TfL to greenlight GBP 1bn Crossrail rolling stock deal

12 December 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Transport for London’s finance committee is due on Thursday (13 December) to greenlight the selection of a preferred bidder for the GBP 1bn Elizabeth Line sale and leaseback, ahead of expected financial close of the infrastructure fund-backed deal next month.

The transport authority, which is procuring the project, is expected shortly afterwards to select one of three bidders as the winner of the transaction, involving the sale and leaseback of 70 units of rolling stock.

According to official documents seen by Inframation, the finance committee will approve the sale and permit TfL to select a bidder.

TfL said in the agenda for the meeting that it received five bids for the transaction on 23 November and has shortlisted three of the bids, adding that “it is expected that the leasing arrangement will be concluded in late January 2019.” 

The transport body said it sent an Information Memorandum for the process to 48 potential bidders.

Sources said that one of the three shortlisted bids was from a consortium including Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard, while a second is from Equitix and SMBC Leasing. 

Rock, SL Capital, Equitix and SMBC either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. 

Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard have previously partnered on various UK rolling stock bids and recently formed a joint venture to fund mainland European train fleets. Equitix and SMBC also have a history of joining forces for rolling stock bids and most recently won the contract to provide trains for the Wales & Borders franchise.

TfL is selling the Elizabeth Line rolling stock to fund new trains for the Piccadilly line on the London Underground. The Elizabeth line, formerly known as Crossrail, will connect Shenfield in Essex with Heathrow Airport and Reading via central London. Trains had been due to start operating on the line in December, but the project has been until after autumn 2019.

TfL said it envisages the rolling stock it is leasing, which comprises 70 trains, having a minimum lease period of 20 years, adding that it has encouraged bidders to offer it the option to acquire the fleet at the end of the lease or to continue leasing the trains.

TFL is being advised by Quasar Associates and Grant Thornton (financial) and Ashurst (legal).


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