PODGORICA (Montenegro), December 23 (SeeNews) – Montenegro will most likely cancel the talks with Greek-Israeli tie-in Aktor/HCH on a major motorway construction deal after the consortium repeatedly failed to prove it has secured the necessary funding, local media reported.
The government has already started intensive communications with Chinese companies on their participation in the project, radio and TV broadcaster RTCG (www.rtcg.me) reported, quoting Transport Minister Andrija Lompar as saying on Wednesday.
He stressed it is his personal opinion that the protracted negotiations with Aktor/HCH should be abandoned, adding that this would be decided by the government’s Motorway Construction Council over the next few days.
„My proposal as a minister will be to cancel the procedure with the Greek-Israeli consortium,“ Lompar said.
Earlier this month, Aktor/HCH asked Montenegro to extend the deadline for the submission of bank guarantees until March of next year after already getting one extension to December 10 from October 29 when the original deadline was due to expire.
Lompar said the closest alternative solution for the project is to include Chinese companies, which are ready to shortly file a bid once the deal with Aktor/HCH is called off.
He said Chinese companies CRB and Poly Group have shown interest in the job and that the Chinese Transport Ministry and Eximbank are also parties to the negotiations.
Montenegro has been trying to pick a builder for the planned 169-kilometre Bar-Boljare motorway for more than two years now.
The government in Podgorica accepted in May the offer of Aktor/HCH to build three sections of the planned motorway after cancelling in March a 2.77 billion euro ($3.63 billion) concession deal with a group of Croatian firms led by Konstruktor. The Greek-Israeli consortium had offered to build the entire length of the motorway for 3.92 billion euro.
Aktor/HCH has proposed to build a total of 63.5 kilometres of the motorway, which would include the Smokovac-Matesevo section and parts of the Djurmani-Virpazar and Smokovac-Virpasar sections, for 1.57 billion euro, local media reported earlier.
The Bar-Boljare section will become part of the longer Bar-Belgrade motorway, a project linking Montenegro's Adriatic coast with EU-defined transport Corridor X via the Serbian capital.