AS many as six companies are understood to have been shortlisted for the role of project delivery partner (PDP) by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd (formerly known as Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd) for the development of the proposed RM9 billion LRT Line 3 (LRT 3) linking Bandar Utama to Klang, sources say.
The six are a joint venture between Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd, a tie-up between Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) and George Kent (M) Bhd, UEM Group Bhd, Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, Sunway Bhd and a joint effort involving WCT Bhd and AlloyMtd group (the merged entity of MTD Capital Bhd and Alloy Consolidated Sdn Bhd).
It is said that they have been picked from some 20 companies.
“The tender closed late last year. From what we know, six companies have been shortlisted. From the six, one will be appointed the PDP before the middle of the year,” a source familiar with the matter tells The Edge.
The appointment of the PDP is likely to be by June, which will enable construction to commence late in the year, as planned by the Land Public Transport Commission, the source adds.
There is very little separating the six, with most having expertise in rail construction, except for Naza TTDI.
Gamuda and MMC already have an equally owned joint-venture company — MMC Gamuda KVMRT (PDP) Sdn Bhd — that acts as the PDP for the multibillion-ringgit MRT Lines 1 and 2.
MMC is 51.8%-controlled by well-connected tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, while Gamuda’s shareholders include Permodalan Nasional Bhd via Amanah Saham Bumiputera with almost 8.5% equity interest, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) with 7.7%, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) with 6% and Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Sultan Azlan Shah with a little more than 5.3%, held via Generasi Setia (M) Sdn Bhd.
Gamuda has a construction order book of about RM2 billion and MMC has interest in various sectors of the economy, including ports, airports, construction and power generation. The two have also partnered to build the northern portion of the double-tracking railway project, valued at about RM12 billion.
The source says considering that the two companies already have a lot on their plates, Prasarana may opt for another player to partner it for LRT 3.
MRCB is a construction and development company with the EPF as its largest shareholder (35.9%). Another major shareholder is Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din, with a 16.7% stake.
MRCB has been linked to several rail jobs in the past, including the upgrading of the Klang Valley double-tracking system, valued at around RM850 million. It is also worth noting that MRCB owns KL Sentral, the rail transport hub where the KTM Komuter, Putra LRT,
monorail and KLIA Ekspres converge.
George Kent is 42.2%-controlled by Tan Sri Tan Kay Hock, who is said to be close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In 2012, Prasarana awarded George Kent, with privately held Lion Pacific as partner, the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of system works for the Ampang line extension project.
Industry players say the MRCB-George Kent team looks like a strong candidate for the LRT 3 PDP contract.
UEM has UEM Builders, a construction outfit capable of handling rail jobs. UEM Builders has been involved in many large-scale infrastructure jobs, including the second Penang bridge.
Sometime back, there was talk of UEM hiving off UEM Builders to MRCB, but this did not happen. It is not known if UEM Builders is still up for sale.
UEM, a wholly owned unit of state-controlled investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd, is also looking to bag the high-speed rail project connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Most market watchers are surprised at Naza TTDI being shortlisted.
While Naza TTDI is a known property player, the group, according to its website, recently added Naza Engineering and Construction Sdn Bhd to its stable of companies, which would enable it to undertake civil engineering and infrastructure works, among others.
It is not clear if Naza TTDI is tying up with any other party, but it may be perceived to lack the rail expertise, having largely been a developer.
Sunway Bhd and its group of companies are among the most prominent construction and development companies in the country and a chunk of its RM3.6 billion order book stems from rail and transport-related jobs — the Klang Valley MRT package V4 (RM1.2 billion), LRT Package B (RM569 million) and Sunway bus rapid transit (RM452.5 million).
Sunway is 55.4%-controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling, who founded the group.
WCT is 19.5%-owned by its managing director, Peter Taing Kim Hwa, and has been involved in many construction projects in the country and the Middle East.
Earlier this month, WCT, partnering Al-Ali Projects Co, clinched a RM1.2 billion job from Lusail Real Estate Development Co to build a commercial boulevard with roads, and an LRT station, among others, in Doha, Qatar.
AlloyMtd is controlled by Tan Sri Nik Hussain Abdul Rahman and his family. Most of the units under the group, such as MTD Capital, Metacorp Bhd and MTD Infraperdana Bhd, have been privatised, leaving only MTD ACPI Engineering Bhd.
In 2012, the group bagged the MRT V7 viaduct work package, valued at close to RM500 million.
This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 23 - 29, 2015.