PP Post: Toll Group alleged to be leaving rail project

By Tom Brennan, Mar. 14 2012, Phnom Penh Post

Australian logistics company Toll Group is allegedly pulling out of its 30-year concession to operate the Kingdom’s national railway, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Citing “reliable sources”, an SMH report said Toll would leave its US$145 million Toll Royal Railway joint venture with Cambodia’s Royal Group of Companies. No reason was given for the decision, and a Toll Group spokesman declined to comment for the article.

The Post last month contacted a number of the partners involved in the project amid speculation that Toll Group was frustrated with the pace of the rail’s redevelopment and had decided to leave Cambodia. Officials denied any such claims.

Royal Group’s Kith Meng rejected the allegations when reached by phone in late February, and he declined to comment when asked again yesterday about the project.

Toll Royal CEO David Kerr last month also denied the claims. “Definitely not true. Toll pulling out has not been discussed.”

A Cambodian government spokesman in February said he had no knowledge of Toll’s alleged plans to pull out, and reiterated those claims yesterday.

A Toll spokesman in Melbourne repeatedly denied having knowledge of the matter, although a separate official based in Singapore said the company was working on a statement in conjunction with the Cambodian government as to the status of the project.

Toll Royal officials yesterday again declined to comment, saying a statement from the parent company was expected later this week or next week.