§ Mr. Corbett
To ask the Minister without Portfolio (1) if he will list those companies invited to tender for licensing rights for the Millennium Exhibition indicating which companies submitted tenders; and which companies submitted tenders uninvited; 
(2) when he expects to announce the appointment of a company to market the licensing rights of the Millennium Exhibition; 
(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the invitation to tender for licensing rights for the Millennium Exhibition; 
(4) how many companies were invited to tender for licensing rights for the Millennium Exhibition; by what date tenders had to be submitted; and how many companies tendered; 
(5) in which publications in the EU the invitation to tender for licensing rights for the Millennium Exhibition was advertised. 
§ Mr. Mandelson
On 17 July 1997 the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) advertised in the Official Journal of European Communities (OJEC) for expressions of interest from companies to manage the licensing of merchandise for the Millennium Experience. The NMEC contacted ten companies drawing their attention to the 317W OJEC advertisement. Those wishing to be considered for invitations to tender were required to submit standard corporate documentation by 29 July. Four expressions of interest were received—two from companies whom NMEC had contacted and two from companies not contacted directly by NMEC. In 12 August NMEC invited all four to tender, seeking written submissions by 26 August. Two companies submitted full bids.
Subsequently the NMEC has reviewed the option of conducting licensing through in house resources. The NMEC expects to take a final decision shortly on the preferred approach. In the meantime, I have placed in the libraries of the House copies of the OJEC advertisement and copies of the NMEC's Invitation to Tender.
It is not normal business practice to reveal the names of companies who bid for, but who are not awarded, contracts. To do so runs the risk of damaging their competitive position in their particular markets. It is also the case that European Union regulations stipulate only that the name of the winner of contracts be announced. Nevertheless, for the future, I can confirm that at the initial stages of competitive tendering exercises, the NMEC will ask companies to indicate whether or not they are content for their names to be revealed.