GCRE begins next step in private investment process

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence have outlined the next phase of its plans to bring private sector investment into the company.

GCRE in Wales

Credit: GCRE

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) have outlined the next phase of its plans to bring private sector investment into the company, GCRE Ltd. When it opens in 2025, GCRE will be a facility providing world class research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and innovative new technologies that will fill a strategic gap not just in UK rail, but across Europe.

In November 2022 GCRE Ltd published a prior information notice, indicating its intention to invite investors from across the world to take a majority controlling equity stake in its business to support and fund the next development phases of the rail innovation facility it is constructing in South Wales.

Now, GCRE Ltd has formally launches the procurement process, with the publication of a Contract Notice and Selection Questionnaire inviting applicants to pre-qualify. A Memorandum of Information outlining more detail of the investment opportunity is available on request (subject to signing a confidentiality agreement).

The investment process

With £50 million of public funding already in place from the Welsh Government and £20 million from the UK Government, GCRE is now seeking a single investor, or a consortium of investors, to help fund the innovation facility to completion and support the wider commercial potential of the 700-hectare site.

The total estimated capital cost is £400 million, for investment phases 1 and 2. These investment phases include the delivery of the rail infrastructure, a new business premises, maintenance facilities and a hotel. The estimated capital cost is proposed to be funded through public funding already committed and new private investment being sought through the procurement process.

“The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is going to be a unique facility in European rail,” Simon Jones, Chief Executive of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence, said. “It will meet the significant demand that has existed for many years in the sector for a purpose built, integrated site for world class research, innovation and testing and validation of new products, technologies, and processes. We believe that the customers needing and wanting to use a facility like ours – not just here, but across Europe – is significant and that in turn makes GCRE Ltd a strong commercial proposition and a unique investment opportunity. We have published further detail of that opportunity for potential investors, marking an important milestone in the procurement process. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but what we have published provides a strong platform for the important months ahead.”

The public procurement process is expected to run until the autumn of 2023. Following this it is expected that GCRE will become majority owned by a private investor(s). This is the pre-qualification stage of the procurement process. Once selected bidders have been invited to the tender stage, additional information will be provided to them including detailed analysis such as the financial model, revenue and client base.

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