UPDATE 1-Czech Railways backs off $265 mln Siemens train buy

Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:34am EDT

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* Siemens sees no impact on order backlog (Adds Siemens comment)

PRAGUE, April 27 (Reuters) - State-owned Czech Railways has backed away from plans to buy 16 Viaggio Comfort trains from Siemens worth 5 billion crowns ($265.94 million), a spokesman for the Czech firm said on Friday.

"Czech Railways needs the money for internal links," spokesman Radek Joklik said.

The announcement comes shortly after a report in the daily newspaper E15 on Friday that Deutsche Bahn opted against talks with Czech Railways for cooperation on a German rail link, citing a Deutsche Bahn spokesman.

It would instead talk with privately-held Student Agency, a relatively new player in the liberalising Czech rail market.

Deutsche Bahn could not be reached for comment.

Czech Railways denied the end of talks with Deutsche Bahn was the reason for pulling away from the Siemens purchase.

A spokesman for Siemens said the loss of the contract would not have any impact on the German engineering conglomerate's order backlog as it only constituted an option rather than a firm order.

($1 = 18.8011 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Robert Mueller; additional reporting by Jens Hack; editing by James Jukwey)

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