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2003-12-12 JLA-001
John Laing

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John Laing announces joint venture with GNER


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Greater Western
John Laing plc
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John Laing

John Laing announces joint venture with GNER
_______________________________________________________________


date
12 December 2003
source John Laing
type Press release



John Laing plc ('Laing'), the infrastructure investment group, which operates Chiltern Railways, has entered into a joint venture with GNER Holdings Limited ('GNER') to bid for the Greater Western rail franchise. The new company will be 50% owned by each party and will be called the London & Western Railway Company.

The Greater Western franchise is due to commence in 2006 following an award from the Strategic Rail Authority ('SRA'), and will combine the services currently operated by First Great Western, Thames Trains and Wessex Trains serving the West of England, South Wales and the Thames Valley. When combined, these franchises will have a turnover of approximately £550 million, 65 million passenger journeys annually and serve 297 stations.

London & Western will combine GNER's expertise in running long distance prestige rail services with Chiltern's experience of running regional and commuter services. Chiltern Railways was awarded the first 20-year franchise by the SRA in recognition of the growth and improvement achieved since the original
seven-year franchise was awarded in 1996. Chiltern achieved Best Rail Route for three years running at the National Rail Awards and, in the most recent annual performance data, gained the highest customer satisfaction rating in the rail industry at 87% satisfaction.

The joint venture company will be embarking on a period of extensive stakeholder consultation in London and the key regions served by the franchise. The formal bidding for the Greater Western franchise is expected to commence in 2004.

Andy Friend, Chief Executive of Laing, commented:

'We are combining the UK rail network's two leading operators to create a powerful bidder for the Greater Western franchise. Both partners have proven track records of successfully investing to improve their franchises and delivering an efficient and reliable service to customers. We believe that by working together we can generate significant synergies on this major consolidation of the UK train operating franchise.

Chiltern has proved to be a top quality investment for Laing, producing attractive returns for shareholders. It has consistently outperformed other South East train operating companies in terms of passenger growth and
performance. In alliance with GNER, we are confident that we can bring similarly robust performance to the combined Greater Western franchise.'


Railhub Archive ::: 2003-12-12 JLA-001





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