Tribunal orders Panama canal construction group to pay back US$848m

PANAMA CITY: The Panama Canal Authority said on Wednesday that an arbitration tribunal has ordered the construction consortium behind the waterway's expansion to pay back nearly US$848mil to the canal authority.

The ruling from the Miami-based tribunal, part of the International Chamber of Commerce, stems from a protracted dispute between the authority and a group of builders led by Spain's Sacyr and Italy's Salini Impregilo.

Under the dispute were cost overruns related to the construction of a third set of locks for the waterway, which was completed in 2016.

The canal authority said the sum of nearly $848 million accounted for advances that had been granted to the consortium, called GUPC, or Grupo Unidos por el Canal. The entity includes Belgium's Jan De Nul and Panama's Constructura Urbana.

Last year, the tribunal had rejected a demand by GUPC for $192.8 million to cover cost overruns.

The consortium and tribunal could not be immediately reached for comments. – Reuters

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