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Prasarana may raise up to RM10bil to finance LRT extension [02-03-2011]  
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It is to finance extension of Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines

KUALA LUMPUR: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd plans to raise between RM5bil and RM10bil over the next five years via a bond sale to fund the light rail transit (LRT) extension.

About RM7bil is needed for the extension of the two LRT lines (Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya Line). A further RM3bil is required for infrastructure and other things like buses that provide feeder services for the integration of the urban transport system in the Klang Valley.

The first package for the LRT extension was announced in November, while the tender for the second package is under way. The tender closes in mid-April.

“We will be going to the market again after raising RM2bil in 2009. At this juncture we are still working out how much we need to raise over the next five years. It could be anything between RM5bil and RM10bil,” Prasarana group managing director Shahril Mokhtar said in an interview with StarBiz. “We are looking to raise bonds just like we did the last time.''

He said Prasarana decided to opt for bonds for future funding requirements owing to the good response to the earlier RM2bil bonds. However, Shahril could not say exactly when the bonds will be issued.

Prasarana is a wholly-owned unit of Minister of Finance Inc. It is the asset owner and operator of several public transport providers, namely the Ampang and Kelana Jaya lines, KL Monorail system, bus operations in the Klang Valley and Penang, as well as cable car services in Langkawi.

Shahril said Prasarana expected to receive 470 new buses by the third quarter this year to add to its pool of 1,200 buses that provide feeder service to LRT stations in the Klang Valley.

Of the 470, about 70 are shorter buses measuring eight metres in length, which are suitable for narrower roads and could be used in residential areas. A standard bus is 12m in length.

“If the shorter buses work out well in residential areas, we will order more,'' he said, adding that each bus cost between RM400,000 and RM500,000.

Asked if the Government was subsidising Prasarana's operations, Shahril said: “We are being subsidised because we receive fuel subsidy but there are quotas and limits too. For everything else we raise our own financing and that is why we need to sell bonds to raise financing.''

Turning to the two LRT extensions, he said they covered 17km each for the Kelana Jaya Line and Ampang Line.

Work on the first stretch of the rail extension will begin next month, where the Kelana Jaya Line will link the Kelana Jaya station to Glomac Business Centre through to Lembah Subang.

The 17km stretch of the Kelana Jaya Line starts from the Kelana Jaya station and connects to Subang, USJ and ends in Putra Heights. The Kelana Jaya and the Ampang line extensions will be completed in 30 and 27 months respectively. There will be 13 new stations.

In November, Prasarana appointed Trans Resources Corporation Sdn Bhd and Bina Puri Holdings Bhd-Tim Sekata JV as main contractors for the first package of the Kelana Jaya Line and Ampang Line respectively. Several others had been appointed as sub-contractors.

As of January this year, the Kelana Jaya Line's average daily ridership during peak hours jumped by 40% year-on-year to 47,714 commuters.

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