Four contenders are left out of 13 original bidders for Cheshire County Councils £1 billion 25-year Waste Treatment Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract.
The four companies picked to progress to the next stage are: Shanks Waste Management with Ineos Chlor; United Utilities plc; Viridor Waste Management; and the Waste Recycling Group.
They were chosen from 13 companies, which tendered for the contract in April 2007.
Now the first stage evaluations have been completed, the council expects to announce its final choice in early 2009. A council spokesman described the process as a fair and robust evaluation, carried out painstakingly over a number of months".
Council strategic manager (contract procurement) John Thistlewood said: Due to the confidentiality of the process I cant give away details of the technologies being put forward. But I can say that the bids include a wide range of technologies, including mechanical and biological treatment and thermal treatments. Its good having a wide range of technologies at this stage.
"This is really only the first stage of competitive dialogue, which weve got to get down to one preferred bidder and one reserve bid.
There is speculation that one of the bidders, Ineos Chlor, has proposed a combined heat and power facility, which will use energy from waste technology. This is because the company has a planning application under consideration for such a facility at Picow Farm, Weston Point, Runcorn, Cheshire.
A spokesman for Ineos Chlor said: The planning application has been with the Department of Business for about 18 months and were hoping for a decision soon, but decisions like this can take a while. We need a decision soon because we need to make commercial decisions about where to get feedstock from.