Thailand: CP, BTS groups set to bid for airport link high-speed railway
TWO RIVAL CORPORATE groups – Charoen Pokphand (CP) and BTS Holdings Plc – are expected to submit their bids today for construction of a high-speed rail linking the three main international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao – worth a total of Bt220 billion.
Acting governor of the State Railway of Thailand, Voravuth Mala, said that he expected at least two groups would submit their bids for the high-speed railway project today after 31 had bought the terms of reference (TOR) document earlier.
“We hope two groups would submit their bids and if they do so it would take about one month for deliberations before we can pick the winning bid,” he said.
He said that SRT was open to embracing high-speed rail technology, and did not favour any particular technology from any country. Investors will have to demonstrate the advantages of the technology they choose, he said.
Bidders could also find more new investors to join the project later, but they must be among those who had bought the TOR document. So if PTT Group wants to invest with the winner, it can do, he said.
An informed source at SRT said that investors could choose any train technology that meets international standards such as Chinese Train Control System (CTCS), European Train Control System (ETCS) or Automatic Train Control (ATC) from Japan. The financial cost is likely to be the most important factor, which will decide who will win the bidding, according to the source.
Adhiruth Thothaveesansuk, CP’s head for high-speed train coordination, said that the CP-led consortium was ready to submit its bid today.
The consortium comprises Charoen Pokphand Holding, a subsidiary of CP, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, Italian-Thai Development, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development, CITIC Group Corporation, China Resources (Holdings) Company Limited, Siemens, Hyundai, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, CRRC-Sifang and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
A source said that the CP-led consortium has a high chance of winning the bidding due to its strong financial base and the qualifications of CP’s partners.
Meanwhile, another group led by BTS Group Holdings also announced it would join the bidding. Surapong Laoha-Unya, chief executive officer of BTS, said that the group would be submitting its bid today. BTS has formed a group called BSR, partnering Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of the BTS, said earlier that the group was ready to compete as BTS has the experience of operating the Skytrain in Bangkok, Sino-Thai has experience in construction and there were about five commercial banks that were ready to support the group with lending up to Bt120 billion.
Patchara Samalapa, president of Kasikornbank, said KBank would join with other banks in lending for this high-speed rail project. And as it is a huge project, KBank will be part of syndicated loans.