August 10, 2017 / 11:55 PM / a year ago

REUTERS SUMMIT-Peru to award $2.8 bln in post-flooding contracts through 2018

LIMA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Peru plans to award some $2.8 billion in post-flooding construction contracts through 2018 in expedited bidding rounds that have drawn new companies to the country, Peru’s reconstruction czar said on Thursday in an interview for Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.

Pablo de la Flor, tasked with ensuring that infrastructure destroyed by flooding this year is rapidly rebuilt, said Grana y Montero , a local partner of scandal-plagued Brazilian builder Odebrecht, is not barred from bidding but that the government prefers companies free of “suspicion.”

Grana, which has repeatedly denied knowing about or participating in bribes that Odebrecht has admitted paying to local officials, declined to comment.

Peru aims to award some $6.2 billion total in contracts for roads, bridges, and housing in the next 3 to 4 years, with the first projects starting next month, de la Flor said.

About a quarter of the funding aims to ensure that infrastructure in El-Nino-prone Peru can withstand the kind of extreme weather events that could become more common with climate change, de la Flor said.

Sudden and severe flooding wrought some $4 bln in damage - or about 2 percent of gross domestic product - to Peru’s infrastructure this year just as a massive graft scandal involving Brazil’s Odebrecht raised questions about the country’s biggest builders.

The government of centrist President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has barred Odebrecht and any other company that has acknowledged or been convicted of corruption from future bids.

But de la Flor, a former bank manager and trade negotiator, said Peru nonetheless stands to benefit from an abundance of competition as companies from Turkey, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, China and North America have all expressed interest in taking part in the reconstruction effort.

Latin American builders are keenest on taking part as construction prospects are lackluster in much of the region, de la Flor said. (Reporting by Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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