April 22, 2019 / 7:04 AM / a month ago

Thai rail authority to pay $370 mln to HK's Hopewell

BANGKOK, April 22 (Reuters) - A Thai court on Monday ordered the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Ministry of Transport to pay 11.8 billion baht ($370.14 million) to Hong Kong’s Hopewell Holdings as compensation for a 20-year-old dispute over a project.

The Supreme Court overturned the annulment of an arbitration award, which ordered SRT, under the purview of the transport ministry, to pay the amount to the Thai unit of Hopewell for wrongful concession termination.

Hopewell and SRT did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comments. In 1990, the Hong Kong-based infrastructure firm started constructing the Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS), but the project got delayed and was eventually terminated following the Asian Financial Crisis.

Physical work on the scheme was halted in the middle of 1997 as project funding ran dry after the firm spent almost $600 million on the incomplete project.

The Thai government in January 1998 had formally terminated Hopewell’s concession to build and operate the project, citing unacceptable delays.

With just about 10 percent of the project completed, massive concrete slabs still remain along Bangkok’s Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.

$1 = 31.8800 baht Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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