KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 11): Ekovest Bhd, controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo, has been awarded the concession for the construction and management of the RM3.74 billion Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (formerly Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE) Phase-3).

Duke, EkovestIn a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, Ekovest said its wholly-owned subsidiary Lebuhraya DUKE Fasa 3 Sdn Bhd has signed a concession agreement with the government for the proposed project.

The concession period is 53 years and six months.

Ekovest made its first announcement on the project on Jan 15 last year when another of its wholly owned subsidiaryKonsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd received a letter from the Public Private Partnership Unit of thePrime Minister's Department approving in principle the proposed privatisation of the expressway (then known as DUKE Phase-3).

The proposed alignment of DUKE Phase-3, measuring approximately 35km, will traverse north to south of Kuala Lumpur and will serve areas such as University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Wangsa Maju, Setiawangsa, Ampang, the Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia development corridor and Kerinchi.

The project cost of the DUKE Phase-3 was previously estimated at a lower RM3.57 billion and was expected to be financed via a combination of internal funds, borrowings and/or other fundraising exercise, subject to the finalisation of the proposed expressway's technical and financial terms and conditions.

"The Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway will be the first expressway in Malaysia to be designed to cater for full electronic tolling system and is envisaged to utilise the multi-lane free-flow system upon its opening in 2020," said Ekovest in today's filing.

Ekovest also said the concession agreement is expected to contribute positively to the group's earnings and the net tangible assets for future financial years.

Meanwhile, as part of its obligations under the concession agreement, Ekovest will provide training and career opportunities to suitable young graduates or professionals.

It will soon launch a graduate training programme that will provide career opportunities and on-the-job training to young Malaysian graduates/professionals in various fields such as engineering, architecture, quantity surveying and finance.

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