An Italian-led consortium pulled out of the race for Abu Dhabi’s $2.7 billion Mafraq to Gwheifat highway project – the Gulf emirate’s first road PPP – leaving three bidders in the race.
A source close to the deal explained that the ANITE consortium (Autostrade per l’Italia/ Al Naboodah Construction Group/Impreglio/Todini Costruzioni/Emirates Utilities Company) pulled out due to internal disagreements about the project.
Three final bidders are now left in the race – 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).
The source 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.
He added 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.