Published On: Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

Female CEO tries to rescue Mexican builder from $1.35B bond default

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Guadalupe Phillips, who’s trying to pull Empresas ICA SAB back from Mexico’s biggest corporate-bond default, told Bloomberg News she doesn’t have a lot of cards to play when the company begins negotiations with bondholders.

“There aren’t a lot of formulas,” said Phillips, who was named chief executive officer of ICA last month, in an interview. “We have already presented a business plan and now we have to trust the market’s efficiency.”

Guadalupe Phillips, ICA chief executive officer. (PHOTO:

Guadalupe Phillips, ICA chief executive officer. (PHOTO:

Negotiations are likely to be painful for bondholders. The notes are currently trading at about 19 cents on the dollar. “I think the bond prices do reflect what the market believes ICA is worth,” Phillips, 45, said at the company’s offices in Mexico City.

In a way, Phillips was born for this job. Her grandmother, Dolores Olmedo, was a founding partner in a predecessor company to ICA in the 1940s. ICA went on to become the builder of many of Mexico’s most iconic structures, from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the soccer cathedral Azteca Stadium. (Olmedo also became known for being a friend and benefactor of famous muralist Diego Rivera.)

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