(Updates with spokesman clarification of figures)
By Christine Murray
MEXICO CITY Nov 3 A Chinese-led consortium has
won an uncontested contract for a multi-billion dollar
high-speed passenger rail link between Mexico City and the
central city of Queretaro, the Mexican Transport and
Communications Ministry said on Monday.
The group led by China Railway Construction Corp Ltd
was the only bidder for the 210-km (130-mile) line,
despite earlier interest from rivals like German conglomerate
Siemens and Canada's Bombardier.
Under President Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico has sought to
forge closer business ties with China, while the world's No. 2
economy has been looking to export more of its high-speed rail
technology. The Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank) will
finance 85 percent of the project's costs, the ministry said.
Mexico's government said on Monday the project would cost
50.82 billion pesos ($3.74 billion), including the build cost
and five years of operation. The figure will be updated later to
reflect inflation, exchange rates and other variables when the
contract is signed, the government said.
That is less than the 58.95 billion pesos the consortium
quoted for the deal, according to a China Railway Construction
Corp statement earlier on Monday. The company said it will
undertake work worth 38.96 billion pesos, around two-thirds of
A Mexican transport ministry spokesman said that the
government figure excludes value-added tax, which eventually is
returned to the government anyway.
Mexico wants the project to allow 27,000 passengers to move
daily from Queretaro at speeds of as fast as 300 km/h (186 mph).
Siemens' Mexico rail chief told Reuters last month that the
company, along with Bombardier and France's Alstom PA,
had asked for more time to prepare a bid, a request denied by
the transport ministry.
($1 = 13.5770 peso)
(Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Nick Zieminski and