Consultant firm to study SRT asset plan

Consultant firm to study SRT asset plan

A consultant firm has been hired to study plans for a company to manage the assets of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

The SRT’s assets are expected to generate revenues of at least 60 billion baht over six years.

Acting SRT governor Anon Luangboriboon said the firm is being hired in pursuit of the Transport Ministry’s goal to turn the debt-ridden SRT into a strong revenue generator.

The consultant firm is looking into the role of the asset management company which will commercially develop the SRT’s properties, including 11 pieces of prime land in and around Bangkok.

The “11th Kilometre” area and the area near Mae Nam station and Bang Sue central station are among the SRT properties with high commercial value.

Mr Anon said details would be fleshed out over how the asset company would take over the management of the SRT’s commercial contracts. The company must also find partners to co-invest in the development of large tracts of land.

The consultant is expected to take nine months to study how the company would function before it is set up within next year with a registered capital of about 200 million baht. The company will be wholly owned by the SRT.

The tentative outline of the company’s structure will be presented to the Transport Ministry in the middle of next month, according to the acting SRT governor.

Mr Anon said it is projected the asset company would bring in at least 60 billion baht in revenue within six years.

The revenue is needed to offset the SRT’s 107 billion baht in debt which has held back the agency financially for many years.

The SRT would also make more money once the dual-track rail projects are up and running, boosting ridership.

Mr Anon said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith suggested the asset company’s employee payscale be hiked so it is on par with that of private firms.

The company’s board members who are outsiders must be equal in number to those of SRT officials for the sake of checks and balances.

The company’s finances also must be audited by an independent firm to ensure transparency.

The SRT also plans to form a company to oversee the operation of the Red Line electric train. Mr Anon said the SRT is speeding up the information-gathering process after the State Enterprise Policy Office demanded clarity on the matter.

The company is likely to be launched next year with a registered capital of three billion baht.

Details being sought involves details of the management direction as well as manpower and payscale issues.

The company will recruit people from outside the SRT and they will be paid the same rate as private firms.

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