Banks asked to help finance 4.74-billion-dollar bridge

Business Materials 20 October 2008 15:58 (UTC +04:00)

Banks in Hong Kong, China and Macau have been asked to help finance construction of a 37-billion-Hong-Kong-dollar (4.74-billion-US-dollar) bridge across the Pearl River estuary, government officials said Monday.

The institutions, including some of the region's largest financial players including HSBC, Standard Chartered and the Bank of China, have been approached to see if they are willing to partially bankroll the 35-kilometre-long link, reproted dpa.

The banks are expected to provide up to 58 per cent of the finance, equivalent to 21.46 billion Hong Kong dollars, for the structure that will connect Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai in mainland China.

The remaining 42 per cent will be provided by the governments of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province under an agreement signed in last August.

Hong Kong highways officials said banks, either individually or in consortium, have been asked to express interest in providing finance as part of a wider move by the three governments to explore various financing options for the bridge.

"Before drawing a conclusion, the three governments wish to obtain feedback from the market on provision of loan facilities," a highways department spokesman said.

The highways department sent invitation letters to members of the Hong Kong Association of Banks on Monday and banks have to express interest by November 10. Construction of the bridge is expected to start by 2010. dpa kw jh