Fuel firms bid to overturn Topaz station deal

Two major fuel companies want the Commercial Court to overturn a decision that a rival company owned by businessman Denis O’Brien can build multimillion-euro service stations on two motorways and be the operator on a third.

Applegreen and Tedcastles Oil Products, which formed a consortium called SuperStop 2 to bid for the project, want the court to quash a May 18 decision that Topaz, owned by Mr O’Brien, was the preferred operator.

They want the court to order that SuperStop was the “most economically advantageous tenderer” to design, build, operate, and finance service stations on the M6 in Athlone and on the M9 in Kilcullen.

The contract would also include the fitout and operation of a third station, near Gorey on the M11.

They have brought proceedings against Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), formed by the merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.

The case was admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list yesterday by Mr Justice Brian McGovern, who ordered that another bidder, Maxol, be joined as a notice party in the case.

SuperStop says it has already invested around €13m on the construction of junctions to provide access to the areas on the M6 and M9 service stations. It has spent €15m doing the same in Gorey, it says.

It claims TII failed to evaluate tenders in accordance with a revised “invitation to tender” issued to bidders.

It thereby breached general principles of EU law as well as SuperStop’s right to fair procedures and natural justice, it is claimed.


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