By The Nation
It was also revealed yesterday that the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) expects to complete negotiations with the winning private-enterprise group within two weeks and a contract signing is proposed before the end of January.
Acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said that a meeting of a committee for the auction of the high-speed railway project will be conducted at 11am today to consider the financial proposals of the bidders, with government subsidies and other details to be taken into consideration. If no problems are encountered, the SRT will go ahead with negotiations with the winner, he said.
The high-speed railway will link three of the country’s busiest airports: Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi international airports and U-Tapao airport in Rayong province.
“The SRT is still adhering to the terms of reference. If any private enterprise proposes to receive less in government subsidies, it will be the winner [of the auction],” Worawut said. “If all eight elements [in the financial proposal] are inconsistent and the committee sees adjustment are required for such details, the private enterprise will be summoned to make clarification and explain the background.
“The private enterprise will not fail the bid or no other bidder will be considered in replacement. It will move into the negotiation process first.”
The eight elements of the financial proposals include backlog, business plan for the project, financial plan, funding plan for the project, property to be used in the project and property rights, financial returns throughout the joint investment contract, request for government subsidy and the amount the government receives from the private enterprise, and fare setting.
Worawut expects the negotiation process would take two weeks and the committee would then open the special proposal and consider whether to take it without any impact to the auction and proposed government subsidy.
The winning name is expected to be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval at a meeting in mid-January, with the a contract signing before January 31.
Supachai Chearavanont, chief executive officer of Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, has expressed confidence over the auction, and is awaiting the committee's considerations.
Earlier, he said that he was confident of the company’s bid prospects and looked forward to supporting the country's infrastructure development.
CP Group and its allies formed a global consortium. Its strategic partners include Charoen Pokphand Holding, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, Ch Karnchang (Thailand), Italian-Thai Development Plc, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport & Urban Development and China's Citic Group Corp.
Another bidder, BSR Joint Venture, includes BTS Group Holdings Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
Previously, a source close to the auction said that CP Group had proposed a lower price for the auction than that by BSR Joint Venture, by Bt100 billion.