ABELLIO has withdrawn from the competition for the next Wales & Borders franchise, folliowing the collapse of its contracting partner Carillion. The move leaves just two companies bidding for the contract, which includes the planned South Wales Metro.
Transport minister Ken Skates said: “Abellio Rail Cymru (ARC) have notified Transport for Wales that they have withdrawn from the procurement process as of 17:00 on 22 February 2018.
“Despite the best efforts of the team of experts, lawyers and counsel at Transport for Wales, and the ARC team, ARC has taken the regrettable decision to withdraw its bid having been unable to overcome the impact of Carillion’s liquidation.
“When Carillion entered liquidation, Transport for Wales asked ARC to provide a proposal which demonstrated that ARC could still deliver the Final Tender without changing essential elements of it. The liquidator has since been in discussion with a number of parties to sell Carillion Rail and to secure jobs, and it was possible that through this process, ARC could have secured the relevant capability. ARC was required to present a firm proposal once the liquidator had made its decision, by 17:00 on 22nd February.”
Although four bidders had been shortlisted, the current W&B operator Arriva announced at the end of October that it would not proceed with its bid, and Abellio’s withdrawal leaves just KeolisAmey and MTR in the race.
Mr Skates continued: “The procurement evaluation will continue and ARC’s withdrawal does not expose the Welsh Government to any financial risk or delay to the process. At the time Final Tenders were submitted in December, three bidders remained in the process. Final Tenders were therefore prepared with strong competitive pressure. Final Tenders are binding and remaining bidders could not alter them now ARC has withdrawn.
“We have two strong bidders remaining in the process and remain on target to award this exciting contract in May 2018.”