Siemens says it is sure of getting Eurostar train order

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The German engineering group Siemens replied Wednesday to a legal challenge by French rival Alstom to a key order for high-speed trains, with Siemens saying it was confident of retaining the deal.

"Competent courts will rule if the procedure and attribution of the contract to Siemens was fair," a statement said. "We are confident that is the case."

"The complaint was not directed against Siemens," it added. "Siemens made an offer as part of a transparent process that conforms to European law, and which was deemed best by the client."

Alstom has filed a complaint in London, where the railway operator Eurostar is based, to obtain a suspension of its tender for ten high-speed trains worth around 600 million euros (840 million dollars).

Eurostar's decision to buy trains built by Siemens was sharply criticized by the French government, which maintained that such equipment did not meet current safety standards in the tunnel that runs under the Channel to Britain.

Siemens and the German railway Deutsche Bahn are counting on deal to advance cross-border rail competition in Europe.

© 2010 AFP

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