Bouygues and Laing O’Rourke have agreed to team up to bid for work on the £16bn Crossrail scheme, signalling a strengthening of ties between the two firms

The two contractors are understood to be on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding that will see them compete together for contracts on the London rail project as well as the UK’s nuclear new-build programme.

A source familiar with the situation said: “They will be working together on the nuclear bids but the first target is going to be Crossrail.”

The firms are believed to have already jointly submitted a response to EDF’s prequalification questionnaire for two separate civils packages on the first new nuclear plant, which it is thought will be in Hinkley Point in Somerset. The contracts are worth about £600m in total and are expected to go out to tender later this year.

Costain and Sir Robert McAlpine are also bidding together for nuclear work, it is understood.

Laing O’Rourke has already secured its first contract under the Crossrail scheme. In May, developer Canary Wharf Group named the firm preferred bidder for the main civil engineering works on the Isle of Dogs Crossrail station.