It has been revealed that Bouygues is to buy rival French contractor Equans in a deal worth £6bn. But the buy-out hasn’t gone down well with the UK Competition Authority as they have concerns that the merger of the 2 companies would essential mean that they would have 2 bids in place for the HS2 contest for an overhead powerlines contractor.
There are currently 4 bidders in the tender pot including
1) Bouygues-owned by Colas Rail
2) Rapide JV – a consortium of Equans-owned by SPL Powerlines UK/INEO and Keltbray
3) Balfour Beatty
4) The China Railway Electrification Engineering Group
The Competition and Markets Authority believe that although there is sufficient competition for future contracts, tendering for HS2 was already at an advanced stage which ultimately means that the final stages of tendering maybe less competitive.
It also now appears that Bouygues has offered to have both bids independently assessed by Ingerop – a French Engineering Consultant, and they have said that they will remove the least economically advantageous bid from the HS2 bidding race. If this happens then the removal of the bid could impact Keltbray Rail who are part of the bid from Rapide JV Equans owned by SPL Powerlines UK/INEO.
Image credit Rail Engineer