Court upholds Terna contract for Bulgarian railway

SOFIA (SeeNews) – A Bulgarian top court on Saturday gave a final rebuff to an appeal by Austrian PORR and VA TECH against a government decision to award a European Union-funded railway construction project to Greece’s Terna. A five-judge panel of the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) confirmed a decision of a three-judge panel, issued earlier this month, that the appeal was inadmissible, because the consortium had not followed the rules for appealing EU-funded deals. The ruling of the five-judge panel cannot be appealed, SAC said in a statement. Terna bid 85.7 million euros ($103.6 million) to build the 37.7-kilometer railway stretch, part of a 340-million-euro project to link Plovdiv, in southern Bulgaria, with Bulgaria’s borders with Turkey and Greece. The railway is part of the European Union-defined transport corridors 4 and 9. The Transport Ministry had said that price would be the main selection criterion in the tender. However, Terna placed only the third-lowest bid among the nine submitted by the candidates. The PORR/VA TECH joint venture submitted the lowest bid of 74.9 million euros. A consortium formed by Weiss, Kirchner, Heitkamp and Thyssenkrupp, which submitted the second-lowest bid of 82.7 million euros, also appealed the government’s choice last summer, but withdrew its appeal at the end of 2005.

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