French constructor Alstom seals a 700-million-euro contract with Italian transporter NTV to sell its new high-speed trains dubbed AGV.
French engineering group Alstom has won a major contract to supply its next-generation high-speed train, capable of 350 kilometres (220 miles) an hour, to Italy's new rail operator, a source close to the deal said Monday.
The contract with Italy's Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori (NTV) should be announced shortly, the source said, adding that it could be worth some 700 million euros (1.04 billion dollars) for 25 trains and an option for 10 more.
NTV, set up by Fiat head Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Diego della Valle, who runs Tod's, the high-end shoes and fashion group, plans to run high-speed trains between Rome and Naples in 2009, with Milan to be added in 2010.
The new Alstom train, dubbed the AGV in succession to the current TGV which runs at top speeds of 300 kilometres an hour, is still being built but the company is expected to unveil it soon.
France's TGV network is widely regarded as one of the best railway systems in the world.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Veloxia consortium, led by French TGV maker Alstom, won a tender to build a high speed rail link between Buenos Aires and Cordoba, slashing the journey time from 14 hours to less than three. (Story: K. Spencer)
Argentina on Wednesday handed a consortium headed by France's Alstom a 1.3-billion-dollar contract to build a high-speed rail link between Buenos Aires and the northeast city of Cordoba.
When it is completed in three years' time, the line -- the first of its kind in Latin America -- will permit travelers to rocket some 700 kilometers (450 miles) across Argentina's vast interior flatland in "Cobras," updated versions of the TGV trains in use in France.
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and the French minister for transport, Dominique Bussereau, attended the ceremony awarding the contract through a signing of intent.
"This is not merely a commercial transaction, nor a high-tech project, but rather a big step towards a different modernity," said Kirchner, whose government is seeking to restore Argentina's neglected rail network.
The consortium that won the tender, Veloxia, is led by TGV-maker Alstom, in partnership with Spanish and Argentine companies.
The final, binding agreement on the project is to be signed at a later date, once 90-percent financing is worked out with the French bank involved, Societe Generale.
The tender's outcome was no surprise.
Alstom, already one of the leaders in high-speed train technology, calculated in its bid that the project would cost less than a quarter of the outlay in other countries because the flat "pampas" the train line would pass through required very few bridges and tunnels to be built.
With top speeds approaching 300 kilometers per hour, the trains will slash the journey time between Buenos Aires and Cordoba from 14 hours to less than three.
The line will also serve the city of Rosario, located half-way along the projected link.
Altogether, the three cities count 15 million inhabitants, or more than a third of the country's 40 million people. Rosario and Cordoba are vital centers in the farm sector, which is booming thanks to high commodity prices.
The tender win put Veloxia in a good position to vie for later high-speed train projects being mulled by Argentina, including a link between the capital and the coastal resort town of Mar Del Plata 400 kilometers distant, and to the wine hub of Mendoza, 1,000 kilometers away, at the foot of the Andes.
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