Kuwait’s Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) says that 29 firms have submitted prequalification documents for the advisory contract for the $10bn railway project.
The PTB has shortlisted less than half of this, says a source at the PTB on the sidelines of MEED’s Mena Rail Projects 2010 conference.

The shortlisted firms will now have two months to submit their technical and financial proposals, the source says. The award is still expected to be made by the end of the year.

The PTB also says that the new metro company tentatively named Kuwait Metro Company will start being established in one year once all the studies have been completed. The authorities have now finished approving the $7bn metro and studies to establish the new metro company will begin shortly.

Fifty per cent of Kuwait Metro Company will be offered as an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and 40 per cent will be auctioned off to the private sector. The remaining 10 per cent will stay with the government.

In August, a consortium led by Ernst & Young won the advisory deal for the $7bn Kuwait metro project. The group also includes Atkins as technical adviser and Ashurst 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.