Nonpayment of e-tolls may put Sanral’s R41bn debt in jeopardy

2013-12-18 16:56

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The R41 billion debt of the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) could be put in jeopardy by motorists’ nonpayment of e-tolls, according to spokesperson Vusi Mona.

However, Mona told Fin24 that nonpayment as a result of noncompliance by motorists would not affect Sanral’s financial health because only 16% of its portfolio was tolled.

“If we have a significant number of people who do not comply, it may affect our ability to repay the debt,” he said.

“It will also affect the existing toll road portfolio, its maintenance and asset preservation actions.”

Mona said the majority of South Africans were law-abiding citizens who would pay for the benefit of using the Gauteng freeway network.

“We are confident of meeting our debt obligations,” he added.

“The improved rating by Moody’s Investors Service a few days after toll commencement, though still negative, is an indication of a modest step in the right direction.”

In September Sanral suffered its third credit rating downgrade by Moody’s.

The ratings agency cited deterioration in Sanral’s cash flow stemming from the prolonged delay in the realisation of e-toll revenue.

Sanral’s R41 billion debt is a slightly higher figure than predicted by Moody’s in September, which estimated Sanral’s debt stock to total R39 billion in 2014.

After e-tolls came into effect in Gauteng earlier this month, Moody’s confirmed Sanral’s rating with a negative outlook.

Moody’s said the negative outlook took into account the operational risks relating to e-toll collection.

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