Hong Kong firm pushes ahead with Stockholm metro plans

Hong Kong transport company MTR said on Monday it would press ahead with its plans to begin operating the Stockholm metro system from November despite an appeal from French firm Veolia.

Veolia Transport lost the $2.45 billion eight-year contract to MTR on January 20th but appealed, prompting a Swedish court to halt the process last week.

A spokeswoman for MTR said she would not comment on the court’s decision as “this is a matter between Veolia and SL (Stockholm Public Transport)”.

“But we will be following the developments very closely and in the meantime we will still carry on our preparations to start operating the Stockholm metro in November,” the spokeswoman told AFP.

The contract, due to start on November 2nd, includes a possible extension for an additional six years.

“There is always someone who tries to stop or delay the process but until now no one has succeeded in doing it, SL has always won in court,” SL spokesman Björn Holmberg said last week.

Veolia Transport said meanwhile it was contesting SL’s choice of MTR since its bid was the most expensive.

Announcing its decision on January 20th, SL said MTR “submitted the best bid from a quality standpoint and that was decisive in this procurement”.

MTR operates Hong Kong’s underground and rail system, and has expanded its operations into mainland China in recent years.