The Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) debut as a hands-on energy player abroad hit a snag as its Chinese rival for a concession in Ghana hailed to court the responsible state agency, prompting a stop in the contracting process.

The Millennium Development Agency (MiDA) of Ghana—which leads the concession process—last month named Meralco the preferred bidder for a contract to manage, operate and invest in the Electric Company of Ghana (ECG), which serves that West African country’s capital region.

MiDA chose Meralco for having the “highest combined technical and financial score.”

MiDA, however, confirmed last week that losing bidder led by BXC Company Ghana Ltd. has brought the agency to court.

Ghanaian media quoted BXC, the Chinese firm, as saying that its loss to another bidder was “arbitrary and without basis.”

BXC, a seasoned power industry contractor in Ghana, was reportedly disqualified due to potential conflict of interest considering it had prior contracts with ECG.

With a suit against MiDA pending in court, the concession process has been stopped.

“We’ll leave [it] to the Ghanaian authorities. We respect whatever decision they’ll take,” Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes told the Inquirer.

“We have a very strong, very compliant proposal, we followed all the rules,” Reyes added.

Following Ghanaian law, Meralco has partnered with a local entity and is allowed to have a maximum equity share of 30 percent in the partnership.

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