HSBC Holdings is pulling out of a big consortium that is hoping to wrest control of a landmark GBP2 billion (about HK$25.26 billion) infrastructure project that had been originally awarded to a competitor, the company says. The high-speed 68-mile rail link project to the Channel tunnel had originally been lost by HSBC and the Eurorail CTRL consortium in 1996, after they asked for GBP500 million more in state subsidies in their GBP1.9 billion bid than London and Continental Railways. After revelations that LCR misbudgeted for the expense of the project and had been turned down by the government when it requested GBP1.2 billion to keep the project afloat, Eurorail re-ignited its interest. The consortium, which also comprises Kvaerner, National Westminster Bank, Seeboard, and BICC, confirmed their interest in the Channel tunnel rail link, but HSBC said it was pulling out. An HSBC official said the group had decided to sell its 20 per cent share to the consortium, after deciding that it had moved on since the initial rejection of its bid, and that the personnel who had worked on the project were now doing other tasks. The group is devoting its efforts to its new Latin American acquisitions and is committed wholly to financial services.