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Govt compensation to Grupo Mexico over railway won't include cash - president

Kitco News

(Adds background on takeover and Banamex sale)

MEXICO CITY, May 24 (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday his government aims to reach an agreement with mining and transport company Grupo Mexico after taking over a part of its railway last week, but said the compensation deal will not include cash. "Not money. What we are looking at is compensation. That is to say, let's see, we are going to restructure the concession," the president said during a regular press conference. The Mexican government issued a decree last Friday ordering a "temporary" takeover of around 120 kilometers (75 miles) of the firm's network in the area around the Gulf coast due to its importance to a major infrastructure project.

News of the seizure last week sparked alarm among analysts over Lopez Obrador's polices, and raised questions about whether the decision would impact Grupo Mexico's bid to acquire U.S. Citigroup Inc's retail banking arm in Mexico known as Banamex.

Citigroup announced on Wednesday it was pursuing an initial public offering of its Banamex unit instead of a sale, arguing it is the optimal path to maximizing value for shareholders.

Lopez Obrador said shortly afterwards in a news conference that the change of plans is a matter between the companies and that the government is open to buying a part of the unit.

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Isabel Woodford)

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