PENTA-OCEAN Construction has emerged as the likely winner of yesterday's cash tender for rights to carry out the first private residential-commercial development on Hunghom reclamation. Elsewhere, two more consortiums said they had been shortlisted by the Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTRC) as possible candidates to carry out the first of the big property developments planned around its proposed new airport railway station on the Kowloon peninsula. The consortiums led by Sino Land and HKR International said they had received letters from the MTRC inviting them to the final round. The five-strong consortium of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Swire Properties, Henderson Land Development, Hang Lung Development and New World Development said it had received an invitation to make a tender earlier in the week. At least four contractors are believed to have submitted tenders for rights to develop the 1.6 million square foot Hunghom site, the first to be offered by the Government on this particular reclamation. Penta-Ocean, a Japanese civil engineering firm, is believed to have submitted the highest bid of $938 million which normally means it would be awarded the deal. The site is to be developed as mass market small flats under the Government's Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS). Penta-Ocean has a track record in Hong Kong in this field. The other contenders in this bout are said to be Chevalier International, Paul Y-ITC and Hsin Chong Construction, with the lowest bid said to have been about $800 million. All the bids were lower than the market forecast of more than $1 billion. The big time developers stayed on the sidelines, as expected, leaving the small to medium-sized firms to take centre stage. Owing to the low returns normally offered on PSPS development projects, the large developers usually save their resources for richer pickings elsewhere, like the string of MTRC sites coming up for grabs. The Hunghom site has a plot ratio of more than five times, providing for the construction of 2,500 small flats, ranging from 377 to 592 square feet. The 1.59 million square foot west Kowloon reclamation site will provide for about 1,776 larger flats. It is expected to cost between $4 billion and $5 billion to complete, including a Government land premium of about $1,900 per square foot. Sino Land is teaming up with Manhattan Garments, DBS Land and Nan Fung Development to make its west Kowloon tender. HKR International said it was still finalising its consortium. Four other companies have expressed interest in participating in the scheme, but it is unclear whether they are still in the running. The MTRC is exceptionally secretive during its tendering process. The four firms are Cheung Kong (Holdings), Citic Pacific, Lai Sun Development and Paliburg Development International. Successful candidates have been given until the middle of December to make their final submissions.