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New toll gates for 3 000km of roads

Oct 08 2010 08:19
Francois Williams

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Cape Town - In November the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) will make its final bond offer for this year to the market, chief executive Nazir Alli told investors on Thursday in Cape Town.

Alli said Sanral would create a separate process to find suitable financiers for the new toll roads envisaged for the N1 and the N2 in the Western Cape.

Construction tenders for the new Western Cape toll roads close on November 1. Sanral has oversight over 16 170km of national roads, 3 120km of which are currently toll roads.

Alli reckoned Sanral was likely to convert another 3 000km of national roads into toll roads.

South Africa has a total 600 000km of roads.

Sanral’s capital expenditure on roads in the past financial year was R18.6bn, and R18.2bn the year before.

Alli said this expenditure had been planned well ahead of time and did not directly relate to the World Cup soccer tournament.

A new capital expenditure plan for the next ten years will be published in January next year.

By February Sanral will have the results of research currently under way as to which toll-road projects will be considered.

Sanral currently has a total loan facility of R48.91bn, R31.9bn of which comprises guaranteed loans.

Alli said Sanral had received international ratings for long- and short-term bond issues, but it was unlikely that it would seek funding offshore. This would serve only as a last resort.

In his presentation to potential international investors in Sanral bonds, Alli took the trouble to defend the tariffs for the new Gauteng toll roads.

He pointed out the economic benefits of roads that are well maintained as they lower the average costs of maintaining and repairing transport companies’ trucks by R1.15/km.

This figure was derived, said Alli, from research by the CSIR and the University of Stellenbosch that had been commissioned by the transport industry.

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