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Panama Canal deal signed, minus one partner

Terms agreed to complete expansion

14 March, 10:31
Panama Canal deal signed, minus one partner (ANSA) - Milan, March 14 - All but one partner in a Spanish-led consortium expanding the Panama Canal signed a deal early Friday with local authorities to complete the project - good news for the Italian contractor that is a major player in the consortium.

Swiss partners in the project are expected to sign later Friday. Work was halted last month because of a dispute over cost overruns totalling $1.6 billion.

However, suppliers have reportedly been paid, freeing the way for work to resume.

Italian company Salini-Impregilo makes up 38% of the consortium working on the $5.25-billion expansion project.

The Spanish-led consortium, known as the as Grupo Unidos Por el Canal (GUPC), and the Panama Canal Authority had been locked in a dispute over the cost overruns for weeks until reaching the deal late last month.

Some 10,000 jobs were reportedly affected by the dispute.