Kuwait awards rail transaction advisory deal

21 August 2011

The US’ Booz & Company leads the consortium

A consortium led by the US’ Booz & Company has won the transaction advisory contract for the Kuwait’s $10bn national railway project.

Booz will work together with NBK Capital, part of the National Bank of Kuwait. US-based Wilbur Smith will act as technical adviser and the UK’s Allen & Overy as legal adviser on the railway project.

Kuwait’s Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) invited companies to submit bids for the rail advisory contract by 6 December (MEED 26:10:10). The PTB prequalified 10 companies out of the 29 which submitted bids. The advisory contract was initially expected to be awarded by the end of 2010.

Kuwait is planning to build the railway on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis and the transaction adviser will have to assist in structuring, procuring and negotiating the transaction. Booz & Company will now assist the PTB in planning the technical aspects of the railway, developing feasibility studies and establishing project financing.

The PTB will assign an independent operator at a later date to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the railway for a fixed duration.

The railway will run from Kuwait’s northern border with Iraq to Saudi Arabia in the south, forming an integral part of the GCC railway network. It will also link the east and west of Kuwait.

Kuwait is also developing a $7bn metro network. In August 2010, a consortium led by Ernst & Young won the advisory deal for the Kuwait metro project. The group also includes the UK’s Atkins as technical adviser and Ashurst, also from the UK, as legal adviser (MEED 12:8:10).

Ernst & Young will now act as the transaction adviser, helping the PTB structure, procure and negotiate the deal. This includes validating previous feasibility studies, carrying out due diligence on the project and overseeing the tender process.

The group will also evaluate the design of the metro, which involves the construction of a 171-kilometre-long inner-city transport network with four lines running across Kuwait City. About 60km of the lines will be built underground.

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