The Ministry of Public Works, through the state-owned company SEITT, S.A., has begun the process to take on the operation of the different toll motorway concessions that, having entered insolvency proceedings in recent years, are currently in liquidation.

Once such process has concluded, the Ministry plans to return the operation and maintenance of these motorways to the private sector through the tendering of the appropriate services concessions under the new Public Procurement Act. Specifically, the intention of the Ministry of Public Works is to tender these concessions in two batches, including in one (Batch 1) the motorways near Madrid (R-2, R-3, R-4, R-5, M-5, M-12, AP-41, AP-36) and in the other (Batch 2) those on the Mediterranean corridor (AP-7 and the Alicante and Cartagena-Vera ring roads).

According to the draft initial conditions of concession under discussion:

— In both cases, provision shall be made for payment by the successful tenderer of a single upfront fee, to be fixed in the award procedure in respect of the best bid, and a variable annual fee to be paid only if the threshold of 125% of expected revenue included in the feasibility study is exceeded (paying 25% of the amount exceeding this threshold and 50% if the threshold of 150% is exceeded).

— In order to submit a tender, the bidding consortium must provide evidence of financial solvency (sufficient equity capital or liquidity to cover 20% of the upfront fee) and technical solvency (motorway concessionaires, shareholders holding more than 50% of motorway concessionaires or motorway or highway maintenance companies, with an average daily traffic of more than 10,000 vehicles on average over the last five years). Technical solvency does not necessarily have to lie with the members of the bidding consortium as it can be supported by a contractual commitment from a maintenance company. 

— The selection process will be conducted by way of a restricted procedure. Once the first stage (proof of technical solvency) has been completed, the award will be made to the tenderer offering the highest upfront fee and whose financing plan for the payment of this fee is considered sufficient.

— The term of the concession contracts will be 25 years for Batch 1 and 22 years for Batch 2. The contracts will be executed at the ‘risk and peril’ of the concessionaire taking on the operational risk arising from the provision of the motorway operation and maintenance service, who will be entitled to receive from motorway users the charges set out in the concession contract, as well as the revenue from the commercial areas included within the scope of concession. Consequently, the concessionaire will bear the full risk of demand, a risk that is already known on account of the traffic experience of recent years.