SINGAPORE – Temasek-owned SMRT and publicly listed ComfortDelGro Corp are vying to operate metro lines in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Swedish capital is expanding its three-line metro network, with extensions as well as a fourth line being built, and these will come into service from 2025.
The existing network is operated by Hong Kong’s MTR, whose concession agreement is up to 2025.
Strides International Business, a business arm of SMRT Corp, has partnered France’s Transdev Group to tender for the Stockholm Metro operations.
The operations comprise the existing three lines – covering seven routes, 100 stations, six depots and 108km of partly underground trackway – with a planned expansion for a further 30km of trackway and 15 stations, and the fourth line.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Mr Lee Ling Wee, president of Strides International Business, said: “This strategic partnership with Transdev, which has a strong local presence in Stockholm and is already today operating trains, buses, and ferries in the area, signifies two operators leveraging engineering and operations expertise to deliver a world-class metro system in the region of Stockholm.”
Meanwhile, ComfortDelGro, the Singapore-listed transport giant, told the Singapore Exchange in late February that it had joined hands with British transport group Go-Ahead and Swedish fleet maintenance group EuroMaint Rail AB “to explore commercial opportunities in Sweden”.
In response to queries from ST, the company clarified that this was for the operating rights to Stockholm Metro lines. It would not say more.
It has set up a shelf company to bid for the rights, with subsidiary ComfortDelGro Transit holding a 39.996 per cent stake, Go-Ahead a 50.004 per cent stake, and EuroMaint the remaining 10 per cent stake.
When asked if MTR would also vie for the new operating rights, its spokesman said that the metro operating contract would be up for re-tendering soon, “probably late this year”, adding, “We are making preparations to bid”.
According to MTR’s annual report, Stockholm Metro is operated by MTR Tunnelbanan AB, a fully owned subsidiary of MTR Nordic AB, which is wholly owned by MTR Corp.
MTR first assumed an eight-year operate-and-maintain contract on Nov 2, 2009.
On Sept 8, 2015, the Stockholm County Council extended MTR’s contract for a further six years, covering the period from 2017 to 2023.
In December 2021, the council further extended this contract for a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 24 months until 2025.
For 2021, MTR Nordic – which has other transport operations in Stockholm – posted revenue of close to HK$5.5 billion (S$935 million), and a profit before taxes, depreciation and amortisation of some HK$164 million.
For 2022, it posted revenue of just over HK$5.2 billion, and a loss before taxes, depreciation and amortisation of HK$75 million.
Besides Sweden, MTR has similar businesses in China, London and Australia.
SMRT partnered Transdev in 2021 to clinch a contract to provide “shadow operator” services for the Paris metro.
This entails providing the Paris authorities with technical support and assistance before they select an operator for new metro lines in the French capital.
ComfortDelGro has partnered French state-owned transport operator RATP and French train maker Alstom to bid for contracts to operate two new lines in Paris.
Elsewhere, ComfortDelGro was shortlisted for Sydney metro operating contracts in 2021, but was not selected when the contracts were announced in 2022.
In January last year, ComfortDelGro commenced rail operations in Auckland. The contract, worth $1.13 billion, was clinched jointly with Australian rail operator UGL Rail Services in 2021, making it the first Singapore transport company to run a rail line overseas.