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Korean Consortium Named Priority Partner for Thai Water Management System
�� �� A South Korean consortium, led by state-run Korea Water Resources Corp. (K-water), has been tapped as the priority negotiation partner for all 10 major water management projects being pushed in Thailand, consortium officials said Tuesday.

The projects, estimated to be worth around 12 trillion won (US$11.1 billion), aim to upgrade Thailand's water resources infrastructure and prevent massive flooding, like the kind that devastated the country's key regions, including its capital city of Bangkok, in 2011.

The projects call for the building of reservoirs, dams, better use of land, improvements in farmlands and construction of flood control canals and spillways.

Thailand selected three candidate bidders or consortia for each of the 10 related projects, with K-water and several other South Korean companies making all of the shortlists. Other South Korean companies in the consortium include Hyundai, GS, SK and Daelim.

The Thai government has been screening potential bidders since last July, with South Korea, China, Japan and Thai companies and corporations engaged in a tight race.

K-water said that of all the competitors, only the Korean consortium it leads was tapped as the preferred bidder for all projects along with ITD Power China JV, a Thai-Chinese business concern.

A Thai-Japanese consortium also made the shortlist in six projects, with a Thai company making three, it said.

The Thai government plans to ask the companies on the shortlist to submit their bidding prices, blueprints and other details by March 22, with the final winners to be announced on April 10, K-water said.

"To some extent we had expected to make the shortlist because the presentation and initial bid proposal made last year was well received," said a K-water source who declined to be identified.

He, however, made clear that being named as the priority negotiation partner is only the start in what is expected to be a long process.

He said that a "dream team," made up of 100 architects, engineers and other specialists, is currently in Thailand to put the finishing touches on the final proposal to be submitted.

"They will stay in the country until their task is completed," the official said.

If the K-water consortium wins the projects, it will be the first time that South Korea will export its water management know-how. South Korean builders have proven their ability to handle such big projects through refurbishing the nation's four rivers.

The four river project, a major campaign pledge of incumbent President Lee Myung-bak, called for the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers to be refurbished so as to better conserve the country's water resources, safeguard the environment and control flooding.

The state-run company, however, said that because Thailand plans to award the projects separately, the overall size of work to be assigned to South Korean companies will have to be determined later.

"If our consortium wins the Thai water management system project, it could lead to additional orders in other countries down the line," a K-water official said.

Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (Feb. 5, 2013)

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