North America: Aecon withdraws from Gordie Howe P3, report says

07 May 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

UPDATED: This story was updated on 8 May at 5pm ET to reflect that all three shortlisted teams returned bids on 8 May. A preferred proponent decision is expected week of 11 June.  

Canadian construction company AECON Group has withdrawn from a consortium that is bidding on a DBFOM of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, according a 4 May report in Bloomberg.

The Canadian government is currently reviewing China Communications Construction Company International Holding’s (CCCI) buyout of the Calgary-based Aecon. CCCI is 63% controlled by the Chinese government and Aecon’s involvement as a bidder has raised concerns because it involves the construction of a bridge connecting the US and Canada.

However, Aecon’s CEO John Beck told Bloomberg that the decision was not based on the review; the company was simply “too busy to get the project off the ground in the timeframe wanted,” he told the news service.

Aecon was part of a bidding consortium for Gordie Howe that also included Grupo ACS, Fluor, AECOMand Dragados. That consortium, along with two other shortlisted groups, had returned technical bids by the 3 April deadline, as reported. Financial proposals were returned by all three teams on 8 May. A preferred proponent decision is expected the week of 11 June, said a source.

A source familiar with Canadian P3 procurements previously told Inframation that if AECON were to withdraw, the team could choose to continue without the company’s involvement or find a replacement construction entity.

The three shortlisted teams for the project are:
– Grupo ACSFluor Corporation, AECON Concessions, AECOM, Dragados
– EllisDon Capital, BechtelFengate CapitalBBGI, Traylor Brothers, Egis, Arup, HMM, ED Civil, ED Services
– John LaingSNC-LavalinVinci Concessions, American Bridge, HDR

Though the cloud of CCCI’s acquisition has loomed over Aecon, it has been quite busy in recent months. It was part of a consortium that finalized a CAD 5bn EPC contract for the Réseau express métropolitan Montréal Light Rail Transit project with CDPQ Infra Inc. and a member of a team that was selected as preferred proponent for the Finch West Light Rail Transit project in Toronto. 

As reported, the Canadian government had expressed concerns over Gordie Howe because a Chinese government-controlled company’s involvement in the project would likely be unacceptable to the Trump administration, which regards China as a security and trade threat.

Aecon did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.