High Stakes II

Oct 17, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence conglomerate Wednesday defended its claim to have made the highest bid for Colombo port’s new container terminal in partnership with PSA Corp. An Aitken Spence spokesman said a statement by rival bidder Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) was misleading and an attempt to change the rules for evaluating the financial bids.

HPH on Monday issued a statement dismissing Aitken Spence’s claims in a letter to the Colombo Stock Exchange saying its consortium made the highest bid to build and operate Colombo’s planned new container terminal.

Financial proposals to build the south container terminal in the Colombo port expansion project were opened the week before last.

Port officials said the Aitken Spence/PSA consortium and the independent bid by HPH, two of the world’s biggest port operators, were the front-runners.

Officials said a detailed analysis of the bids was required before identifying the winner as the amount of profit it would generate for the port needs to be calculated.

The spokesman for Aitken Spence said Wednesday that HPH’s statement on the determination of the financial bid was “not only misleading and vacuous, but a