HAC (Croatian Motorways) Could Annul Tender Worth 380 Million Kuna

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of August, 2019, HAC (Croatian motorways) are likely to cancel a tender worth a massive 380 million kuna for the construction of the Beli Manastir – Drava bridge section on the A5 Beli Manastir – Osijek – Svilaj motorway. The reason for this decision was the withdrawal of Integral inženjering (engineering) from Laktaši (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The bidding for the construction of this subdivision on the Croatian part of 5c corridor received three bids. Of these, only Integral from Bosnia and Herzegovina offered a price which was within the estimated value of the works.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina-based company has offered to build the 17.5-kilometer highway for 359.1 million kuna. The value of the offer of the Chinese company Sinohydro Corporation amounts to 416.1 million kuna, while the community of bidders Osijek-Koteks, Gravija, Cestorad and PZC Brod offered a price of 446.1 million kuna, Vecernji list reports.

The bids opened back on the 19th of March, 2019, and on the 2nd of August, the HAC board decided to select Integral’s offer, which still required the approval of the supervisory board. But then a major turnaround took place.

As has since been learned, HAC sent a letter to all bidders inviting them to extend the deadline for their bids, which expired on August the 17th. In the same letter, all those who offered their bids were also invited to extend their guarantees, or to offer new guarantees. The deadline for the submission of statements of extension of the validity period of the offer was until August the 20th, and for the submission of a new or extended guarantee, the date was set at August the 22nd, 2019.

The Chinese company and a consortium led by Osijek-Koteks sent the requested documents on time, but nothing came from Integral, creating major problems for HAC because the other two bids were above the estimated value of the works. Therefore, HAC could cancel the tender entirely and announce a new one with the same estimated value. In doing so, HAC is examining what legal steps they could take and whether or not they can sue Integral to protect their own interests, given that the aforementioned Laktaši company has abandoned its offer, putting them in a highly unenviable situation.

From HAC, the decision to select Integral in the tender for the Beli Manastir – Drava Bridge subdivision was made more than four months after the bids actually opened, and it apprently took so long because it was a complex, high value tender, so they had to make sure that the prices offered were technically correct. Therefore, they had previously asked the tenderer for an extension of the validity of the offer and the guarantee, and at that time they all responded to that invitation.

Why Integral did not respond to the second call for these extensions is currently not known to HAC. However, the construction company confirmed for Vecernji list that they definitely did not extend the validity of their bid in the HAC tender for the construction of a subdivision on the 5c corridor. Again, they provided no clear reason as to why.

“We can confirm that Integral engineering, having already extended the validity of its offer once, didn’t do so again. In doing so, we were guided by an assessment of the situation and market developments,” Integral, the largest construction company in Republika Srpska, told Vecernji list in Republika Srpska.

The company is already present on the Croatian market, is a subcontractor of the Dugo Selo – Križevci railway line, and has competed, among other things, for the construction of access roads to Pelješac bridge in Dalmatia.

It was excluded from that particular tender because of its unusually low price. HAC believes that this procedure, after the cancellation of the tender, will be carried out quickly because the Chinese and the consortium led by Osijek-Koteks will have no legal basis to appeal such a decision, since their bids are above the estimated value of the works anyway. Therefore, they believe that even if they do lodge an appeal, the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures will quickly dismiss it, so that a new tender may be launched soon.

On the Croatian part of the 5c corridor, out of a total of 90 kilometres, the country is yet to construct those 17.5 kilometres from the Drava bridge to Beli Manastir, and another five kilometres from Beli Manastir to the Hungarian border, which are still under design. As for the Hungarian part of the 5c corridor, a highway from Budapest to Boly was built there, and another 20 kilometres from Boly to the Croatian border still need to be built.

The Hungarians should build these 20 kilometres by 2023, and by then Croatia should complete its last five kilometres to the Hungarian border. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a highway from Zenica to Tarčin was built on the 5c corridor, as was a junction with Highway 10 near Ploče.

The construction of the motorway around Zenica and the border section from Odžak to the Svilaj bridge on the Sava river are now underway.

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