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PANAMA CITY: The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium have reached an agreement for the construction of a third set of locks as part of their contract to widen the waterway.

The deal requires GUPC to finish the work by December 2015; deliver to Panama the 12 lock gates currently in Italy by next February; GUPC and APC will each pay US$100 million to ensure project continuity; a performance bond of US$400 million will Panama Canalonly be released to Zurich North America for the contractor to obtain financing for the same amount to complete the work; and the moratorium for the repayment of advances may be extended until 2018, subject to certain milestones and other conditions.

The consortium is formed by Sacyr Vallehermoso (Spain), Impregilo (Italy), Jan de Nul Group (Belgium) and Constructora Urbana (Panama).

Meanwhile, for the fourth consecutive year, the ACP has been included in the Ethisphere Institute "2014 World's Most Ethical Company" list.

The list features 144 corporations from 41 sectors covering retail, business services, energy, utilities, electronics, transportation and logistics. ACP joins UPS and marine group Saltchuk Resources in the transport sector. The canal authority is one of four Latin American companies on the list. The others are Banco do Brasil and Natura Cosmeticos (Brazil); and Cementos Progreso (Guatemala). The vast majority of the companies listed by Ethispehere are U.S.

"It is an honor for the Panama Canal to receive this award, especially during the year of its centennial," said administrator Jorge Quijano. "The ACP thrives to ensure that our business model shows our commitment to transparency, ethical values, and responsibility to the Panamanian people, our customers and the environment."

Based in New York, Ethisphere is a consulting company promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance.

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