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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs  19 October 2010

Contract for Laos hydro-project delayed

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Ch Karnchang, Thailand's second-largest contractor, will sign a Bt76-billion construction contract for the Xayaburi hydropower project next February, deferred from the previous forecast of the final quarter of this year.

Managing director Plew Trivisvavet yesterday said the company would also sign loan contracts with Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Krung Thai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank in February to finance the Xayaburi project in Laos.

It is estimated that after the Xayaburi contract is signed, Ch Karnchang will record its highest backlog in history, exceeding Bt100 billion. Plew said Ch Karnchang currently had work worth Bt30 billion.

That figure includes underground construction of the Blue Line mass transit route from Sanam Chai to Tha Phra, worth Bt10.029 billion.

Meanwhile, Plew said the company would reduce its stake in the Nam Ngum II hydropower-plant project, with installed generating capacity of 615 megawatts, which will start a trial run by year-end and begin commercial production next March. Ch Karnchang is in talks with four or five investors interested in taking part in the project.

"Ch Karnchang will reduce its stake in Nam Ngum II to 30 percent," he said. Nam Ngum II has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) said earlier that Ch Karnchang was could win projects worth a combined of Bt96 billion, including the Xayaburi project, in the final quarter of this year. As a result, the company would record a historic backlog of Bt109 billion, which will generate revenue until 2015.

The projects Kim Eng expected Ch Karnchang to win excluded two contracts for the Red Line mass transit route worth a combined Bt40 billion.

The securities firm said Ch Karnchang could start selling electricity from Nam Ngum II from the end of the year, and start fully generating revenue of Bt400 million to Bt450 million from the project next year.

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