BOGOTA, July 28 (Reuters) - Colombia’s Bogota Metro Company (EMB) on Tuesday issued 2.4 trillion pesos ($652 million) of bonds to local capital markets to finance construction of the first line of the city’s new transport system, it said.
EMB will deliver the bonds to the Apca Transmimetro consortium, which was awarded the project and is led by Chinese companies Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) and Xi’an Metro Co Ltd, once work begins.
Construction of Bogota’s first metro line will cost 13.8 trillion pesos ($3.78 billion) and is expected to last around seven years. Work is expected to start 240 days after the memorandum to start construction is signed, which is projected to take place on Oct. 23.
The metro, delayed by political disputes for years, is considered crucial to ease traffic congestion in Bogota, with a population of almost eight million, by complementing the TransMilenio bus system.
The 23-year bonds are guaranteed by the government, EMB Manager Andres Escobar told journalists. They represent the largest internal issue of debt securities by a district company and a Colombian public entity.
The paper is in addition to loans EMB secured almost two years ago worth $1.65 billion.
“This issuance of internal debt completes the public financing,” Escobar said, adding that the consortium still had to raise a proportion of private financing.
$1 = 3,679.17 Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang