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Concerns Raised for Bouygues and Equans HS2 Bid

Concerns Raised for Bouygues and Equans HS2 Bid
20 July 2022

Bids from Bouygues and EQUANS for overhead power cable contract work for HS2 could constitute a breach of competition law.

The Bouygues buyout of Engie’s FM business, EQUANS, was announced in November 2021. However, both businesses are currently competing to supply HS2 with services to install and maintain overhead power cables, otherwise known as Overhead Catenary Systems (OCS).

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated that Bouygues and EQUANS are two of a ”smaller number of bidders in the final stages competing for the contract”, and therefore they are concerned that this may make the remainder of the tender process less competitive.

This reduction in competition could result in a higher-cost final contract.

Colin Raftery, Senior Director at the CMA, said: “The HS2 tender for overhead catenary systems is at an advanced stage, but the remaining bidders are continuing to compete on the final aspects of the contract. It’s important to ensure that this process isn’t undermined, as this could result in unnecessary additional costs, ultimately leaving taxpayers worse off."

This is the only contract in recent years for the supply of catenary systems to high-speed railways in the UK and is worth an estimated £300 million.

The firms now have five days to submit proposals to address the CMA’s competition concerns. The CMA then has a further five days to consider whether to accept any offer. They may refer the case for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

Picture: an image showing an artist’s impression of an HS2 train at a platform. Image Credit HS2

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 July 2022


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