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Tue 22 Apr 2008 01:18 AM

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Tarabot wins $5bn Saudi rail deal

Consortium named as preferred bidder for Landbridge project connecting Riyadh with Jeddah and Damman.

A consortium of seven Saudi Arabian partners and Australian group Asciano has been selected as preferred bidder for the $5 billion Saudi Landbridge rail project, it was announced on Monday.

The project has been structured as a 50-year concession to build, own and operate the network, Asciano said in a statement. The Tarabot consortium will own 80% of the concession, with Saudi Arabia holding the remaining 20%.

The group said it expects to finalise project finance within 12 months, with construction to begin shortly afterwards.

The Landbridge project will connect the Saudi Capital Riyadh with the major port cities of Jeddah and Damman. The existing rail network between Dammam and Riyadh will be upgraded, and a 945km line constructed between the capital and Jeddah.

Asciano managing director Mark Rowsthorn said the project was expected to deliver high returns for the company, which will hold a 5% equity stake in the consortium and be a significant shareholder in the operation and maintenance company.

Other shortlisted bidders included the Agility PWC Logistics consortium, Mada and Saudi Binladen.

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