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Webuild high-speed U.S. rail contract to boost cash flow, margins - CFO

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By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN, June 15 (Reuters) - The contract Italy's Webuild won to build a high-speed railway between the U.S. cities of Dallas and Houston could give a significant lift to cash generation as early as 2022, a top executive at the construction group said on Tuesday.

"It will be material and transformational for us," Chief Financial Officer Massimo Ferrari told Reuters in a phone interview.

Earlier on Tuesday Webuild said it and its U.S. unit Lane Construction had signed the final agreement for a $16 billion contract with Texas Central LCC to build the high-speed link.

"We expect a boost in terms of marginality," Ferrari said when asked if the contract could help lift Webuild targets.

Ferrari said he hoped the financial closing of the contract would happen at the end of this year and that work could start in 2022, a year earlier than previously envisaged.

He said the project could take some five years to complete.

The contract brings the value of construction orders in Webuild's backlog from the United States to 35%, confirming the country as the single biggest market for the group.

Ferrari said the group had projects in the water and transportation sectors in the pipeline in the U.S., adding it would be pushing to win more high-speed train contracts in the country. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Valentina Za)