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Three groups emerge as Messina front runners

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FIVE CONSORTIA have put themselves forward for construction of Italy's colossal e4.6bn (£3bn), 3.3km span Messina Crossing, it emerged this week.

Client for the project, Stretto di Messina, said it will not officially name the bidders until an independent committee has vetted prequalification documents for compliance with terms of the invitation to tender.

But a source close to the bidding process said it is likely that only the three that have declared their involvement will go forward. These are led by Italian major contractors Impregilo, Astaldi and special joint venture firm Risalto.

The other two bidders are rumoured to be groupings of subcontractors, one fronted by a Sicilian firm and the other by a Canadian contractor.

Neither is believed to be a serious contender.

Risalto, a joint venture of Rizzani de Eccher, Salini and Todini, has tied up with UK consultants Mott MacDonald and Arup and steelwork specialist Cleveland Bridge Dorman Long.

Financial and technical clout is being provided by Spanish firm Dragados and French giants Bouygues and Travaux Publics.

French mega-contractor Vinci is delivering the necessary financial credibility for the consortium headed by Impregilo, while Japanese firm Nippon Steel Corporation is expected to finance Astaldi's consortium.

Those making the grade will be invited to the next tender stage in mid-October. They will then have six months to put together a detailed tender.

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