Alstom says to drop Eurostar suit in UK after SNCF deal

2nd April 2012, Comments 0 comments

French engineering giant Alstom proposed Monday to end its court action against Eurostar in London after it clinched a 900-million-euro deal to sell trains to French state-owned rail operator SNCF.

SNCF, which owns 55 percent of Channel Tunnel passenger train operator Eurostar, is to buy 30 double-decker high-speed trains from Alstom to be delivered from 2015, Alstom said in a statement.

Boss Patrick Kron said in the statement that Alstom "proposes to end the procedure undertaken at London's High Court to contest the tender process launched by Eurostar in 2009 to renew its fleet," the statement said.

Alstom filed the complaint in London, where Eurostar is based, to attempt to force the suspension of the deal with rival German company Siemens for 10 high-speed trains worth around 600 million euros (800 million dollars).

Alstom previously supplied all of Eurostar's trains.

In an initial ruling in October 2010, judge Geoffrey rejected Alstom's call for the deal to be suspended but the court has yet to rule on other aspects of the case.

Alstom spokeswoman Christine Rahard told AFP that before Monday's statement "the main procedure was still underway (at the High Court) with no verdict expected any time soon. It's a very complicated case."

The European Commission said in 2010 it was considering launching a probe into the Eurostar tender as it may have violated laws governing fairness in the award of public contracts.

However, Rahard said she expected that procedure to end now that the court action in London was effectively over.

"That procedure was awaiting the London judgement," she said. "It should now stop."

Eurostar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

© 2012 AFP

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