Rain check for new Expressway Authority of Thailand deal

Rain check for new Expressway Authority of Thailand deal

The Transport Ministry has put on hold a proposal for the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) to offer a 30-year contract extension to Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM).

Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn said the ministry has yet to submit the proposal to the cabinet.

"Since the court ordered Exat to pay [4.3 billion baht] compensation, the government has stood firm in not allowing Exat to do so using cash," Mr Pailin told the media on Tuesday.

Mr Pailin's comments come after the State Enterprises Workers' Relations Confederation staged a protest at the Transport Ministry on Monday. The confederation is staunchly opposed to Exat paying the compensation via an expressway concession.

The Supreme Administrative Court in September last year ordered Exat to pay 4.3 billion baht in compensation to BEM for violating a non-competition contract concerning the Udon Ratthaya Expressway, which connects Bang Pa-in with Pak Kret.

But Exat later proceeded with its parallel Don Muang Tollway project between the National Memorial and Rangsit, which was seen as direct competition.

Following the court ruling, Exat was ordered to set up a committee to explore ways to comply with the compensation order. The committee decided to extend the concession period on the Udon Ratthaya Expressway for another 30 years.

The committee also suggested that Exat extend the concession to operate the Srirat expressway for another 30 years, in exchange for BEM not pushing more lawsuits.

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