Strabag takes lead on Holland’s A15 highway

The A-Lanes A15 consortium, which includes the Austrian developer, is on track to be named preferred bidder on the Netherlands’ €2bn A15 highway PPP. The deal is generating strong interest among commercial banks, with more than 20 said to be looking at it.

The Netherlands’ transport ministry has notified bidders for its A15 highway project, near Rotterdam, that it intends to name a consortium including Austrian construction company Strabag as the preferred bidder for the project.

The Dutch authorities indicated they would officially nominate the preferred bidder in about two weeks, but, as it stands, the A-Lanes A15 consortium – including Dutch construction firms Ballast Nedam and Strukton together with Strabag and UK developer John Laing – looks set to take the lead on the project, the ministry said.

If the A-Lanes A15 consortium ends up being nominated preferred bidder for the A15, it will have beaten competition from two other consortia: a team comprising Dutch construction company BAM, French group Vinci, and CFE, one of Vinci’s Belgium-based subsidiaries; and another team including Dutch infrastructure investor DIF, construction group Fluor and local construction companies Heijmans and Volker Wessels.

The A15 project intends to improve the road connection between the port of Rotterdam and its hinterland and will require the winning consortium to widen and maintain a 40-kilometre stretch of the highway for 25 years. According to a statement from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which plans to lend up to €500 million to help fund the project, the road’s final cost may reach €2 billion.

The availability based project does not seem to be having any difficulties in attracting commercial bank interest. In a recent interview, Jan van Schoonhoven, head of the Dutch PPP unit, said that “banks are very willing to fund this project. The transport ministry has regular talks with all major banks and there is no hesitation,” he added. Over 20 commercial banks are said to be looking at the deal.

Van Schoonhoven also said that, even though the winning consortium can choose to hold a funding competition once it clinches the contract, the current level of bank interest should preclude that.