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Posco E&C bids for Ampang LRT extension project

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 23): South Korea-based Posco Engineering & Construction Co Ltd (Posco E&C) together with Posco Engineering Co Ltd (formerly Daewoo Engineering Company) have submitted a bid for the Ampang Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension project, hoping to build an inroad into the Malaysian market.

"We are looking at the Ampang LRT as the base project for future projects [in Malaysia]," said Woo-Young Min, Posco E&C vice-president of its civil division at a media briefing on Thursday.

The tender for the project involves the upgrading of the current 27km network and a 17km extension of the Ampang LRT line.

"[We're eyeing projects] not only in the railway sector, but we're also very interested in the architectural sector, like [providing architectural design for] high-rise buildings," he said, adding that the group could potentially be interested in building energy power plants locally.

Woo said his group's architectural division is in the discussion stage of establishing a project in Malaysia, but could not provide further details. Posco E&C's other divisions include steel plant, energy and urban development.

Regardless of whether it is awarded the bid, Woo said his group is interested in establishing an operations centre in Malaysia. At the moment, the group is looking to set up a centre in Sri Petaling where most updates of the signalling system of the LRT system are carried out. This is subject to change, depending on projects the group receives.

"We're watching the progress of the Ampang project as well as talks with the Berjaya group. If we're awarded a project from another group, then we will set up an office there," said Woo.

Besides the extension job, the group may get a project from its partnership with Berjaya Corporation Bhd (BCorp). In July this year, both parties had signed a memorandum of understanding, under which Posco E&C would participate in investment projects by BCorp as a contractor. Woo said currently, talks are ongoing on possible projects in Malaysia and both parties are also in discussion stages of the Resort Development Project in Cheju-do, South Korea and the Joint Development Project of North An Khanh City in Vietnam.

Another project which the group is eyeing is the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project in the Klang Valley, for which it had submitted a bid on Wednesday.

Kyeong-Taek Park, deputy general manager of the urban transit group in the civil division, said Posco E&C had decided to bid for a part in the track and power conductor rail package, which would only be a small role in the MRT project. The group is expecting an announcement on the award in January.

Posco E&C aims to update the Ampang line's signalling system to a Radio Frequency Communications Based Train Control (RFCBTC), which will neither require a driver nor a personnel to operate. The group uses this system in its US$1.04 billion (RM3.3 billion) Busan-Gimhae LRT project in South Korea, which started operations in April this year.

Posco E&C is an engineering and construction company established in December 1994. It is the parent company of Posco Engineering, while Posco E&C itself is a subsidiary of Korea's Posco Group.

Posco Group is a listed steel-producing company in South Korea that has other projects already established in Malaysia, including Posco Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Port Klang, which took over MESG, a electrolytic galvanised steel coil manufacturer in 2008. The group's Daewoo International and Posco PlantEC have also set up offices in Malaysia.

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