The Spanish construction and services group Sacyr Vallehermoso is seeking business opportunities in Latin America and the United States, among other markets, in its move to increase its international activities, which already represent 62 percent of the firm's business.

Sacyr is focusing on waste treatment projects in Australia and Bulgaria, incineration projects in Poland and water purification activities in Mexico and Colombia, market sources told Efe.

The group headed by Manuel Manrique is focusing on Chile, where recently it landed a contract to build and manage a highway for 325 million euros ($423 million), Colombia, where in April it began building a stretch of highway for 103 million euros ($134 million), and Peru.

In fact, Sacyr, through its services affiliate Valoriza, has come to a strategic alliance with the aim of carrying out projects for Repsol in bioethanol and biodiesel with the multinational Fluor.

Among the projects under study and for which bidding will soon begin are the construction of the gasoil and gasoline sections at Repsol's Pampilla refinery in Peru to bring them into compliance with environmental regulations, as well as the construction of a Phase 2 natural gas recollection system in the Caipipendi Area in Bolivia for Repsol's deposits valued at 48.8 million euros (about $63 million).

In addition, among the projects the firm is studying are the construction of a refining unit in Bolivia and a liquified natural gas terminal and storage facility in Chile.

The group is also examining Panama - where it is building the new sluicegates for the Panama Canal, a project valued at 2.245 billion euros ($2.9 billion) - Costa Rica and Brazil.

Sacyr has also been prequalified to build a 400 kilowatt electrical substation in Scotland for Scottish Southern Electric.

Moreover, the group is interested in opportunities that could arise in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Qatar, India and also in Israel, where there are desalinization plants, the same sources said.

The deceleration in construction and residential promotion activities in Spain in the first quarter resulted in 62 percent of the firm's total business coming from the international realm and 78 percent of its business coming from construction.

As of March, business had fallen off by some 15.8 percent to 875.9 million euros ($1.1 billion), and invoicing abroad represented 38 percent of the total. EFE