Laing O’Rourke, FCC Construcción and Murphy have formed a joint venture to bid for contracts on High Speed 2.
The JV, which will be known as LFM, will bid for the full spectrum of work on the £42.6bn north-south rail link.
Laing O’Rourke and Murphy will initially target enabling works contracts on HS2, while FCC Construcción will join the team to compete for the main tier one packages that will be open to bidding later this year.
The JV is the first to officially declare that it will bid for tier one work.
Other firms thought to be looking to form JVs for HS2 include Balfour Beatty, Bouygues, Costain, Morgan Sindall, Skanska and Vinci.
The enabling works for HS2 consist of three regional packages in phase one covering the North, Central region and the South. Each package is valued at £300m.
The packages will last for four years, with an option to add an additional two years.
The JV partners said they would focus on offsite manufacturing, sustainability and training when bidding for work.
FCC, which is headquartered in Spain, has extensive experience with high-speed rail, having built more than 700 km of track in Spain.
It is also active in the UK infrastructure market, working in a joint venture with Kier and Samsung on the £600m Mersey Gateway.
The group has major backing from a number of global shareholders, including the world’s second richest man, Carlos Slim, who has a seat on the board.
Laing O’Rourke also has considerable experience with major rail projects, having worked extensively with Network Rail.
The contractor was also appointed to build the £600m extension to the Northern line, in a joint venture with Ferrovial.
Murphy Group is active under the CP5 works package, working with Network Rail to deliver civil engineering and earthworks schemes, as well as on its national electrification programme.
The group has also worked on Crossrail, specifically on the Thames Tunnel C310 project.
Laing O’Rourke project director of high-speed rail Nadia Savage said: “The combination of Laing O’Rourke, FCC Construcción and Murphy brings together a powerful team, bidding for future contracts on the HS2 rail scheme.
“LFM combines international best practice high speed rail experience with offsite manufacturing expertise and a UK-based directly employed workforce.
“Our lean and staged strategy will add value where and when it’s needed, providing a cost-conscious, shaped and positive approach to meet the client’s needs precisely.”
Ms Savage added that the joint venture would “engage with the supply chain” to ensure that SMEs are afforded the chance to secure 60 per cent of the work available, in line with government-set targets.
FCC is not the only EU-based company to show interest in bidding on HS2 work.
Speaking to Construction News in January, Pietro Salini, chief executive of Italy’s largest contractor Salini Impregilo, said his firm would be likely to bid for work on HS2.
He also showed an interest in forming a joint venture in order to win work on the project.
HS2 has also announced it is seeking bidders for a 10-year consultative engineering and construction services contract, worth between £250m and £350m.
The high-speed rail project appointed its first set of contractors on its £50m ground investigation framework in February, with WYG and Bam Ritchies among the winners.