Friday 19 January 2018

M50 jobs could be cut, as losing US toll bidder seeks damages over contract

Traffic on the M50
Traffic on the M50
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

US transport giant TransCore has told the Commercial Court that it forked out more than €371,000 preparing its ultimately failed bid for a contract worth up to €400m to operate tolls on Dublin's M50 motorway.

TransCore, a unit of Roper Technologies, came second in a tender process to operate the lucrative contract. It's one of two failed bidders suing the National Roads Authority - operating as Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) - over the planned awarding of the contract.

The winning bid came from a consortium called Turas, which was named the preferred bidder earlier this year.

Turas shareholders include French firms Vinci Concessions and Vinci Highways, and Cork-based Abtran. Abtran handles customer service queries on behalf of TII for the M50.

In an affidavit seen by the Irish Independent, TransCore has claimed that the TII failed to comply with the general principles of EU law in its procurement process, and "in particular the requirements of non-discrimination, transparency, equal treatment and proportionality".

The affidavit also reveals that Turas plans to cut jobs at the M50 operation when it takes over the 11-year contract, and during its duration.

It apparently intends to cut the jobs due to a number of process improvement and technology-related initiatives.

The awarding of the lucrative contract, valued between €200m and €400m excluding Vat, has been suspended following legal action by Emovis, a subsidiary of Spain's Abertis Group, and TransCore.

The expiring M50 contract is held by Emovis.

TransCore further alleges that TII made a "manifest error" in the manner in which it evaluated tenders.

It said that as a result of failing to be awarded the contract, it has and continues to suffer significant financial harm.

TransCore said that it was placed second in the process, securing 796 points compared to the 802 awarded to Turas.

TransCore was one of five companies that were successful at the pre-qualification stage for the lucrative M50 contract, and which were invited to submit tenders.

"The manner in which the respondent (TII) evaluated tenders failed to comply with the requirements of the procurement directive and the general principles, and breached the collateral contract," TransCore has claimed.

It also alleges that TransCore would have emerged as the preferred bidder if scoring had been undertaken in a different manner.

"The harm that is caused to TransCore by the unlawful and erroneous evaluation of the Turas tender is of significant financial magnitude," the company has said in its affidavit.

The company has asked that if the contract is awarded in the meantime to Turas that the court ultimately sets that awarding aside, and, or, has the contract terminated or shortened.

TransCore - represented by law firm Mason Hayes and Curran - is also seeking damages and interest.

In its action, Emovis is also seeking damages for breach of Irish and European Union law and damages for breach of implied and/or collateral contract.

By the time the current M50 contract expires next year, the operation will have collected some €1bn in toll and penalty revenues for TII from more than four million customers who will have made 420 million trips on the barrier-free M50.

The road is the busiest in the country, with about 144,000 vehicles a day using it.

Indo Business

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business