ECONOMY

Blocked Egnatia Highway project contracts signed

Three contracts of a total value of 400 million euros concerning the construction of three stretches of the Egnatia Highway in Northern Greece were signed on Friday, a few hours after the European Commission decided to reject objections to the tendering process raised by Greek construction company Michaniki. These are three of the four projects blocked last summer after a series of objections aired and legal measures taken regarding the usage of the so-called «mathematical formula» for the selection of construction companies participating in the bidding process. The parts of the Egnatia Highway, for which contracts were signed on Friday are: – The Ioannina-Arachthos stretch, with a budget of 192 million euros, which was secured on the basis of the «mathematical formula» by construction firm Euclides. – The Metsovo-Panaghia stretch, with a budget of 170 million euros, awarded to Aktor and – The Igoumenitsa-Eleftherohori stretch, which, with a budget of 110 million euros, was awarded to the lowest bidder, Pantechniki. The developer of the highway, Egnatia Odos SA, has signed one more contract since the beginning of the year. It concerns the Nymphopetra-Rentina stretch of the highway, which is budgeted at 160 million euros and was awarded to J&P Avax. Allegations concerning «fixing» of the specific tenders were widely reported by the Greek press and were considered decisive in the Public Works Ministry’s initiative to quickly reform the bidding process in the selection of public project contractors by abandoning the «mathematical formula» and returning to a «lowest-bidder» awarding process. Bids made by the participating contractors for the three projects signed on Friday are characteristic of the various possibilities for taking advantage of the «mathematical formula» system. The Ioannina-Arachthos stretch, finally awarded to Euclides, had received the following bids: Euclides (with a 9.08 percent discount); J&P Avax (9.05 percent discount); Atti-Kat (9.02 percent discount); Aktor (9 percent discount); Mochlos (8.9 percent discount) and others. It is thus obvious that bids made for the specific stretch of the road differed only slightly, while, according to figures for the two other projects, the difference amounted to no more than 0.05 percent in each case. Contracts for a number of other projects are due to be signed soon, with a number of tenders, valued at more than 1 billion euros, remaining in limbo during the last 12 months.