Alstom-led Gibela signs $5.1bn SA rail order

South Africa is revamping its rail-passenger services to meet the needs of a growing population and replace trains that have been in use since the 1950s. (Gallo)

South Africa is revamping its rail-passenger services to meet the needs of a growing population and replace trains that have been in use since the 1950s. (Gallo)

Alstom SA said its joint-venture Gibela got an order worth R51-billion to build 3 600 carriages for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in the decade through 2025.

Gibela, 61% owned by Alstom, will provide technical support and spare parts for 18 years in addition to the contract, the French company based in Levallois-Perret near Paris said in a statement on Monday. “This project is one of the biggest in rail transport worldwide and is the largest contract ever signed in Alstom’s history,” Alstom said.

Prasa and Gibela aim to reach the financial close at the end of 2013, it said.

South Africa is revamping its rail-passenger services to meet the needs of a growing population and replace trains that have been in use since the 1950s. The contract will be financed by the treasury, Prasa chief executive Lucky Montana told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.

The deal is a boon for Alstom, whose orders for the April-June period dropped 32% from a year earlier to €4.07-billion because of falling demand for its thermal-power and rail equipment. The Gibela consortium, 61% owned by Alstom and the rest by South African partners, was last year named preferred bidder for the Prasa contract. Alstom outbid six other companies, including Bombardier from Canada and China CNR Corporation. 

Gibela will build a manufacturing site east of Johannesburg that will start operating in 2015, Alstom said. The first 20 trains, which can have four to six cars, will be made in Brazil, while French sites will also be involved in the project over the long term, Alstom said. – Bloomberg

 

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