April 29, 2015 / 5:11 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Grupo Mexico eyes rail unit IPO as soon as market allows

(Adds rail unit capex, further details on IPO)

MEXICO CITY, April 29 (Reuters) - Mexican mining, transport and infrastructure company Grupo Mexico said on Wednesday it plans to launch the initial public offering (IPO) of its ITM rail unit as soon as market conditions allow.

“We continue to plan on placing the IPO as soon as possible, and as soon as we’re ready and market conditions are appropriate,” Rogelio Velez, chief executive officer of Ferromex, the main railroad of ITM, told a conference call.

At the end of the last quarter, the company said it hoped to list the ITM rail unit by the first half of this year. The company expects to raise $1.3 billion with the offering.

In an interview last month, Velez said Grupo Mexico slowed rail unit investment last year as a new rail anti-trust bill worked its way through Mexico’s Congress.

However, fears that it could hurt the ITM IPO subsided when the legislation ultimately proved less punishing than first proposed on Mexico’s railroads, a duopoly controlled by Grupo Mexico and a local unit of Kansas City Southern.

As a result of the new rules, a rail regulator will be created in the coming months.

Velez gave no further details about the date of the IPO, but noted that if it launches by June, it would appear before the new rail regulator gets going in July.

Still, Velez said the new rail watchdog would have no bearing on the IPO date, adding that the company had not had any discussions with the body about possible regulatory frameworks.

Grupo Mexico plans to invest $3.5 billion in its rail business over the next four years, executives said on the call. (Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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