Billionaire Carlos Slim well placed to clinch Mexico City airport terminal

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A consortium including billionaire Carlos Slim’s building unit submitted the lowest bid on Wednesday in a tender for the terminal project at Mexico City’s new $13 billion airport as the telecoms tycoon looks to edge out two rivals for the deal.

Billionaire Carlos Slim look on as he listens to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (not pictured) during a forum in Mexico City, Mexico December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The construction arm of Slim's Grupo Carso GCARSOA1.MX and his majority-owned FCC FCC.MC, submitted a bid of 84.8 billion pesos ($4.2 billion) for the project.

A consortium led by Portuguese builder Mota Engil MOTA.LS also threw its hat into the ring for the futuristic terminal with a 90.073 billion-peso proposal, while a group led by Mexico's Omega offered 87.5 billion pesos.

A winner will be announced on Jan. 6.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Slim's group, which includes Spain's Acciona ANA.MC and Mexican firms ICA, Constructora Y Edificadora GIA+A (GIA), Promotora y Desarrolladora Mexicana (Prodemex), and the construction unit of Grupo Hermes, would compete together for the project.

A win for the group would be a shot in the arm for ICA, which fetched a $371 million deal to build a foundation for the terminal. In 2015, ICA began defaulting on interest payments as it struggled with slumping revenues and heavy debts.

Shares in the cash-strapped builder jumped 14 percent after bids were announced on Wednesday.

Designed by British architect Norman Foster and Slim’s son-in-law Fernando Romero, the terminal building is slated to serve some 68 million passengers annually by the time it opens in 2020 and make Mexico City into a regional hub.

Slim was also helped by a last minute move by Spain's OHL OHL.MC to pull out of the running, following decisions by Ferrovial and Dragados to scrap bid plans as well.

Slim already bagged a stake in a $361 million contract to build a runway for the new airport in September.

Reporting by Veronica Gomez; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Bernard Orr and Alan Crosby