“We extended the deadline to give the bidders some more room to breathe,” says Mounir Ayntrazi, a principal at the US’ CRA International, the consultant on the project.

The deadline will not be extended again, he adds.

The project had previously been delayed by a month amid concerns that political instability in Lebanon could deter bidders from participating. But Ayntrazi is confident that interest will be high. “The [prequalified] companies are very bullish,” he says.

The Closing the Financial Gap project is designed to cut EdL’s losses of up to $1bn. It consists of two contracts. The winner of the first package will be responsible for improving the management of tariff collection, the introduction of automatic metering and the installation of 1.25 million electricity meters across the country. The second contract covers the operation and maintenance of the distribution network (MEED 20:2:08).