BTS Group Holdings Plc ‘not seeking new agreement’ on Bangkok Mass Transit
Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of BTS Group Holdings Plc, insisted on Wednesday the company had never asked for an extension of the concession granted by Krungthep Thanakhom (KT) for the company to operate Green Line’s services in lieu of overdue debts.
“I insist BTS had never asked for any such concessions and what the company intended to do was to ask for the payment of debts [incurred as] it was hired to install the electric train system, operate train services and provide maintenance,” he said.
He was responding to a move by KT to seek to revise the concession agreements under Bangkok’s new governor, Chadchart Sittipunt, who has vowed to clear up issues surrounding the Green Line’s concessions.
KT is the business arm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and BTS Group Holdings is the majority shareholder in Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC), the operator of the BTS Skytrain.
“So, don’t make it sound like BTS is a villain or a criminal suspect. It is actually the creditor in this case,” he said.
“Who on earth would first have to pay out of his own pocket for the costs of installing the electric train system and operating the service and collect the money later,” he said.
“Two to three years have passed already and the company has never been paid for what it was hired to do.”
The company is now in talks with the new management of KT. More time is needed as KT is new to the job, he said.
Two contracts pertaining to the jobs KT had hired BTS to do for it had existed for a decade and suddenly someone happened to raise doubts over them as if they had only been signed recently, he said.
BTS understands and respects the right of the BMA’s new team to study these contracts. The company will have no problem if it is forced to make public the contracts, as long as it is treated equally with other concessionaires with contracts with the government. They should be made public as well, he said.
“Despite having to pay for the costs on its own, BTS won’t stop operating the Green Line’s services, as that would not affect those who should take responsibility for this [debt payments] but the passengers,” he said.