Mota-Engil Says Project Bids Far Exceeding $1.2 Billion

Mota-Engil SGPS SA, Portugal’s biggest construction company, said it’s bidding for contracts in Africa and in South America that far exceed $1.2 billion in an expansion to counter a recession at home.

“As of today, Mota-Engil has presented proposals to clients and potential clients, mainly in South America and Africa, that are quite superior to” the $1.2 billion worth of projects it won in Angola and Malawi in February, Chief Financial Officer Goncalo Martins said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The orders in Africa, which include construction of a railway line in Malawi for mining company Vale SA, propelled the shares of Oporto-based Mota-Engil to a 20 percent gain on Feb. 3. The company is among Portuguese builders shifting to emerging markets as government spending cuts aimed at complying with the terms of a 78 billion-euro ($95 billion) emergency aid program stifle domestic infrastructure investment.

Mota-Engil rose 0.5 percent to close at 1.015 euros in Lisbon today. The stock is down 1.9 percent this year.

The company operates in about 20 countries. Its order book at the end of the first quarter was worth 3.7 billion euros, with two-thirds of that amount coming from outside Portugal, Mota-Engil said on May 22.

Brazil Strategy

Mota-Engil is still “actively searching” for a construction-industry investment opportunity in Brazil as demand for infrastructure surges in advance of the World Cup soccer championship there in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, Martins said.

Chief Executive Officer Jorge Coelho outlined plans in February to carry out two small acquisitions in Brazil and Colombia. The company is focusing on possible business opportunities in Colombia and isn’t looking for any acquisitions in the country, Martins said in his e-mail.

The construction company, whose businesses also include waste collection and treatment, may also sell some assets that aren’t part of its main operations, Martins said.

“While Mota-Engil is available to sell some businesses, it won’t consider disposals that will change the current structure” of the group, Martins said, without giving details.

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