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Metronet deal 'within days'

A TfL spokesperson has dismissed any possible counter-bids for the tube contractor Metronet, and has said that TFL could strike a deal to take the tube upgrade contractor over within 'weeks or days'.

Speaking to NCE, a spokesperson for Transport for London (TfL) said, "If everything progresses as we would like it to, we could transfer ownership in the early part of next year."

Administrators for Ernst&Young yesterday confirmed that TfL has made a formal bid for Metronet, and confirmed that five Metronet executives, including chief executive Andrew Lezala, would leave the company.

Unconfirmed press reports suggest that Lezala will walk away with up to £500,000, the other four: chief financial officer Philip Pacey; commercial senior vice president (SVP) Ken Owen; change management SVP David Clarke; and communications SVP Paul Emberley to share £700,000.

The TfL spokesperson said that this was "wild speculation". A spokesperson for Ernst&Young said that payments to the five executives to leave Metronet were "substantially lower" than the £1.2M reported.

He went on to say that he did not anticipate a rival bid, although London Underground upgrade contractor Tube Lines is yet to declare whether it would like to bid for Metronet's contracts.

According to information from TfL, the Metronet contracts may be worthless, their value outweighed by the debt the company incurred.

"Transport for London's bid for the two Metronet companies has been constructed on the basis that there should be no net additional cost to the organisation," read a TfL statement.

Ernst&Young, who are operating Metronet under PPP Administration, would not comment on the value of TfL's bid, but a spokesperson confirmed that it would respond to TfL's bid "In the next week or so."

Metronet is jointly owned by Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy, and Thames Water, but is under PPP administration after it ran into financial difficulties over cost overruns during its upgrade of two-thirds of the London Underground network

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