Govt offers RM6.2b to take over four toll highways

22 Jun 2019 / 18:59 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has formally handed over offer letters to four toll concessionaires with an enterprise value of RM6.2 billion.

The four tolled highway concessions in which Gamuda Bhd has a significant stake are the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART).

The breakdown of the offer prices are LDP for RM2.47 billion, Sprint (RM1.98 billion), Kesas (RM1.38 billion) and SMART (RM369 million).

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the completion of the offer was subject to due diligence, the requisite shareholders’ and creditors’ approval for each concessionaire and the final approval by the cabinet.

“If the acquisition process of these highways is successful, the government will acquire the highway concessionaires on Dec 31, 2019, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) wholly-owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated),” he said in a statement today.

The SPV will finance the offer of RM6.2 billion by way of bond issuance.

Lim said under the new congestion charge system that was previously announced, commuters using these four highways would save as much as RM180 million per annum, and these savings will go straight into the disposable income of Malaysian households.

The congestion charge model follows a variable pricing structure which depends on the time of the day. In principle, the government would give discounts of up to 30% for hours outside of peak periods and free travel during off-peak periods.

“In addition, the maximum congestion charge would be capped at the current toll rate in order to not cause further burden to the commuters. The final structure of the congestion charge will be studied and refined in further detail before being implemented on Jan 1, 2020,” he said.

The acquisition of these highways would also directly save taxpayers from having to pay compensations of more than RM5.3 billion to toll concessionaires in order to freeze toll rate hikes until the end of the respective concession periods.

Meanwhile, Works Minister Baru Bian said any proposal for the acquisition of any highway would only be decided by the Cabinet after taking into account the result of a study and recommendations from the Works Ministry in relation to the country’s overall direction for the toll industry.

According to him, the report from the study would only be tabled to the Cabinet in July.

“As stated previously, the Works Ministry has appointed an independent accredited audit consultant in January 2019 to study and examine the direction of the country’s toll industry holistically.

“Among the main principles or criteria of the study are proposing reasonable options that can be adopted by all stakeholders, namely the government, concession companies and also the people as customers, minimise the government’s financial burden and ensure the existing operation standards and highway maintenance are not affected,” he added. - Bernama

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