High speed rail financial reforms kick off in Taiwan

Taiwan-HSR_Taiwan-HighSpeedRail-700T-testrun-2006-0624A financial reform aimed at saving Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) from potential bankruptcy kicked off on July 27th, when the system’s BOT (build, operate, transfer) era came to an end.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications signed two agreements with THSRC on Monday to terminate the original BOT contract that the debt-ridden private company was working under to build and operate Taiwan’s only high-speed rail line.
The deal means new opportunities for Taiwan’s high-speed rail line connecting Taipei and Kaohsiung, in which the government will become THSRC’s majority shareholder but the company will be privately managed, THSRC Chairman Victor Liu said.
Under the new plan, government-controlled institutions will increase their stake in the company from 22.1 percent to 63.9 percent, while the holdings of large private shareholders will fall from 37.4 percent to 17.4 percent.
Once the program is fully carried out, the private owners will be allowed to be part of the company’s board, but the government will still control it.

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