(Bloomberg) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants billionaire Carlos Slim to finish a highway project ASAP or else he’ll take it away, according to newspaper El Financiero.
“For 10 years, a company has had the concession to build this highway and there’s no progress,” Lopez Obrador said over the weekend at an event in the state of Nayarit, home to beach resorts Punta Mita and Sayulita. “I’m going to have a chat with them — this is over. Either they get to work and finish it, or it’ll be taken back.” The company he referenced is Slim’s Grupo Carso.
The dig was the second one directed to the billionaire’s businesses in just a couple of days, a sign of a cooling relationship. In another event over the weekend, Lopez Obrador said telecommunications companies had failed to connect people in far-flung towns to the Internet and that his government was looking to launch a state-owned telecom company to do the job. Slim’s America Movil SAB is the largest phone company in the country.
Ideal, a Grupo Carso subsidiary, was granted the concession to build the Las Varas-Puerto Vallarta stretch of the highway in 2016 and the building permit in August 2018, the company said in a statement.
“To this day, there are several working fronts across that stretch and the project is in schedule,” the company said.