Otoyol A.Ş. and Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. (İDO), two important players of the Gulf crossing, are going on trial in Washington.
İDO's U.K.-based partner Souter Investments applied to an arbitration court, claiming that the last discount on the tolls of the Osmangazi Bridge was incongruent to the contracts. Competition between İDO and the Osmangazi Bridge, which connects the two sides of the Marmara Sea, is being carried to court.
When the bridge crossings increased by 30 percent following the decrease in the tolls at the Osmangazi Bridge during the beginning of this year, İDO decided to take the said discount to court in Washington. The reason why the case was taken to a court abroad was İDO's foreign partner Souter Investments. The U.K.-based company, which holds a 30 percent stake in İDO, claimed that any discounts in bridge tolls are incongruent to the signed contracts. Stating that the toll of Osmangazi Bridge operated by Otoyol AŞ should be $42, but instead this figure was reduced to $18, Souter Investments made a preliminary appeal to international arbitration courts.
Not only does the case file include discounts on the Osmangazi Bridge tolls, but it was also noted that the British company added other issues to the case file, including İDO's permission to other firms to use its most profitable routes, on the grounds of contradiction to the tender specifications. The case in Washington was confirmed by the executives of Tepe-Akfen Group, İDO's main shareholder. The executives told the Sabah newspaper that the case was opened by their international partner.
Recalling that the entrance fee was guaranteed to be $42 + VAT to the consortium members when entering the İDO contract in 2011, the executives said they gave high prices in privatization under this guarantee.
Tepe-Akfen-Souter-Sera Joint Venture Group won the privatization bid for İDO with $861 million in 2011.
The Orhangazi-İzmir Highway project, which was put out to tender in 2009 with the Build-Operate-Transfer model, was given to Otoyol AŞ and founded by the Nurol, Özaltın, Makyol, Astaldi, Yüksel and Göçay Joint Venture Group. The cost of the bridge was reported to be around $1.1 billion.