Spanish bid for Go-Ahead Go-Ahead

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Group appears to have become an acquisition target for Spain’s state-owned rail operator. Renfe revealed ambitious plans to crack the British train market and admitted it had looked at buying its way in.

Renfe president Teofilo Serrano Beltran reportedly said the company intended to bid for all the UK rail franchises up for tender in the coming months. They include the East Coast line from Edinburgh and Newcastle to Kings Cross.

Serrano told The Times: “We have been thinking about the possibility to buy, but we would be conservative. We would not pay through the nose.”

He said Renfe had decided not to make an approach for National Express because, at £1.1bn, it was “too big.”

However, he refused to say if an approach had been made. Go- Ahead also declined to comment.

In addition to profitable bus operations, Go-Ahead boasts the Southern, Southeastern and London Midlands franchises within its rail portfolio, and announced last month its revenues had jumped between 8% and 12% across its franchises over the same period.