Mon, Nov 18, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Train purchases to help accommodate passenger volume

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) on Friday said it would add eight train sets to its fleet in 2024 to meet increasing passenger demand.

Four of its five highest passenger volume days were recorded this year — including the last day of the Lunar New Year (298,000), the Tomb-Sweeping holiday (300,000), the Dragon-Boat Festival (288,000) and the Mid-Autumn Festival (318,000), the company’s statistics showed.

The company said it estimated that passenger volume would reach another peak at the end of this year, adding that it plans to increase train services over the weekends for this month and next.

Train manufacturers from countries including Japan, Canada and Germany have expressed interest in participating in the auction next year, the company said.

The application is due at the end of this month.

Manufacturers participating in the auction must present details on their past performance, and their operation and signaling systems must be compatible with the one currently used, it added.

It said it hoped that the contract for the trains could be signed in June next year, and the trains delivered in 2024.

“We have decided to buy eight set of trains for now and could buy four more if we deem it necessary,” THSRC chairman Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗) said.

In other developments, the company has completed issuing 30-year corporate bonds of NT$8 billion (US$261.97 million) on Thursday last week as part of measures taken to ease its financial burden.

The interest rate is 1.6 percent, the company said.

The move made THSRC the first company in the nation to issue a 30-year corporate bond. Large corporations, such as China Steel Corp and Formosa Plastics Group, have issued 15-year corporate bonds.

Regarding its reasons for issuing bonds, the company said it was given a credit rating of “AA+/AA+(twn)” due to its performance and increasingly reliable financial structure.

“Interest rates at financial institutions are at an all-time low, and the market has sufficient funds. Investors have strong demand for absolute investment returns,” the company said.

“As such, our financial team decided to raise funds by issuing corporate bonds,” it said, adding that it first issued corporate bonds in 2009.

Chiang said the issuance of 30-year corporate bonds has set a new record, as it is equal to the longest maturities of government bonds.

“The successful issuance of corporate bonds would help restructure our debts, reduce risks caused by changes in interest rates and generate profits for our shareholders,” he said.

“They will also lay a solid foundation for the company’s future,” he added.

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