that it would open another bidding process for “section 5” under a different scheme that has yet to be determined.
BlackRock said it remains “committed to Mexico’s long-term growth and will continue to seek investment opportunities that create long-term value for our clients and the country.”
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Sharay Angulo; Writing by Anthony Esposito, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Grant McCool)