Information  X 
Enter a valid email address
  Print      Mail a friend       More announcements

Tuesday 10 October, 2000

Shadow StrategicRail

South Central Franchise

Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
10 October 2000


         South Central Rail Franchise Decision Due This Month

Franchising Director and Chief Executive of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority,
Mike Grant, today confirmed that he was expecting to announce the result of
replacement negotiations between the SSRA and the counterparties bidding for the
future operation of the South Central franchise by October 25th 2000.

The two companies competitively bidding for an extended franchise duration are
incumbent Connex Transport UK Ltd and Go Via, a joint venture between the
Go-Ahead Group and Via GTI.

The next next stage in the process is for the Franchising Director to appoint a
preferred counterparty for the future operation of the franchise.

Go - Ahead is currently the subject of a takeover bid from French financial
consortium Caisse des Depots-Developpment (C3D) and Rhone Capital.  In making
this announcement today, the Franchising Director is ensuring that no action on
his part might disrupt an orderly market in Go Ahead shares as a result of
uncertainties over the timing of his decision on South Central.

The Franchising Director has made it clear to Go Ahead that he will need to
approve any change of control in the ownership of the two franchises in which Go
Ahead has an interest.  He has not yet received a request to consider any
proposed change of control. Any change of control without his approval would
constitute an event of default under the relevant franchise agreements.

Notes to Editors

1.  South Central was included in the SSRA's first batch of three existing
passenger rail franchises, brought to the market in March 2000.

2.  Connex South Central operates predominantly commuter services to London from
Surrey and Sussex, as well as services to Gatwick and Brighton and South Coast
services between Bournemouth, Brighton, Hastings and Ashford.

                       
                       Important Notice


This news release is issued by the Franchising Director and its contents have
been approved for the purposes of section 57 of the Financial Services Act 1986
by KPMG Corporate Finance.

KPMG Corporate Finance is a division of KPMG which is authorised to carry on
investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales.  This news release has been prepared for general information purposes
only and is not intended to form the basis of any investment decision or
constitute an offer or invitation to bid for any passenger rail franchise or to
acquire shares in a train operating company.  Neither this news release nor any
copy of it should be taken into or distributed in Canada, France, Japan or the
United States except in accordance with an applicable exemption.  The
distribution of this news release in other jurisdictions may be restricted by
law and therefore persons into whose possession this news release comes should
inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions.

KPMG Corporate Finance is acting for the Franchising Director and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Franchising Director for
providing the protections afforded to clients of KPMG Corporate Finance nor for
advising any other person on the contents of this news release or any matter
referred to in it.


Media Enquires:  SSRA Press Office 020 7654 6387/6339/6234/6294

Further information and announcements by the SSRA are contained in our website 
www.sra.gov.uk