BIDDING documentation for the 25-year concession to operate the rail networks in Kenya and Uganda was issued on August 30, after the submission deadline was extended at the request of the bidders.

Final offers were due by September 30, and the two governments now expect to name the preferred bidder on October 14. Contract signing is scheduled for November 21, with the handover postponed until March 2006.

According to Kenya’s Investment Secretary Esther Koimett, the concessionaires will be expected to set up a holding company in which they hold a minimum 35% stake. Kenyan and Ugandan citizens are to be offered an initial 15% stake, increasing to 40% after 2010. Concession fees are estimated at between US$5m and US$8m a year.

The five prequalified bidders are Mauritius-based New Limpopo Projects Investments, Canac of Canada, IPS Maersk Kenya, Rites of India and China Railway First Group Co. n