Siemens AG, the German industrial giant, agreed to a 5 billion-euro ($5.6 billion) infrastructure project in Argentina, delivering a victory to President Mauricio Macri as he seeks to convince global business leaders the nation is reopening its markets.
Under a memo of understanding, the project will create 3,000 jobs and includes 3.1 billion euros in financing, Siemens Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said Wednesday in Buenos Aires, where Macri is hosting a forum this week to promote the government’s market-friendly policies. The project will include energy and renewable energy projects, rail, bus and energy-saving technology over the course of four to five years.
The plan from Siemens gives Macri evidence to show voters his reforms, which included a devaluation of the peso and a deal with debtholders, are translating into much-needed investment. Macri’s challenge is to turn promises into results. As of last week, a ticker on the Finance Ministry website had tallied $32.5 billion in investment pledges since December, but central bank data show only $1.3 billion has actually arrived in the first six months of 2016.
“If Argentina gets it right now, they can take the lead in Latin America,” Kaeser said. “Think about it twice before you wait because now is the time to make a difference, and tomorrow it could be too late.”
For Siemens, the investment plan represents a chance to turn over a new leaf in Argentina. Andres Truppel, former chief financial officer of the company’s Argentine unit, pleaded guilty last year to taking part in a scheme to bribe government officials there to land a $1 billion contract for making national identity cards.