Abu Dhabi close to appointing second adviser for highway scheme

23 March 2010

Department of Transport seeks new adviser for $2.7bn Mafraq-Ghweifat motorway

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport is close to appointing a second adviser to help raise the financing for its Mafraq-Ghweifat highway project.

The $2.7bn scheme is being developed as a public-private partnership (PPP), and the Department of Transport has already appointed accountancy firm Ernst & Young as a financial adviser for the project.

However, in late November last year, it began approaching banks in an attempt to appoint an additional adviser for the project. A source close to the development says that talks have now been narrowed down to a single bank, and that an official appointment should be made in April.

The new firm, described as a liquidity adviser, will work on structuring and the pricing the financing for the scheme once a preferred bidder is selected.

The Department of Transport is still evaluating three bids for the project, and an award is expected to be made in the second quarter of 2010.

Three consortiums bid for the project on 24 December last year: a consortium led by Australia’s Macquarie; the Mafraq Motorway Group, led by Austria’s Strabag; and a Chinese joint venture of China Communications Construction Company and MTD Capital.

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