"We have found several irregularities in the contract, and ALL has failed to make the required investments in infrastructure and rolling stock," says minister of transport Mr Florencio Randazzo.

However, in a statement issued on June 4, ALL said it had not received any official confirmation of the termination from the Argentine government, although it intends to take "all necessary legal measures" when the decision is formally confirmed.

The government claims that ALL has carried out only 9.75% of the works required in the contract and has accumulated debts of nearly Pesos 237m ($US 44m). Last year the government initiated a full audit of the ALL Central and ALL Mesopotámico networks, which despite their size carry just five million tonnes of freight per year.

Last year ALL announced plans to sell its Argentine concessions to the Italian-Argentine Technit Group, although the negotiations ultimately came to nothing.