Fichtner was the only company to bid for the contract. It is understood that the other companies invited to bid declined to submit offers because of a lack of spare resources.

The German firm will assess the condition of existing independent water and power plants (IWPPs) owned by SWCC and propose valuations for them. It will also review the corporation’s plans for new projects, according to demand projections.

A previous study covering the privatisation strategy was awarded in 2005, with Fichtner also acting as technical adviser, Booz Allen Hamilton as strategic adviser, Ernst & Young as financial adviser, and Prima Law & Consultation Office and Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer as legal advisers.

Under the proposed privatisation strategy, SWCC will create several production subsidiaries based on the IWPP model. In an effort to make its existing facilities more attractive to investors, they will be packaged together with the planned new plants before being sold off.

The process will begin with the Yanbu IWPP, followed by four more plants, including Shuaiba, Shuqaiq and two smaller satellite plants (MEED 20:4:07).

The privatisation of SWCC is one of several reforms for the water sector. They also include bringing in private sector management for the Riyadh and Jeddah water networks.