‘We have been asked to extend the validity of our bids,’ says one of the interested bankers. ‘I never thought this was going to happen overnight, and the delay is not serious.’

It is understood that a handful of banks, including ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, HSBCand JP Morgan Chase & Company, have submitted bids for the mandate.

The invitation to bid outlined the scope of works. It includes the development of a financing strategy for SEC, which will involve balance sheet management and possible approaches to a debt restructuring programme. Also included will be a report on the independent power project (IPP) market, future financing structures for power projects and risk analysis. Intriguingly, the mandate will also cover advisory work on discussions with credit rating agencies over the possible rating of SEC.

‘The bid documents suggest it is about six months’ work, but there is a lot of work in there and it is more likely to take nine months to a year,’ says the banker.