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TSSA respond to Keolis/Amey Welsh rail takeover

23 May 2018

TSSA is issuing warnings surrounding potential due diligence failures in the awarding of the selection of a new rail operating company to run the Arriva Wales Rail networks.

The Welsh Government have this morning (Tues) announced Keolis/Amey as a the new franchise operator for Wales & Borders train and South Wales Metrolink.

Keolis is 70% owned by SNCF – France’s state-owned railway operator – and 30% owned by Canadian pension fund, Caisse de depot et de placement du Québec.

Amey is owned by Ferrovial, one of the world's leading infrastructure operators and municipal services companies whose Head quarters are in Spain. But their largest share holder is the French state.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes said.

"So the German state owned railway subsidiary Arriva is succeeded by Keolis and Amey. Instead of the Welsh tax payers subsidising the the railways of Berlin and Bonn, the'll be contributing to the railways of Paris and Provence.

This is not a good deal for the future of rail in wales and this announcement show that for all the talk shows that all political talk of devolution and taking back control, when it comes to rail infrastructure, it's all just hot air. In the interests of corporate transparency, the Welsh government should have issued this morning's press release on the proposed new franchise holders in French and Spanish as well as English and Welsh.

"What a wasted opportunity by the Welsh Assembly not to have sought public ownership of this franchise or at the very least, a not-for-profit operator. But madder still is that the Spanish and the French can follow in the tracks of the German government owned Arriva and run trains in Wales but not the Welsh government.

"I'm also concerned about the robustness of the due diligence checking process. A cursory glance at Ferrovial's website reveals they have just this month posted a huge and unexpected €161milion profit slump which they themselves blame on the fallout of Amey contracts with Birmingham City Council.

"We now have a two-week cooling off process before the deal is sealed. I urge the Welsh Government to use this time to urgently review the diligence process in light of Ferrovial's own admission to ensure Welsh tax payers don't end up paying for a bail-out, like we are doing on East Coast now."

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