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Messina bid merger talks fail as deadline looms

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REMAINING BIDDERS for Italy's £3.1bn Messina bridge have decided against merging and submitting a single bid, said government client Stretto di Messina this week.

The client said it was expecting individual bids from the two remaining consortia, ahead of yesterday's (Wednesday) extended tender deadline. A third group led by Austria's Strabag had previously withdrawn (NCE 5 May).

The two bidders are led by Italian contractors Astaldi and Impregilo respectively.

A Stretto di Messina spokeswoman told NCE that discussions over a joint bid had been led by Astaldi.

Astaldi had won a monthlong tender deadline extension, pleading that it needed more time to address project risks.

Key members have withdrawn from both groups claiming that risks were badly defined, and that too little time had been allowed to address them.

The Astaldi group has lost Spanish contractors Necso and Ferrovial while Impregilo has lost Vinci of France and Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries of Japan.

he spokeswoman added that it was Impregilo that had pulled the plug on the joint bid negotiations. Neither Astaldi or Impregilo were willing to comment.

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