Hopewell Highway Infrastructure is looking for partners to compete for the 15 billion yuan Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge project expected to be up for tender in the next few months. The toll-road unit of property developer Hopewell Holdings had been in talks with some interested parties, including state-owned entities and Hong Kong firms over a possible alliance, Hopewell Highway managing director Thomas Jefferson Wu said. Sources said the likely candidates were Hopewell Highway's state-owned partner in its Guangdong toll-road projects, Guangdong Provincial Highway Construction, and developers Sun Hung Kai Properties and Shun Tak Holdings. Declining to reveal the identities of the potential partners, Mr Wu said yesterday that Hopewell Highway aimed to obtain a 50 per cent interest in the project. 'We want to play a leading role. We hope the tendering will be available as soon as possible,' he said after unveiling Hopewell Highway's 22.6 per cent growth in net profit to $900.91 million for the year to June and Hopewell's 14.3 per cent increase in net profit to $1.66 billion. For more than 20 years, Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung - Mr Wu's father - has tried to improve the transport flow within the Pearl River Delta region, and now his brainchild is expected to be put up for international tendering by the end of the year. Designed as a bridge and tunnel road corridor between San Shek Wan on Lantau, A Perola in Macau and Gongbei in Zhuhai, the 36km project was still pending State Council approval, a Hong Kong government spokeswoman said yesterday. Hopewell Highway estimates the project would cost it 2.62 billion yuan, based on the assumption that its 50 per cent interest would be made up of 35 per cent equity and 65 per cent bank borrowings. Mr Wu said the company had sufficient cash resources for funding after boosting its reserves to $2.44 billion partly by arranging an unsecured syndicated loan of $3.6 billion last week. This was in addition to an operating cash inflow of more than $1 billion annually. Hopewell Highway's net profit for the year was driven by a 21 per cent jump in traffic volume and an 18 per cent rise in toll revenue at its flagship Guangzhou-Shenzhen superhighway. The final dividend was raised 2 per cent to 12.75 cents per share, lifting the full-year payout 2.22 per cent to 23 cents. Hopewell, meanwhile, proposed to raise its final dividend 26.66 per cent to 38 cents per share, lifting the full-year payout 14 per cent to 80 cents.