Italian energy contractor Saipem has been chosen as preferred bidder to head a consortium to rebuild a railway line in Egypt, Egyptian phosphorus group Waphco said in a statement.
If the contract is awarded, the project would involve developing a cargo and passenger railway line to connect a phosphoric acid production site run by Waphco at Abu Tartour to the port of Safaga on the Red Sea, the group added .
The statement did not say how much the contract was worth but a source familiar with the matter said it would be around $500-million.
Other members of the consortium are Italian engineering group Salcef and Egyptian energy company El Sewedy Electric.
The project is part of wider plans to open the area to tourism, the statement added.