Eiffage SA was selected as preferred bidder on a contract to finance, build and maintain a high-speed railway in western France, beating Vinci SA and Bouygues SA for the 3.4 billion-euro ($4.6 billion) order.
Eiffage will enter final talks, targeted for completion by the end of June, on building the 214-kilometer (130-mile) rail line between Le Mans and Rennes, Hubert du Mesnil, chairman of track-network operator Reseau Ferre de France, said today at a press conference in Paris.
Vinci, Bouygues and Eiffage, France’s three biggest construction companies, are competing for another contract to build a 1.6 billion-euro rail link in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the southern part of the country. Rueil-Malmaison-based Vinci, which is also Europe’s biggest construction company, is the preferred bidder on a 7.2 billion-euro high-speed rail line linking the French cities of Tours and Bordeaux.
Vinci is leading a group that won a 1 billion-euro, 15-year contract from Reseau Ferre de France in February 2010 to set up and run a digital mobile-communications network for the country’s rail network.
State-owned Reseau Ferre de France and local governments will pay 70 percent of the contract value, while Eiffage will have to finance 30 percent with bank loans, Mesnil said. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with the contract winner maintaining the line until 2036 in exchange for fees from the government and RFF.