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Veolia to run HK 'ding-ding' tram lines

THE operation of Hong Kong's iconic double-decker tram will be taken over by Veolia Transport after the French firm reached a 50-50 partnership deal with Hong Kong conglomerate Wharf Ltd.

The joint ownership, announced yesterday in Hong Kong, was reached after two years of negotiations between the two parties, according to Frankie Yick, director of Wharf Transport Investments Limited.

The tram, nicknamed "ding-ding" for its clanging bell, has been in operation since 1904 and is a rare symbol of the past in this modern Asian city.

Both Wharf and Veolia declined to reveal the total cost of the deal, saying the amount is commercially sensitive information.

"That's not the price we're talking about," Yick said at a news conference. "We're talking about the knowledge and the expertise that Veolia can bring to Hong Kong tram services."

But Veolia chief executive Cyrille du Peloux said the figure is a "double-digit million euro" and it "is far less than 100 million."


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