New claim: SBJV wants DKK 3.4 billion

SBJV now wants DKK 3.4 billion from the state. The general contractor SBJV has updated its complaint. Now the Italians are demanding DKK 3.4 billion from the state for additional costs related to the Storstrøm Bridge.

The Italian contractor working on the Storstrøm Bridge is significantly increasing its claim against the Danish state.

In an updated complaint, the Danish Road Directorate has announced that the SBJV consortium is demanding a total of DKK 3.4 billion from the state. This represents an increase of DKK 600 million.

- The past three years have been exceptional, but based on the available information, we find it difficult to see that the contractor is entitled to the extensive financial claims and deadline extension it asserts," says project manager Niels Gottlieb from the Danish Road Directorate.

Neither SBJV nor its parent company Itinera wishes to comment on the matter. It is increased by DKK 600 million.

On Monday, FemernNews reported that the Italians initially demanded DKK 2.8 billion from the state. This was evident from an insight into the complaint. In the complaint, the consortium presented ten reasons for the problems in the bridge project, where the finances seem to have gotten out of control.

During the design and execution of the work, SBJV continually raised various claims against the Danish Road Directorate, and in October 2022, SBJV initiated an arbitration case against the state.

The current initial claims amount to DKK 3.4 billion, and an extension of the deadline by at least 830 days, equivalent to 27 months.

Massive problems

SBJV justifies its claims, among other things, by alleging that the project has been delayed and become more expensive due to a series of issues related to the client, ocean currents, and wind conditions, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which have led to extraordinary price increases and difficulties in obtaining the necessary workforce.

In its financial statements, the parent company Itinera referred to it as an "explosion of problems."
The Danish Road Directorate, in close collaboration with the State Attorney's Office, is currently reviewing the received material and, as the process dictates, preparing a response to the Arbitration Board. Niels Gottlieb describes it as an extensive task.

- It is difficult to estimate at this point how long the arbitration process will be, especially since the contract work has not been completed and is not expected to be completed until 2025. It may well take several years after the delivery of the project before a final decision is reached by the Arbitration Board, says Niels Gottlieb.

Borrowing money

Independent of the arbitration case, the Danish Road Directorate and SBJV agreed to continue collaborating to complete the bridge construction. They have decided on a so-called liquidity bridge, which means the Danish Road Directorate provides liquidity to the contractor until the project is completed.

The loan is provided to ensure the progress of the project. Depending on the contractor's progress, the loan will be disbursed in instalments based on agreed milestones.

Once the Storstrøm Bridge is delivered and the arbitration case is resolved, the general contractor will repay the provided liquidity offset by the outcome of the arbitration. The liquidity provided by the Danish Road Directorate to the general contractor will accrue interest at the prevailing market rate.

In 2016, the Danish Road Directorate awarded the construction of a four-kilometre-long new Storstrøm Bridge, connecting Zealand and Falster, through a tender process.

The consortium formed the SBJV joint venture, won the bid and signed the construction contract in 2018. The project has an approved budget of DKK 4.7 billion.

Artiklen er en del af temaet Femern.

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