Sydney desalination lease shortlist now only three – report

The shortlist for the lease to run the 250,000 m³/d capacity Sydney desalination plant is reported to have been narrowed to three consortia.

According to news agency Reuters , the bidders for the Aus$ 2 billion (US$ 2.15 billion) contract are groups led by Industry Funds Management (IFM); Mitsubishi Corp and Acciona; and Hastings Funds Management with Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP).

However, the report omits to mention that the plant may be mothballed from July 2012 until local dam levels fall below 70%, as reported in D&WR.

A number of lenders were backing more than one bidding group because bank liquidity has tightened considerably in Australia due to the European debt crisis, said Reuters. That did not include Commonwealth Bank of Australia , which was supporting the IFM bid exclusively.

The Mitsubishi-led group had the backing of mainly Japanese lenders, while Hastings’ financiers include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, National Australia Bank, RBC and Westpac Banking Corp, the agency’s sources said.

Bids will be required in May.