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Goldman Sachs inks joint Mexico energy, infrastructure deal: source

Goldman Sachs Group Inc's profit slumped for the third straight quarter as a US$5 billion settlement of crisis-era legal claims ate into earnings in a tumultuous three months.

[MEXICO CITY] The private equity arm of Goldman Sachs Group Inc has teamed up with Mexican consulting firm Ainda to jointly invest in energy and infrastructure projects in Mexico, a person familiar with the matter said.

Goldman's Merchant Banking Division signed a deal with Ainda in December to "identify, pursue, evaluate and make investments jointly," according to a securities filing that was seen by Reuters and will be submitted to the bourse shortly.

The person said Ainda would invest up to US$1.15 billion in projects with Goldman. The joint investments would be worth at least $100 million each and span the oil and gas, power generation, transportation and water infrastructure sectors.

Goldman would put up at least 50 per cent of the total equity amount in joint projects, the source said.

Mexico has begun seeking a larger role for private investors in infrastructure and energy projects as government finances have been hit by sinking oil prices and output.

The finance ministry unveiled a new vehicle in September similar to a real estate investment (REIT) trust called a "Fibra E", which aims to lure private investment into energy projects.

Goldman's merchant banking division has raised over US$124 billion to invest across corporate, real estate and infrastructure sectors, according to its website.

Ainda and Goldman met last week in New York to begin selecting projects and the investments are likely to get under way soon, the person said.

Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and Ainda declined to comment.

Reuters reported in November that Ainda plans to raise 21 billion pesos (US$1.15 billion) through a public offering of certificates for an infrastructure energy investment vehicle. The offering is expected for late February or early March.

The vehicle, which is designed to raise the money that Ainda will jointly invest with Goldman, has the option to convert into a Fibra E or shift specific projects to such a trust.