France, Japan make strong metro push

13 September 2002

French and Japanese companies figure prominently among the firms preparing to prequalify for the estimated Eur 750 million ($735 million) contract to build the first section of the third line of the Cairo metro. At least 30 local and international companies have expressed interest in submitting prequalification bids by the 6 October deadline. The client is the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and the consultant is Systraof France (MEED 28:6:02).

NAT has specified five prequalification categories: signalling, civil works, power supply, trackwork and rolling stock. The French Interinfraconsortium and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation- both of which have done work on lines 1 and 2 - have indicated that they are interested in applying to prequalify for all five categories. France's Alstom- the leader of Interinfra - is understood to be also considering quoting separately for all of the categories other than civils. Another Interinfra member, France's Vinci, is looking at quoting for the civils portion alone.

Other French companies that are following various aspects of the scheme include Travaux de Sud-Ouest, Eiffage International, Cogiferand Soletanche Bachy. Japanese firms Kajima Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, Penta-Ocean Construction Company, Tomen Corporation, Obayashi Corporationand Marubeni Corporationare also understood to have picked up the documents. Other companies considering applying include Obrascon Huarte-Lain, FCC, CAFand Alcatel Espana- all of Spain - the UK's Balfour Beatty, Samsung Corporationof South Korea, Siemensof Germany, CMC di Ravennaof Italy, Bombardierof Canada, SEMCOof Denmark, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporationand local companies Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company), Industrial Construction & Engineering Company (SIAC), El-Nasr General Contracting Company( Hassan Allam)and Orascom Construction Industries.

The project entails building a 4.5-kilometre section between Ataba and Abbassiya, including five stations. Several options are being considered for financing the foreign exchange portion of the work. The European Investment Bank, France and Japan are regarded as leading candidates to finance major parts of the scheme.

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