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Egnatia Motorway: 11 new toll stations in operation, tension in the concession competition

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Since the 2nd of November, 11 new side toll stations on the Egnatia Motorway have been put into operation. According to a decision by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, these side stations are in the following positions: Panagias, Kalamias, Profiti, Vagiochori, Galipsos / Orfani, Mesti. The toll fees are determined (together with the respective VAT) per station and vehicle category.

According to the existing planning, another group of 8-10 toll stations is estimated to be operational by the end of November, an additional 8-10 stations by the end of the year and the completion and commissioning of the remaining ones will be done by next May.

The start of operation of the new side stations is a necessary condition for the concession tender that has been activated by the HRDH. In total, with the completion of all relevant works, 61 stations will operate on the Egnatia Odos and its 3 main vertical axes, the majority of which (43) are lateral.

“Quarrels” in the twilight of the competition

On Wednesday, November 11, the final draft concession contract of Egnatia Odos will be finalized and will be posted on the VDR (Virtual Data Room) of the HRDH. Based on this, the candidates are invited to decide whether to submit a binding offer and what it will be.

Meanwhile, according to sources, further extension of the submission of binding offers is ruled out, as there have been relevant publications.

The changes that occurred a month before the submission of the binding offers has caused concern and reactions to some participants. These changes, as reported by factors close to the issue, are concentrated a) in the change of the term for the “best and final offer” by the claimants with a new wording that does not oblige the HRDH (it is at its discretion) to request such a thing and b) to impose a penalty on groups that have not reached a financing agreement with a bank.

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For the former, the restoration of the original wording is requested so that there is no ambiguity in the tender, while for the latter, there are serious objections to unfair competition, as the contract with banks was not requested from the beginning and today two-speed schemes have been created.

Those who do not have a contract , if they submit a bid, will be called to pay a penalty of 40% on the funding rate, but this amount is not counted in the amount of the bid. So, in theory, someone can have given more money based on the penalty, but the contract can be taken by someone who, having a contract with a bank, “escapes” the payment of the “fine”.

This is requested to be withdrawn for reasons of fair competition and, as noted, such a basic term should have been entered from the beginning of the process and not in its final line.

The announcement of HRDH states that “it always ensures the public interest and healthy competition in its tender procedures, which are inviolable and transparent”. The same announcement states that it is a firm policy to request an improved financial offer and that “steps, procedures and schedules are known to the interested investors from the first moment”.

According to the same sources, last week there was a request from an important group for an extension, which was rejected. Τhe submission of bids is “locked» οn December 11, according to information from ypodomes.com, and therefore it seems that we are in the final stretch of a tender that has lasted several years.

The claimants

It should be reminded that 7 total consortia claim the largest road axis in the country, which together with the three verticals reaches 1,000 kilometers.

These are:

1. ANAS International Enterprise S.p.A.

2. FREYJA HOLDINGS SARL [Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 L.P. / Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 SCSp]

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3. ROADIS Transportation Holding S.L.U. – AKTOR CONCESSIONS SA

4. SICHUAN COMMUNICATIONS INVESTMENT GROUP CO., LTD – DAMCO ENERGY S.A.

5. VINCI HIGHWAYS S.A.S – VINCI CONCESSIONS S.A.S – MYTILINEOS HOLDINGS S.A.

6. GEK TERNA SA – EGIS PROJECTS S.A.

7. DIOLKOS CONSTRUCTION SA.

However, the binding offer of the final investor will also be of great interest, as during the multi-year duration of the tender, a lot has been heard about the investments that he will have to make based on the needs of the highway. Especially for the maintenance needs of many tunnels,  extraordinary numbers have been heard.

What is generally accepted is that large funds, which are currently at the level of estimates, will be required in order for the axis to be upgraded and become even more functional.

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