UK’s Serco Group has said it is pulling out from its bids to operate and maintain metro schemes in Saudi Arabia and Qatar since the “tendering process is taking much longer than anticipated.”

“Together, these bids represented an aggregate £2.5bn of the £7.9bn pipeline of larger new bid opportunities as disclosed at the time of reporting Serco’s half year results,” the firm said in a statement. “Unless the situation were to change, these bids will no longer be part of the next pipeline update that will be reported within our full year results.”

MEED has earlier reported that Serco is not among the frontrunners for the two to three O&M contracts that the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), the client for the Riyadh Metro scheme.

France’s RATP Dev and Keolis, as well as Italy’s Ansaldo, now part of Japan’s Hitachi, were understood to be the frontrunners for the Riyadh Metro contracts.

The contract award, however, was delayed indefinitely due “to the client changing its mind about what it wants,” a source familiar with the transaction told MEED.

ADA received the initial round of submissions for the contracts in December last year. Final submissions were received in May.

In addition to Serco,  a joint venture of France’s RATP Dev and Keolis, Transdev, also of France, and a team of UK’s Arriva and Germany’s DB International are the bidders for the contract to operate and maintain the first phase of Qatar’s Doha Metro and Lusail tramway, which is expected to be awarded before end of 2017.