The bidders are:

International Power (IP)of the UK, Belgium’s SuezTractebeland Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, with France’s Sidemas the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and support by a bank group led by Royal Bank of Scotland;

Malakoff Berhadof Malaysia and Saudi Arabia’s National Power Company, with South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Companyas the EPC contractor and supported by Arab Banking Corporation;

Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, JGC Corporation, also of Japan, and Gulf Investment Corporation, with Italy’s Fisia Italimpiantias the EPC contractor and supported by ABN Amrowith HSBC.

Fifteen developers were originally prequalified to bid for the IWPP. Several declined as a result of the tight contracting schedule, which calls for the first water from the newbuild in March 2007, with full completion set for the end of 2008. The advisers to the ministry are BNP Paribas, Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer and the UK’s Mott MacDonald.

The three companies also advised on the kingdom’s maiden private power project, Al-Ezzal, in 2004. The cabinet has agreed that all future generation projects should be carried out privately, and the Electricity & Water Ministry is consequently likely to be dissolved over the next few years, to be replaced by a regulatory authority.