Kuwait has set a bid deadline of 20 April for a contract to advise the government on a planned $7bn metro scheme.

The emirate’s Technical Audit Bureau has drawn up a shortlist of companies from a list of 45 consultants that expressed interest in the deal in November 2009. It will issue the final details of the contract on 2 March.

Proposals outlining each consortium’s technical, legal, and financial advisory experience are due to be submitted by 20 April.

About seven consortiums of legal firms, banks and engineering consultants are expected to bid. Firms working on proposals say they hope a deal will be awarded in the first half of 2010.

The winning bidder will act as the transaction adviser, helping the bureau structure, procure and negotiate the deal. This includes validating previous feasibility studies, carrying out due diligence on the project and overseeing the tendering process.

The $7bn metro scheme involves the construction of a 171-kilometre-long network with four lines running across Kuwait City. About 60km of the lines will be underground.

A private developer will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the metro network. It will own 40 per cent of the project company, the government will own 10 per cent and the state will sell the remaining 50 per cent to the public in an initial public offering.