European systems integrator Steria is the latest bidder to pull out of the competition to become a main contractor for the Home Office's £4.3bn ID card procurement framework.
The move, a month after Accenture and BAE Systems quit, leaves Computer Sciences Corp (CSC), EDS, Fujitsu, IBM, and Thales in the running.
A spokesman for the Identity & Passport Service said, "This is not a problem." He said the IPS will issue invitations to tender next month and expects to award the framework procurement contract in May to four or five prime suppliers.
"Those suppliers can choose to supplement their capabilities with subcontractors, and there could also be other contracts procured outside the framework which other firms would also be able to bid for," he said.
Steria, whose subsidiary Xansa is the Department of Health's partner in the NHS Shared Business Services joint venture, said it would like to be considered as a subcontractor for ID card work.