Incinerator bidders pulled out due to COVID-19 and company takeovers, minister reveals

Government must reissue the tender to build a new incinerator at Magħtab after none of the three shortlisted consortiums submitted a final bid


The three companies that were shortlisted to build a new incinerator at Magħtab pulled out of the bid due to the COVID-19 situation or because of company takeovers, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia revealed.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, in response to a parliamentary question from PN MP Robert Cutajar, Farrugia explained that one of the consortiums retracted their bid because of the COVID-19 situation. The other two consortiums were involved in company takeovers, which he said disqualifies them from the bidding process.

“From the three consortiums that we went into dialogues with, one of them pulled out due to COVID-19 and will not continue the process. Two others were involved in takeovers – one was a merger, another was taken over by another company. The rules disqualify mergers and takeovers, so from three bidders we ended up with nothing.”

Wasteserv said last Friday that the tender to build a new incinerator will have to be reissued as none of the three shortlisted consortiums submitted a final bid.

Instead, the excavations works that formed part of the original tender have been hived off and will start in the coming weeks, acting as a separate tender altogether.

MaltaToday reported on Monday that the completion of excavation works later this year would help mitigate some of the time lost as a result of the tender setback. The sources indicated that there is market interest in the project despite the setback.

The contract for the design and construction of the facility was estimated at between €160 million and €190 million with a further financial outlay of €200 million for commissioning and operation over a 20-year period.

The incinerator project is part of a holistic strategy that is being implemented at Magħtab, which has been dubbed the ECOHIVE Complex. The complex will include a new recycling facility and a new organic processing plant.

The Planning Authority approved the outline permit for the incinerator earlier this month. The waste agency says an incinerator will help Malta move away from its dependence on landfilling for non-recyclable waste.