2 Nov 2010 19:57

RZD investment program may reach 400 bln rubles in 2011 - Yakunin

SOCHI. Nov 2 (Interfax) - The investment program for Russian Railways (RZD) may reach roughly 400 billion rubles in 2011, company head Vladimir Yakunin said at a briefing in Sochi.

"We may attain the biggest investment program including money allocated for Olympic projects. It may reach 400 billion rubles," he said.

"But that is a theoretical number tied to the sale of our assets," Yakunin said.

Yakunin previously said the investment program in 2011 might total 349 billion rubles.

This figure is one of the options included in RZD's financial plan, which was reviewed on Tuesday by the company's board of directors, a source at the board meeting said. The source noted that this option foresees the 2012 investment program at 364 billion rubles and 2013 - 326 billion rubles. The decrease in the 2013 investment program would be the result of the end of financing to Olympic projects, the source said.

Yakunin told journalists that the government would review the company's financial plan at the start of December.

"The board's decisions are that we must provide a forecast that incorporates an economically feasible tariff level, and derive the lattice from there: how much support the state must provide for the investment program if tariff increases are held down," Yakuin told journalists.

He recalled that the financing shortfall for development of rail transportation and the company's strategy might total 400 billion rubles.

A source present at the board of directors meeting also said that 50 billion rubles would be allocated for Olympic projects.

Another source said that due to the high pace of construction of the Olympic facilities, 20 billion rubles of the annual 60 billion rubles was moved up to 2010, of which 10 billion rubles was included in RZD's 2010 budget and the other 10 billion rubles in the 2011 budget. Thus, the company expects an allocation of 50 billion rubles for the Olympic projects in 2011. "That is, the overall total hasn't changed, but has been redistributed by year and [the financing] is going faster," he said.

Prior to that, during a visit to the rail line being built from Adler to the Alpika Service mountain resort, Yakunin noted that the approximate costs of the Olympic projects was 260 billion rubles.

The Olympic train station has been built so that it can moved to another site after the 2014 Olympics, he said. "It is absolutely unnecessary to have such a station complex here. We are dividing it into three pieces. One part will remain and the annexes [the upper portions of the platform] may be moved to a different spot," he said.

Commenting on other Olympic projects, Yakunin said the rail line from Sochi's airport to the Adler station would commence operation almost a year ahead of schedule, in December 2011. That scheduling change was requested by the local authorities in an effort to reduce traffic on Sochi's roads.