BECL bidding for new road

Construction News Laos

Bangkok Expressway Plc (BECL) next month will submit its bid proposal for the 18-billion-baht Sri Rat-Outer Ring Road Expressway that is expected to generate 80,000 trips a day.

Managing director Payao Marittanaporn said the project would be developed under a public-private partnership with the government paying for expropriation costs for the 17-kilometre expressway.

Bidding results should be known in June for a concession of 30 years. Construction is due to start in early 2012, finishing in four years, she added.

If BECL wins the bid, it will seek bank loans to cover most of the project cost. With a debt-to-equity ratio of 1:1, BECL has total liabilities of 20 billion baht with repayments due until 2015.

In the first quarter of this year, traffic on BECL expressways rose nearly 3% year-on-year to an average of one million trips a day on weekdays. High oil prices do not appear to have deterred drivers, partly because diesel remains heavily subsidised.

In another development, the BECL board recently approved the company’s acquisition of a 7.5% share of the 1,285-jlmegawatt Xayaburi hydroelectric power project in Laos from the SET-listed contractor Ch. Karnchang, which is the largest shareholder of BECL. The project is set to be operational in 2019.

The plan is part of the expressway operators strategy to diversify as its toll revenue is expected to decline over time. Late last year, BECL said it intended to seek a new source of income through property development along its routes through a joint venture with the Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT).

In 2010, BECL posted a 5.93% increase in net profit to 1.8 billion baht although traffic was hard hit by political unrest from March to May. Toll revenue increased by 2.47% to 7.8 billion baht, thanks mainly to improved economic conditions and increased new car registrations.

BECL shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 19.10 baht, up 10 satang, in trade worth 84 million baht.


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