The bid floated for the construction of Nyala Insurance Company's headquarters was overwhelmed with Chinese companies.
Initially, 17 companies purchased the bid document, but only nine responded to the announcement. Seven of them are Chinese-owned companies, and the remaining two are local construction companies that submitted their technical offers to the Company during the opening of the tender held last Monday, at the head office of the Firm, located along Mickey Leland Street.
The multi-purpose building covers 1,490sqm of land and will have three basements, a ground floor and 18 storeys. It will also host corporate offices, meeting rooms, parking lots with the capacity of holding 125 cars, and shops as well as a branch office for Dashen Bank S.C. and Nyala.
It was designed by BET Architects Plc- a company that also developed headquarters for Ethiopian Airlines and Ethio telecom. BET was established in 2003 by two friends who are architects by profession, and it engages in designing different types of buildings and construction management services.
The construction of the building is estimated to cost the Firm over half a billion Birr, according to industry insiders.
Renowned Chinese contractors in the Ethiopian market such as China Wuyi Co. Ltd, China Jiang Xi Corporation for International & Technical Cooperation and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation participated in the bid.
Afro Tsion Construction Plc and Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction (TACON) were the only local companies that made it to the preliminary technical evaluation of the tender despite the preferential treatment given to local contractors by the Firm.
"Local contractors will be awarded if their financial offer is equal to the foreign companies," said Yared Molla, CEO of the Firm.
Companies known for road construction including China Gansu International ECO & Technical Group, China Railway Seventh Group and Sino Hydropower Corporation have also taken part in the tender.
Amongst the bidders, the chances of China Railway and China Jiangsu to pass to the next stage of evaluation are unlikely as both of them mentioned their financial offers on the technical document, according to Yared.
"This is against the conditions stated in the bid document," he said.
Nyala, which has 34 outlets throughout the country, is expected to select a winner and start construction next year. It is scheduled to be finalised in two and a half years.
Founded two decades ago, Nyala has written a premium of 388 million Br and 52.3 million Br from the general and life insurance lines of businesses, respectively. In the 2015/16 fiscal year, it had earned 71.3 million Br profit- the second highest amongst private insurers. Until the past year, the Company's assets are valued at close to a billion Br.
The trend of constructing buildings worth multi-millions is becoming common in the financial industry. Presently, a peer of Nyala, Nile Insurance S.C is also building a 35-storey headquarters along Ras Abebe Aregay Street with a cost of 173 million Br. Oromia Insurance Company (OIC) is also preparing to construct a 32-storey joint headquarters in partnership with the Oromia Coffee Union.
In the same token, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC) and Global Insurance have also announced their plans to erect headquarters in this fiscal year.