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Panama Canal Presents Expansion Plans To International Investors

by Leroy Baker,, New York

02 August 2007

Continuing to move forward with expansion plans, Panama Canal executives have presented the Canal's Expansion Program to international financial institutions.

"What we are doing is tapping the market as we determine the best financial package for financing the Canal's Expansion Program," said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta as he explained the Canal's operational achievements and increase in capacity through continuous improvements and modernization work.

"Our main goal is to understand the alternatives we have and weigh the pros and cons in terms of financing. And we are very pleased with the interest of the market and we hope to continue our dialogue with them in the coming months," he added.

More than 100 people representing financial institutions from the United States, Asia, Europe and the Americas participated in the presentation, which took place on July 23, consisting of investment and commercial banks, multilateral institutions and credit rating agencies. Banks with branches in Panama were also present during the event.

"To date, the ACP has been conducting meetings with banks now numbering to about 60 - a process which began in Panama. We have much room for flexibility and we would like to hear from the market based on the financial requirements we have outlined," said ACP CFO and Deputy Administrator José Barrios Ng.

In the coming months, ACP will be conducting meetings with interested banks and will continue to update them about the Expansion Program of the Canal.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

The ACP is the autonomous agency of the government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.

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