(Bloomberg) -- The Mexican government extended one of Grupo Mexico’s train concessions by eight years in exchange of recovering a different concession, on a rail line that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration had seized last month.
As part of the agreement, Grupo Mexico will return the concession of train tracks in the Isthmus, which had been deemed of “public interest”, to the government. In exchange, the company will receive an extension on a concession from the Isthmus to Veracruz by 8 years. No cash will be exchanged.
“We have reached an agreement,” AMLO, as the president is known, said at a press briefing. “It was a good deal. We are not paying but we’re extending the concession in exchange of them ceding the section of the Isthmus.”
The company confirmed the deal through a local statement. Its unit Ferrosur will be able to use the seized line by paying right-of-way fees.
Last month, the Navy seized part of a rail line owned by Grupo Mexico, after a section of track in the state of Veracruz was deemed essential for a public project that involves building a rail line across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a relatively narrow strip of land that separates the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
The news of the agreement “shows that despite the strong-arm approach, the administration remains aware of the need to compensate for its hard-line measures,” wrote Eurasia analysts led by Matias Gomez Leautaud in a note.
Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez added that the agreement was signed last night.
Read More: Billionaire’s Spat With AMLO Threatens Investor Appeal in Mexico
(Updates with company comment in fourth paragraph and analyst comment.)
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