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Innovative PFI: project history

Incheon bridge is pioneering the use of private foreign investment in South Korea and is the brainchild of Amec South Korea chief executive Soo-Hong Kim.

From an influential and wealthy Korean family, Kim developed the idea for the scheme in the 1990s, before he joined Amec and at a time when Korea was in economic trouble. He presented the idea to Amec subsidiary Agra, which expressed interest on condition that he secured the backing of the South Korean president.

This was duly obtained and the project was put out to tender.

Kim persuaded Amec to join the Koda project company as an investor and project manager rather than as a contractor.

Kim was keen to move away from the traditional private finance model for infrastructure, where contractors invest in the projects they build. 'With the contractor as shareholder there is a conflict of interest, ' he explains.

He decided that, for Incheon, contractors would be procured after the project promoter was established. This would prevent a situation where the contractor acted as client and builder.

'Shareholders need to control construction companies [on these projects], ' he says.

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