KPMG beats Goldman, et al, for ‘mega-project’

The accounting firm will serve as a ‘strategic advisor’ for the $4.1bn Ohio River Bridges Project, which aims to build two new bridges linking Indiana and Kentucky. The selection highlights a trend for different players to move into an advisory space coveted by investment banks.

Accounting firm KPMG has been selected as the “strategic advisor” for the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, beating out ten other proposers for the $4.1 billion interstate bridge-building initiative.

The other firms which submitted proposals for the advisory position included: Estrada Hinojosa & Company, FirstSouthwest, Goldman Sachs, Greenhill, Lazard Frères, Public Financial Management, Public Resources Advisory Group, Scott Balice Strategies, Seel Jackson Consulting and William Blair. 

Ohio River Bridges: new
ones on the way

The selection highlights the diverse array of investment banks, consulting firms and accounting firms who these days compete for plum advisory contracts for big-ticket infrastructure projects. In the past, it was not uncommon to see a more narrow list of potential advisors that included big-Wall Street names like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

But as the infrastructure market has matured in the US, more investment banks, accounting and consulting firms have set their sights on the public advisory space. So the list of potential advisory candidates has broadened to include a wider array of more players competing for bigger projects – including Kentucky and Indiana’s self-described $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges “mega-project”.

The project aims to build two new bridges across the Ohio River linking southern Indiana and Kentucky and to fix a high-traffic area called the “Spaghetti Junction” in front of one of the bridges. In February, the Indiana legislature included the project in a law enabling a public-private partnership for Illiana Expressway, a separate project in the north of the state.

KPGM’s Infrastructure Advisory Group will “explore and evaluate a range of strategic options” for delivering the project, according to a press release from the Indiana Finance Authority, which engaged the firm as its strategic advisor for the project. These strategic options will include a potential public-private partnership, said Jessica Ewing, communications manager for the Finance Authority.

KPMG’s selection was made in consultation with the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority and the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, according to the press release. KPMG will advise all three bodies on the delivery of the project, Ewing said.