The CEO of Toll Royal Railways, which has a $141 million deal to rehabilitate Cambodia’s rail system, could neither confirm nor deny an Australian newspaper report yesterday that claimed his company is pulling out of Cambodia.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, citing a reliable source in Cambodia, said Toll Group would be pulling out of the Cambodia project, though the report did not give a reason for the move or what prompt such a surprise development.
Australian company Toll Holdings signed a 30-year contract with local businessman Kith Meng’s Royal Group in June 2009 to form Toll Royal Railways.
The project is being financed by the Asian Development Bank, the government and the Australian Agency for International Development.
“At this stage, it is the official line of the company to say ‘no comment,’” Toll CEO David Kerr said in response to the report about the company’s departure.
“As far as I know, nothing was discussed at the board meetings. I think that as far as that report goes, someone heard something that was misrepresented. But
I had not heard anything,” he said.
Contacted last night, Mr. Meng, the chairman of Toll Royal Railways, declined to comment.
“I am not talking about this now,” Mr. Meng said.
The reported pullout comes just three weeks after the NGO Bridges Across Borders released a 90-page report calling on the government to halt the relocation of up to 4,000 people living along the railway tracks, as they have yet to receive proper compensation for the removal.
If completed, the railway would connect Cambodia to a larger railway system in the region by providing a rail link between Phnom Penh and the Thai border.