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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pressure mounts on Grupo Mexico owners

"Judge: Sterlite can buy Valley-based Asarco
...Associated Press

...U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard Schmidt approved the request Wednesday from Asarco's court-approved board to sign a sale contract with Sterlite Industries Ltd.

That will spur competition with Grupo Mexico SAB of Mexico City, which owned Asarco but lost control after Asarco filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2005.

Grupo Mexico has said it would pay $1.3 billion to reassume control - a move Asarco officials oppose. Sterlite offered $2.6 billion last year but withdrew the bid when copper prices plunged. Asarco is able to accept a higher offer until its reorganization plan receives final approval.""

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2007 CMA CGM launches first Chinese port venture; is also interested in Mexico Punta Colonet seaport

" Monday, November 26, 2007  CMA CGM in first Chinese port venture

A “STATEGIC cooperation agreement for the development of the port of Haicang at Xiamen” was signed Nov 26 by CMA CGM Group, the municipality of Xiamen (Fujian province), and New World Services Holding Ltd. (NWS), according to a company announcement.

 This will be CMA CGM’s first port investment project in China. The French group has shares in 16 port terminals around the world.

 According to the agreement, CMA CGM and its partners will invest in the construction and management of a deep water container terminal.

 The container port is planned to be operational in 2009.

 CMA CGM is the third largest container shipping group for international traffic in China, with 280,000 TEUs planned for 2007, according to the announcement.

 New World is a “well-established Hong Kong–based group with a rich experience of investments in transport infrastructure projects in China, especially in ports (Xiamen, Tianjin, Dalian, and Wenzhou).”

 The ceremony, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, was attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chinese President Hu Jintao."

Company interested in Punta Colonet is profiled by Greenpeace, scrapping their ships in Asia

"Greenpeace has selected 50 ships which might be scrapped soon. We have asked the owners of these ships to declare that their ships will be decontaminated before scrapping at Asian countries. Until that time Greenpeace will follow and monitor these (and other) ships.

Fort Royal (renamed CMA CGM Arno)

Name:      Fort Royal (renamed CMA CGM Arno)
Type, year of  build, size,  flag:      Container ship, 1979, 30,998 DWT, Panama flag (since 14-07-2003)
Shipping  company:      CMA-CGM in France Jackson Navigation in Taiwan
Comments:      CMA/CGM is number one in France in containerised liner shipping industry and eigth worldwide. The company operates 90 ships, a quarter of which are company owned.

Fort Royal capacity: number of 20 foot equivalent unit containers is 1512. The vessel was built at Dunkirk, France.

Scrap record:

    * The container Chicago Express was sold to Indian breakers for US$2.64M in 2001."

ICA expects Punta Colonet tender to be launched in 2010 - Mexico -- Contracts to be awarded August 31 2009

"ICA expects Punta Colonet tender to be launched in 2010 - Mexico Monday, March 9, 2009

Mexico's largest construction firm, ICA (BMV, NYSE: ICA), does not expect the 50bn-peso (US$3.26bn) Punta Colonet port project, in Baja California state, to be tendered before 2010, the firm's VP of administration and finance, Alonso Quintana, told BNamericas.

"Punta Colonet has been delayed considerably, as it is a very, very large project involving building railroads to adequately handle containers and have them sent to the US," Quintana said. "We do not expect to see any bidding rules or documents published before next year."....

On January 27 this year, the transport and communications ministry (SCT) invited firms interested in the project to register by May 15.

The announcement followed a statement made on January 14 that the tender would be postponed indefinitely due to the global economic crisis, the second time the project had been delayed.

According to SCT's new schedule, the concession will be awarded on August 31 this year.....

Several companies from the US, Europe and Asia have expressed interest in the project.Companies include multinational port operator Hutchison Port Holdings and French container shipping company CMA-CGM. Construction will take 4-5 years.

Renzo Dasso
Business News Americas"

January 2009,,Punta Colonet Port Project Put on Hold

"Puerto Vallarta News NetworkBusiness News | January 2009

Punta Colonet Port Project Put on Hold
Frontera NorteSur
Punta Colonet could to be transformed over the next decade into a megaport that will help to handle the increasing amount of cargo coming from eastern Asia. (Charlie Neuman/Union-Tribune
Like Punta Colonet, the Manzanillo expansion to the south has also drawn fire from environmentalists.

A massive port planned for Mexico's Baja California peninsula could be among the latest casualties of the world financial crisis. Luis Tellez, Mexico's head of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), announced last week that authorities decided to postpone contract bidding for the construction of the Punta Colonet terminal slated for a remote section of the Baja California peninsula about 150 miles south of San Diego, California. Tellez said the global economic outlook didn't favor Punta Colonet at the moment.

"There is clearly competition for extensive resources," Tellez said, "and given the magnitude of Colonet we are seeing if there is the capacity to finance it."

The postponement was the second time in recent months that the SCT has put off issuing contracts to build and maintain a commercial trade and shipping complex that is envisioned to be larger than the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined. Originally slated for completion on the Pacific side of Baja California in 2020, Punta Colonet was planned as the northern Mexican shipping hub of the China trade capable of handling 6 million containers every year.

