The Italian company Serenissima, which was supposed to build the bypass of Fier and Vlora, was closed. The Albanian government seized two construction sites and requested the submission of the relevant documentation within the two-week time-limit, set out in the law.
The Road Authority at the beginning of April announced to the company that if within 6 April 2017 the construction sites would not be reopened, then the contracts would be unilaterally repealed.
Now, bot contracts are repealed as a result of the long delays in completing the works.
The first contract for the realization of the Fier bypass was awarded to Serenissima Construzioni s.p.a in 2013 and it was supposed to be completed by October 2017. But only a small part of it is currently finished.
The same situation continues with the bypass of Vlora, the second contract won by the company Serenissima.
Serenissima is a company created by the public group, owners of the Italian highway Milano – Venezia, to carry out the maintenance and upgrade of the highway with an Italian company. They entered the Albanian market in 2013.
Serenissima, thanks to its political-diplomatic support, managed to win two major contracts in Albania.
The way in which this company won the tender for these two contracts caused a lot of debate between Albanian developers, since the Serenissima won the tender by offering a much lower value than the initial one set by the auction. Moreover, the value offered by them was lower than the real cost of the construction works. The joint value of the two contracts was about €80 million.
The very low sums, and the pursuit of a suicide policy in dealings with subcontractors created a series of disagreements that led to the blocking of works, blocking bank accounts, and the inability to complete the construction of public works.
After a series of futile negotiations, attended by representatives of Italian politics, the Albanian government decided to abolish the contracts.
Meanwhile, in September 2016, the ownership of the company in Italy changed. The only company-owner of Serenissima Constructions, the powerful A4 Holding s.p.a firm, was bought by the largest European private-owned highway management group, the Spanish one, Albertis.
The Spanish company decided to change the policies of the Italian group. They sold the Serenissima construction company for a very low sum, to an Italian entrepreneur who could not convince the Albanian government that they could finish building two major city rings in the city of Fier and Vlora.
Now both construction sites will probably be tendered from the beginning, with longer timeframes.
Meanwhile Seresnissima has to face trials for the non-payment of €17 million to the subcontractors.
While Albanian creditors, surprised from the sale of the company Serenissima, have expressed that they will sue A4 Holding – the old company-owner of Serenissima. Creditors hope to sue A4 Holding on the charges of not supervising contract enforcement by Serenissima.
This shows once again that Albanian governments, influenced by foreign lobbyists and diplomats, trust the building of important public works to fake economic operators, who come to Albania only to falsify their documents.