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Sukhumvit Line extension keeps BTS financially strong despite Covid crisis

Jun 12. 2020
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By The Nation

BTS Group Holdings expects its operating revenue this year to rise by 40 per cent from the previous year thanks to the extension of the Green (Sukhumvit) Line.

The group’s total revenue is expected to hit Bt38.8 billion this year.

Surayut Thavikulwat, the group’s chief financial officer, said the Mo Chit-Khu Khot extension, which is due to open in full by the end of this year, will boost the company’s operating revenue by 40 per cent from Bt3.7 billion last year to Bt5.2 billion.

The company also expects to generate approximately Bt6 billion from additional carriages, as well as interest revenue from the Bt2.6 billion investment in the BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund (BTSGIF).

However, the company has suffered an immediate impact from the Covid-19 crisis, with income from passengers dropping by about 10 per cent. The number of passengers in April stood at 100,000 people per day, believed to be the lowest ever. However, numbers rose to 350,000 to 400,000 passengers per day and is expected to rise once schools open and people start going to work.

“We expect passenger numbers for this year to be 170 million, or a 20 per cent drop from the previous year. Also, BTS Group’s media arm, VGI, and real-estate business U City Plc, will be affected by a drop in outdoor media advertising as well as the closure of hotels and delays in the opening of new real-estate projects,” he said.

He went on to say that the company does not have any confirmed plans to purchase shares in Kerry Express (Thailand) Co, as VGI already has a 23-per-cent stake in the company.

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