Tellez did give an exact date for the opening of bids, but he insisted the project would move forward at a later date. Mexican officials, Tellez added, were working with Citibank and a second US bank to study financing options for a construction project that could cost more than $1.5 billion.

But earlier developments like the announced expansion of the Panama Canal is leading to speculation that Punta Colonet is dead even before it hits the water.
Fernando Ramos Casas, president of the Latin American Confederation of Customs Brokers judged Punta Colonet as an unviable proposition under present circumstances. "(Punta Colonet) would have been better three or four years ago, Ramos said.

An unscientific, online poll conducted by the Tijuana news daily Frontera reported January 19 that 60.5 percent of 967 respondents believed a port at Punta Colonet would happen, while 39.5 percent did not think it would see the light of day.

It's not yet clear how the Punta Colonet postponement will affect the Santa Teresa train and transportation terminal planned for the New Mexico-Chihuahua border. Last year, the SCT declared that Santa Teresa would constitute an important hub for cargo headed to consumers in the US heartland from Punta Colonet.

Not everyone is disappointed that Punta Colonet is off the map – at least for now. Green activists have long criticized a mega-project they contend would attract thousands of new residents and generate an intense demand for services in a place Mexican environmentalist and columnist Ivan Restrepo once called a "national treasure" and a "flower of the earth." Restrepo and other environmentalists fear a mammoth port at Punta Colonet would seriously disrupt migratory bird habitats, disturb grey whale migrations and damage vegetation and landscapes unique to the fragile Baja California ecosystem.

"This is very good news for those who care about conservation in Baja California," said a message posted on the website of the binational green group Wild Coast in response to Tellez's announcement.

Despite a predicted 20-30 percent drop in the volume of cargo traffic through Mexican ports this year, the SCT is moving ahead with contract bidding for improvements and expansions in other ports that could reach close to US$2 billion. Nationwide, investment in Mexico's port infrastructure increased 15.8 percent during the first two years of the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Meanwhile, with the fate of Punta Colonet up in the air, SCT Secretary Tellez's role in pushing the ongoing expansion of the large port of Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast is receiving renewed press scrutiny. The Mexican cabinet minister served as an advisor to the private SSA Mexico cargo company, one of the firms interested in expanding Manzanillo, from 2002-2006, just prior to joining the Calderon administration.

Tellez, who resigned from SSA Mexico before beginning federal service, has defended himself from conflict-of-interest charges. "The participation of SSA in the bidding does not depend on the SCT," Tellez was previously quoted as saying. "The authorization depends on the Federal Competition Commission."

Like Punta Colonet, the Manzanillo expansion to the south has drawn fire from environmentalists. Construction activities in Manzanillo have caused major damages to a 260-acre mangrove swamp, prompting some environmentalists to charge that Mexico is in violation of the 1971 International Convention on Wetlands and the Inter-American Convention on the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, an agreement Mexico formally accepted in 2000.

Environmentalists are likewise concerned that two bills currently in the Mexican Senate and Chamber of Deputies would make the destruction witnessed at the Manzanillo mangrove swamp, which Secretary Tellez pledges to repair, the norm rather than the exception.

Sponsored by representatives of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the legislative initiatives propose weakening environmental impact study requirements meant to protect mangroves if social and economic benefits from a particular development could be demonstrated.

Besides serving as bird habitat and breeding grounds for aquatic life, mangroves are important barriers against hurricanes, which many climate change researchers warn could grow worsen in coming years.

Additional sources: Frontera, January 19, 2009. Proceso, January 18, 2009. Article by Jenaro Vilamil. Milenio, January 16, 2009. Articles by Marisela Lopez and Luis Carriles. Agencia Reforma, January 14, 2009. Articles by Lilian Cruz. La Jornada, March 4 and 31, 2008; January 19, 2009. Articles by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Ivan Restrepo and editorial staff.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS)
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes • m3 © 2009 BanderasNews ® all rights reserved • carpe aestus"

"Five billion dollars is about to transform a sleepy seaside town on Mexico’s Baja California into one of the world’s busiest shipping centers, providing once-in-a-lifetime business opportunities for U.S. and international investors.

In just 3-5 years, Megapuerto De Punta Colonet, or the megaport of Punta Colonet, will handle six million containers (TEUs) a year – twice the total number handled in all of Mexico in 2007. Volume is expected to triple within 15 years. Most of the freight will arrive from Asia, destined for the United States......

Punta Colonet, 150 miles south of San Diego, will be the terminus of a vital new rail connection to U.S. freight transfer cities, possibly including Yuma, Arizona or El Paso, Texas. The new route will allow trains to avoid congested tracks in Southern California.

The bold project, championed by Mexico president Felipe Calderon, is urgently needed to relieve chronic freight bottlenecks at the United States’ largest ports, Long Beach and Los Angeles. ....

Facility construction costs will be borne by the private companies ......

Port construction bids are expected from, among others, Empresas ICA SAB, the country's largest construction company, billionaire Carlos Slim's Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en America Latina SAB, and the building unit of Grupo Mexico SAB. The winning bidder for a 45-year concession to operate the port and rail line is to be announced in December 2009."


