The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DOT) is said to have received four final offers on December 24, 2009 for its $2.7 billion Mafraq to Ghweifat highway project – the Gulf emirate’s first road PPP.
The 327-kilometre highway will link Mafraq, to the south of the metropolitan area of Abu Dhabi, to the border post with Saudi Arabia at Ghweifat, in the western part of the emirate. The Abu Dhabi DOT said the highway will serve as a strategic link between the emirate and neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The four final bidders comprise the following consortia: ANITE (Autostrade per l’Italia/ Al Naboodah Construction Group/Impreglio/Todini Costruzioni/Emirates Utilities Company); CCCC-MTD (China Communications Construction Company/MTD Capital); IRTIBAAT (Macquarie Capital/Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank/Al Jaber Transport/ N.V. Besix/ Mouchel Middle East/Transfield); and the Mafraq Motorway Group (Strabag/Joannou & Paraskevaides/J&P Avax/Saif Bin Darvish/Egis).
Of the five original bidders, only a team comprising Bouygues, China Harbour Engineering and Consolidated Construction Company failed to submit a final offer. A source familiar with the process said the Abu Dhabi DOT demanded a high quality term sheet with commitments from at least four banks covering a minimum of 25 percent of the project’s debt. Bidders which submit a larger portion of committed funds are expected to have a competitive advantage.
The source said the DOT has yet to decide if it will implement a best and final offer stage, which usually narrows the competition down to two bidders, or appoint a preferred bidder directly. But a winner is expected to be announced towards the second half of this year. Ernst & Young is providing legal advice to the DOT with consultancy Mott McDonald advising on the technical side.