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Negotiations break down for Panama Canal expansion financing, shares plunge for Spain builder

A cargo ships sails though the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal in Panama City, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. On Tuesday the Spanish-led consortium leading the expansion of the Canal will meet with the canal administrator and the canal authority's insurer, meanwhile a deadline is running in an attempt to resolve the dispute over who should pay for the cost overruns of the expansion project and avoiding a halt in the work. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

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A cargo ships sails though the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal in Panama City, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. On Tuesday the Spanish-led consortium leading the expansion of the Canal will meet with the canal administrator and the canal authority's insurer, meanwhile a deadline is running in an attempt to resolve the dispute over who should pay for the cost overruns of the expansion project and avoiding a halt in the work. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

MADRID - The Spanish-led construction consortium leading the expansion of the Panama Canal says negotiations have broken down for how to finance a $1.6 billion cost overrun and is warning that 10,000 jobs are at risk as a result.

The group known as United for the Canal says in a statement that the halt to talks puts the jobs at "imminent risk" and that the dispute could last years if a solution is not found soon.

Shares of Spanish firm Sacyr SA, which leads the consortium, plunged 6.4 per cent Wednesday morning in Madrid. Shares of Italy's Impreglio SpA construction firm, which is also in the consortium, fell 2.4 per cent in Milan.

The consortium and the Panama Canal Authority are blaming each other for the overruns.

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