MONTREAL - A consortium that includes SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) has been selected by the Ontario government as the preferred bidder for Toronto's multibillion-dollar Eglinton light rail transit contract, sources say.
The Crosslinx Transit Solution group is a mix of Canadian and international partners, including SNC, Aecon (TSX:ARE), EllisDon, ACS Infrastructure Canada, Dragrados and IBI Group.
It beat Crosstown Transit Partners, which included Fengate Capital Management, OHL Concesiones, STRABAG, Bechtel Development Co. and Obayashi Canada Holdings.
The contract, said to be worth up to $4 billion, is the embattled Montreal-based engineering and construction company's second large win in a week. The federal government has selected a different SNC-Lavalin partnership to build the new Champlain bridge in Montreal for more than $3 billion.
SNC has declined to comment on either contract.
A spokesman for Infrastructure Ontario said the winning bidder will be announced this summer along with details about the cost and schedule.
Ontario is investing $5.3 billion overall in the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, the single-largest transit project in the province'ss history.
The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is part of Metrolinx's regional transportation plan designed to reduce congestion.
It is a 19-kilometre light rail line with up to 25 stations that will run along Eglinton Avenue, with about half the distance running underground. It will link to bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines.
The project is expected to open in late 2020 and funding will be provided by the Ontario government and administered by Metrolinx.
The winning bidders will maintain the system over 30 years and finance the project.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Sara O'Brien said the contract is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion for the consortium.
"If confirmed, we would view this Eglinton win as positive, given size and impact to SNC Infrastructure segment and reputation, following SNC consortium win last week of Champlain bridge," she wrote in a report.
The two large government contracts are being awarded even though SNC-Lavalin has been grappling with a number of events that have spawned criminal and civil allegations against certain former SNC executives. Most of the cases are still before the courts.
SNC has said it will plead not guilty to fraud and corruption charges filed against the company in February by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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