The request for proposals (RFP) laid out no minimum requirement for the number of bidders, but it is understood that the GCCIA was hoping to receive at least three bids. The three banks that declined to bid were BNP Paribas, Citibankand Credit Suisse First Boston(MEED 13:12:02).

Due to the complexity of the project – it is based on a multi-phase programme for the development of a regional power grid – it is unlikely that an advisory mandate will be awarded quickly. No date has been set for clarification meetings, but they are expected to start towards the end of January.

The advisory is expected to have two phases. The first, expected to last about six months, will involve the revision of the original financial study completed in the 1990s. The second will involve the commercial structure and the raising of finance.

The shareholder structure of the client, the GCCIA, has been organised to reflect the projected benefits for the participants in the scheme’s first phase. Saudi Arabia has a 40 per cent stake, Kuwait 34 per cent, Qatar 15 per cent and Bahrain 11 per cent. The structure is likely to change, however, as the project advances and the relative benefits are reassessed. In addition, Oman and the UAE will enter the project at the second phase, leading to a change in the authority’s shareholder structure (MEED 8:11:02, Cover Story).