The Romanian government has cancelled the contract for the Comarnic-Brasov highway – the country’s first road public-private partnership (PPP) – after a consortium comprising French infrastructure group VINCI and Greek construction company Aktor requested its termination.
VINCI/Aktor: latest team
In a statement to the Athens Stock Exchange, Aktor said the consortium decided to pull out of the deal after the Romanian authorities refused to include certain clauses in the contract – which the company described as “common in such contracts in Europe”.
The lack of these clauses, it claimed, made it impossible for the consortium to secure financing. But Romania’s transport minister, Radu Berceanu, blamed the recession and the financial crisis for the consortium’s inability to find suitable financing, according to reports in the local media.
A consortium led by Austrian construction firm Strabag, which came second in the tender to the VINCI/Aktor team, is said to be still interested in the project if it gets re-tendered, a source close to the company told InfrastructureInvestor.com.
In an interview published in the March issue of Infrastructure Investor, the head of Strabag’s concession unit, Roland Jurecka, outlined the Romanian project’s troubled history:
“The first time the project was tried must have been some ten years ago. However, it kept not happening for several reasons. Sometimes there were political reasons; other times the quality of the bid documentation was just not up to the highest standard, preventing the project from moving forward.” According to Aktor’s statement, the latter appears to have doomed the project yet again.