AUSTRALIAN INVESTMENT bank Macquarie last week prequalified to bid for the £4.5bn M25 widening contract in its own right.
It is the only one of five shortlisted bidders without any contractors in its team.
The project is being offered as a single design, build, finance, operate (DBFO) contract and includes the phased widening of 100km of the M25 to four lanes in either direction.
The contract will also include responsibility for the future operation and maintenance of the M25 over a 30 year period.
he other pre-qualified groups all feature major contractors from Britain, Europe and the United States. They are: Amey/ Laing O'Rourke/Ferrovial Agroman; CircuLON (Fluor/ Transurban); Connect Plus (Balfour Beatty/Skanska/Atkins/Egis Projects); and Flow (Vinci/ Autoroutes Du Sud De La France/ Laing Roads, Carillion/Costain) Macquarie would not reveal how it would carry out the work or procure construction expertise, saying the details of its bid were commercially sensitive.
Tenders are due next month and the contract is expected to be awarded in 2008.