PETALING JAYA: Little-known Ewein Bhd, a Penang-based metal fabricator, is close to securing a sizeable contract related to the construction of the state’s mega undersea tunnel project, according to sources.
One indicator of such a deal brewing in Ewein was the company’s announcement on Monday of the appointment of Datuk Zarul Ahmad Zulkifli (pic, inset) as a director with immediate effect of Ewein’s wholly-owned unit, Ewein Land Sdn Bhd.
Zarul is the chairman of Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd, which in February this year was awarded by the Penang State Government to undertake the RM6.3bil Penang Road and Undersea Tunnel Project in the state.
Hence, sources said this was a prelude to Ewein being appointed as one of the contractors for the mega project. Sources said that Ewein’s portion of works in the project could top RM1bil.
To recap, the consortium is made up of a joint venture between Zenith Construction and China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) with the largest equity component of 70%, followed by Beijing Urban Construction Group (10%), Sri Tinggi Sdn Bhd (10%) and Juteras Sdn Bhd (10%).
To be precise, the consortium was awarded the 6.5km Pesiaran Gurney-Bagan Ajam Tunnel, the 4.2km Pesiaran Gurney-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass, the 4.6km Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway-Bandar Baru Air Itam bypass and a four-lane12km road linking Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang
The initial award of the contract barely garnered any stock investor interest in the project, due to the absence of involvement of any listed entity.
This could change with Ewein’s presence.
The deal also has an interesting real estate element.
Under the agreement, the state will pay for the cost of construction via 110 acres of reclaimed land in Penang.
It is understood that Ewein, as a contractor, could be entitled to some of this.
Sources also said that there were plans for this land to be jointly developed with international and local developers into high value mixed development projects.
In addition to the land swap, the state government has given the consortium a 30-year concession to operate, maintain and manage the undersea tunnel road, which includes toll collections at rates similar to the state’s first and second bridges.
Sources said that assuming Ewein eventually secured a role, its portion of the contract might be coming from the Zenith Construction-CRCC joint venture, which is the 70% owner of the RM6.3bil project.
“Ewein is likely to get 30% of the construction works from Zenith-CRCC, giving it a contract value of RM1.3bil. The other 70% will be undertaken by CRCC themselves,” said the source.