LIMA Nov 23 Techint Group said on Wednesday
that it was still in talks with Odebrecht SA on
buying part of its stake in a $5 billion natural gas pipeline
project in Peru, after local media reported its partner on the
acquisition had pulled out.
Semana Economica, a Peruvian economic news website, in a
report citing unnamed sources, said the Sempra Energy-led
consortium that has spent months trying to buy
Odebrecht's stake in the project had exited talks.
But Italian industrial group Techint said it remains in
negotiations to buy a 5 percent stake in the pipeline project
from Odebrecht, which controls 55 percent. "For Techint nothing
has changed," the company said in an email. It declined to
comment on Sempra.
Odebrecht, a Brazilian engineering conglomerate, declined to
comment. U.S.-based Sempra did not respond to requests for
Odebrecht is the center of Brazil's biggest-ever graft
scandal and must exit the Peru pipeline project as a condition
from banks that would provide a $4.1 billion loan for its
The government of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
is considering holding a new auction to find a builder and
operator of the project after Odebrecht's attempt to sell its
stake has been held up on corruption concerns.
Sempra wants the government to strip a clause from the
current pipeline contract that could hold a new operator liable
for any corruption, Reuters reported on Friday.
Odebrecht won the rights to build the pipeline in 2014 after
its sole competitor - a group led by Sempra Energy - was
disqualified the day of the auction for making last-minute
changes to the share each company held in the consortium.
Prosecutors and the comptroller have been investigating
potential wrongdoing in the bidding process, which Odebrecht and
public officials have denied.
Earlier on Wednesday, Odebrecht executives and federal
prosecutors in Brazil reached the world's biggest plea and
leniency deal under which the company would pay around 7 billion
reais ($2.1 billion) in fines related to its role in the
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by