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European builders to jointly bid for KL-Singapore high-speed rail

Consortium includes politically-connected local contractor George Kent

Alstom's TGV, left, and Siemens' ICE at the Gare de l'Est in Paris.

KUALA LUMPUR -- Four European industrial heavyweights, including Siemens and Alstom, have formed a consortium with Malaysian engineering company George Kent to bid for the 350km high-speed rail line connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore. The group, which is the first to register its intention for Southeast Asia's first cross-border HSR project, will likely face rival bidders from China and Japan.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens has teamed up with France's Alstom, Austria's PORR and the Italian State Railways, for an estimated 20 billion ringgit ($5 billion) worth of works. They will work with George Kent, whose major shareholder and company chairperson, Tan Kay Hock, is a longtime friend of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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