Vulcan Materials Co. rejected a Mexican government offer to purchase its Caribbean coast assets for $2 billion, according to the nation’s president, but the US company said it wasn’t aware of such a proposal.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the apparently sweetened price Wednesday morning, saying the state hasn’t expropriated the property but that the Vulcan plant is merely “closed.”

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

The company cast doubt on the president’s comments just hours later. “We’re not aware of a $2 billion offer, and we’re not sure what he was referring to in the press conference,” spokesperson Janet Kavinoky told Bloomberg News by phone.

The plant’s closing has prevented the US construction firm from extracting limestone at the site it has owned for decades, and marks another move against business interests by Lopez Obrador — a staunch nationalist whose six-year term ends in October.  

“We don’t want to bring investment at any cost, even less to destroy our territory,” he said. “Better they don’t come, or they go elsewhere.” AMLO, as the president is known, added that the company continued extracting materials even after it had been ordered closed.

Vulcan said last October it learned through the press that AMLO intended to acquire its 2,400 hectares (5,930 acres) of land for $360 million. But the company said it had only received an “inadequate appraisal” of the property south of the Mayan Riviera resort of Playa del Carmen, which includes a quarry and a port.

The Alabama-based company sought the Biden administration’s protection from what it saw at the time as the threat of a government takeover. AMLO had previously alleged environmental damage and sent the Mexican marines to occupy the land. Vulcan’s chief executive officer defended its environmental record, citing international awards and its reforestation efforts.

Vulcan has been in litigation and arbitration with Mexico since 2018 under the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as Nafta, which was later replaced with the US-Mexico-Canada agreement during the Trump administration. The company previously said that the Lopez Obrador government’s actions are illegal.

AMLO acknowledged Wednesday that at some point his government had considered turning the zone into a natural protected area, without clarifying if that was still part of the plan.