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Deadline for MRT underground bids may be extended

SHAH ALAM: Gamuda Bhd said the closing of the tender for the Klang Valley mass rapid transit (MRT) underground works may be extended from early January 2012.

Its managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said to his knowledge the only local entity bidding for the underground contract is MMC-Gamuda while the rest are foreigners.

It has been reported that five players including MMC-Gamuda are eyeing the huge component of the MRT project, which has been reported to cost some RM40 billion.

“It will take another three to four months for technical evaluation, and MRT Co will do it (announce the winning bid),” he said after the company’s AGM yesterday.

Asked how confident Gamuda is in getting the job, Lin said: “We can only do our best.”

He also has “no clue” what are the profit margins for the MRT project, which is expected to be completed over two phases.

Analysts said winning the underground work for the MRT project is crucial for Gamuda replenish its outstanding order book of RM3 billion, which may last for only another two or three years.

Under the first phase of the MRT project, the most critical, high-demand stretches in and around the city centre are scheduled to be completed by 2020. Meanwhile, under the second phase, the suburban elevated routes are to be completed by 2030.

Gamuda is playing two distinct roles in this project, with the first being the project delivery partner. To facilitate this role, Gamuda has a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with MMC Corp Bhd that was mandated to lead the implementation and delivery of MRT. The company’s second role is that of a main contractor for the underground works in the city centre.

Lin said Gamuda’s chances of securing the underground job is good, and it is not under pressure from the “Swiss challenge” for the contract.

Meanwhile, Lin said the completion date of the electrified double-tracking project, which is 80% completed, has been pushed forward to November 2014 following the granting of a second time extension by the government.

He said the main line from Padang Besar to Ipoh will be completed by 2013 while the line to Penang by 2014.

On its property projects in Vietnam, Lin said although demand has slowed down, it has seen “good take up” for its projects in Hanoi, which has a gross development value of RM10 billion.

“I believe it (the economic situation in Vietnam) can’t get any worse,” he added.

Vietnam’s economy has suffered from a huge budget deficit and rising inflationary pressures, prompting the tightening of credit there, which in turn impacted property sales.

On the local front, Lin said that demand for properties is still strong, which will augurs well for the company’s property projects, including its Horizon Hills in Johor.

However, he also believes property prices here have peaked, based on the ratio of property prices to income.

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