CKI to Spend A$26.5M Railing into Australia
12 March, 2001 -- Hong Kong
Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI) and the Government of the State of South Australia announced today that a preliminary agreement had been reached in regards to CKI's investing A$26.5 million in an Australian rail project which connects Darwin in the north and Alice Springs in central Australia. The government of the State of South Australia will underwrite the entire CKI investment.
The preliminary agreement was reached today in Hong Kong between CKI and representatives of the South Australian government. The next step will involve getting concurrence from the State Parliament.
The Darwin - Alice Springs rail project will be connected to the existing Alice Springs - Tarcoola rail system forming the AustralAsia Railway system. This is strategically a very important transportation system for the country of Australia as it is the only north - south bound railway system in Australia.
The total project cost for the Darwin - Alice Spring portion of the AustralAsia railway system is A$1.3 billion. According to current plan, the State of Northern Territory, the State of South Australia, and the Federal Government together would inject A$480 million; the project consortium, Asia Pacific Transport Consortium, would pledge A$239 million; and the balance would be made up of bank and syndicated loans. Recently, one of the equity participants pulled out of the project consortium leaving a gap of around A$79.2 million. The three concerned governments, ie the State of Northern Territory, the State of South Australia, and the Federal Government, would therefore have to make additional contributions to the project. The A$26.5 million investment from CKI represents the South Australian government's portion of additional contribution. This should bring a satisfactory conclusion to the project's financing needs, just in time for the financial closing deadline of March 23, 2001.
"This is a long awaited project which is of high significance to the country of Australia. We are very committed to make this project work. With the current arrangement made with CKI, we are hopeful that all outstanding financing issues would be resolved soon,"expressed Premier John Olsen of the Government of South Australia in Hong Kong.
"We welcome CKI's interest to participate in this project. We are particularly appreciative of investors like CKI who takes interest in the long term development of Australia," added Premier Olsen.
"We, at CKI, feel privileged to have the opportunity to participate in such a major project. We seldom find any infrastructure investments like this one which offers such strong government support. The support not only gives us confidence in the project, it also helps us leverage the risk and enhance the financial return. CKI may also consider other additional investment opportunities in the project," commented Mr H L Kam, Group Managing Director of CKI.
CKI (ticker 1038) is a constituent stock of the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index. In terms of market capitalization, CKI is the largest publicly listed infrastructure company in Hong Kong. CKI's three core businesses are infrastructure materials, energy, and transportation. The company has investments in Mainland China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia and Canada.