ICA drops Panama subway, sees projects in Mexico

Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:10am EDT

* ICA drops from Panama subway competition

* Construction company sees new projects in Mexico

* Company maintains 2010 EBITDA margin view

MEXICO CITY, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's leading construction company ICA said on Monday it pulled out of a competition to build a subway in Panama but is aiming for big scale contracts in Mexico, maintaining a steady flow of projects in the pipeline.

Several building consortia were allowed to bid in March on a $1.5 billion contract to construct a subway in Panama.

"Our consortia was not ready to put in a bid ... we are not in the bidding process anymore," ICA's (ICA.N) (ICA.MX) Chief Financial Officer Alonso Quintana told analysts during a conference call on Monday.

But the company is entertaining a long list of other projects in Mexico, where infrastructure is likely to pick up next year as state governments speed up large-scale construction ahead of presidential elections, analysts said.

Quintana said ICA's plans over the next 12 to 18 months include roads and highways, an aqueduct, and two ports, although the company has yet to decide if it will bid alone or with other partners for these projects.

ICA is holding to its 2010 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization margin forecast of between 16 and 18 percent, Quintana said. [ID:nN22198268]

"We are burning backlog very quickly and able to maintain it at 33 billion (pesos)," Quintana said, adding the company is expecting to participate in the construction of an elevated highway in the southern part of Mexico City before year end.

ICA's backlog, or the work awaiting to be done, was 33.7 billion pesos as of the end of September.

Quintana said ICA is maintaining its controlling investment in airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, or OMA (OMAB.MX), but did not rule out selling to a partner in the future.

ICA shares rose 1.38 percent to 33.83 pesos in morning trading on Monday while its New York-traded stock gained 1.48 percent to $10.93. (Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz; Editing by Derek Caney)

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