SRT still assessing bids for high-speed rail project
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is still looking at bids for the high-speed railway project connecting three major airports even though Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium has offered the lowest bid.
SRT acting governor Worawut Mala said on Saturday the CP-led group is "not yet a winner" as its offer is subject to due diligence by the SRT's bidding committee.
Talks with the group about the details will take place this week, he said, with a winner to be announced next month.
"The bidding has not been finalised. There are details that need to be looked at such as the figures. We have to evaluate the bid to see if it's feasible, otherwise it can affect the project as a whole," he said.
"CP-led consortium offers the lowest bid, but we can't reveal the figures."
Based on technical qualifications and track record, only two groups are qualified to bid for the rail link project connecting Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in the eastern province of Rayong.
The CP-led consortium comprises CP, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, Ch Karnchang Plc, and Italian-Thai Development Plc.
The other group is BSR Joint Venture which is made up of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
The project was approved by the government in March and when the bidding was announced, a total of 31 potential investors bought the terms of reference document.
According to Mr Worawut, if the CP-led consortium can verify their figures and all the pieces are right, the SRT will ask the group to open the 4th envelope which involves offers to increase the project's efficiency.
He said the winner will be announced early next month and contract signing is expected in late January.
The build-operate-transfer project is valued at 224.54 billion baht and comes with a 50-year concession. The bid winner will be awarded a 50-year contract -- five years for design and construction of the rail link project and 45 years for operations.
The government expects the rail link project to yield an economic return of 700 billion baht.
The SRT's bidding committee spent more than nine hours considering the CP-led consortium's bid on Friday.
It was reported that the CP-led consortium requested a state subsidy below the amount of 119 billion baht set by the government.
The state subsidy also covers 3.57 billion baht for land appropriation.