Pressure continues to build to privatize PEMEX and natural gas resources and/or operations in Mexico

Google Alert - PEMEX
Around the world: Output down again for Pemex | Business | Chron ...
Mexico’s oil production has been falling as reserves are drying up, and Pemex has been slow to explore promising deep-water deposits. ...

Glencore may enter bidding war for Asarco

Well well well....

Arizona Geology: Glencore may enter bidding war for Asarco
By Lee Allison
A one-sentence story from the Wall Street Journal says Glencore International is very interested in buying bankrupt Tucson-based Asarco. Glencore is one of the largest privately owned companies in Europe with worldwide commodity ...
Arizona Geology -
"Shares of steel producer Grupo Simec topped percentage gainers with a rise of 3.9% and shares of Grupo Mexico rose 3.6%. Dow Jones Newswires reported late Monday that Swiss miner Glencore International is interested in buying Grupo Mexico's Asarco unit, which is working its way through bankruptcy court in Texas.

The peso was up 0.2%, gaining ground against the U.S. dollar in the wake of the central bank's auction of up to $4 billion in dollar credits by way of a $30 billion swap line the bank has with the U.S. Federal Reserve."
"Año X - Madrid, martes 21 de abril de 2009
Glencore planta cara a Grupo México por el control de Asarco

Glencore se ha convertido en el último obstáculo para que Grupo México recupere el control de su filial estadounidense Asarco. La firma suiza ha reconocido que sigue muy interesada en la compañía, una asemana después de que la minera azteca presentase una oferta para impedir que su filial llegase a un acuerdo con la india Sterlite. Aunque este "culebrón empresarial" se decidira finalmente en los juzgados, todo parece indicar que será la cifra más elevada la que decida el futuro de la compañía.

Grupo Mexico aseguraba la pasada semana que ofrecería 1.300 millones en efectivo por recuperar a su filial, una cifra superior a los 1.100 millones de dólares ofrecidos por la india Sterlite. Aunque los representantes legales de Glencore no han querido hablar de la cifra que están dispuestos a ofrecer, el regreso de la compañía a la puja podría hacer que sus competidores vuelvan a subir sus primeras ofertas.

Según fuentes consultadas por la agencia Dow Jones, Sterlite estudia ya aumentar su oferta. En principio, la empresa contaría con el apoyo de los sindicatos de Asarco, autoridades y el consejo de administración. Pero, y aunque la oferta de Grupo México es menor, los acreedores también tendrán muy en cuenta el factor “psicológico” de terminar rápidamente con este juicio que dura ya más de tres años y medio.

Algunos analistas, como los de BBVA Bancomer, ya han emitido diversos informes en los que aconsejan a la compañía aceptar la oferta de Grupo México, que sin duda necesita, ahora más que nunca, recuperar el control de su filial.

Después de la caída que los precios del cobre experimentaron a finales del pasado año, en 2009 han conseguido rebotar un 51%, gracias a las esperanzas de un aumento en la demanda china. Con este panorama, Grupo México no puede permitirse perder los activos de Asarco."

Police: Death of Freddie Mac CFO may be suicide

" * Story Highlights
* NEW: Police were called by someone inside home, police spokesman says
* NEW: Neighbors describe Kellermann and wife as friendly, happy,
"terrific people"
* Freddie Mac CFO died by hanging, according to source familiar with
the case
* No signs of foul play at home where David Kellermann found dead,
police say

VIENNA, Virginia (CNN) -- The acting chief financial officer of mortgage
finance giant Freddie Mac was found dead Wednesday morning at his home,
police said."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Google Alert -

$50.4 Billion In Infrastructure Projects Announced
Water Online (press release) - Horsham,PA,USA
The 500+ executives participating in the Forum include executives from leading oil & gas firms, including Pemex and Petrobras, along with global ...
See all stories on this topic

DOE's Oak Ridge Mixed Toxic-waste Incinerator began burning waste the same year ASARCO worked to install the ConTop furnaces (for secret toxic burning) in El Paso Texas

"OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Department of Energy is pulling the plug on Oak Ridge's controversial toxic waste incinerator. The DOE says it'll stop receiving waste by the end of April.

Crews are scheduled to begin demolishing the facility in five years.The incinerator has burned concerns about emissions for years.

"It's basically done it's job," DOE spokesman Walter Perry said.

That job's been burning more than 33 million pounds of waste since 1991."

"The incinerator fueled controversy and environmental concerns. Dozens of Oak Ridge workers became sick in the late-nineties."


[Strange Coincidences:  the ASARCO El PASO smelter bankruptcy is winding up this April - and they have refused to talk about the formerly-secret-toxic-waste.  The smelter burned secret stuff from military origins, too.  Asarco El Paso workers started getting ill in the late 1990's from things they'd never seen before.  Five years after it was closed in 2/99, the company began making noises about re-opening the smelter (2004).   The Beta Radiation levels in El Paso the winter of 1998 were the highest in the nation.  The EPA Region 6 claimed that this was harmless background radiation]