EXPRESS Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL), which operates the fast rail services between KL International Airport (KLIA) and the Kuala Lumpur city centre, is in no hurry to list its shares on the KLSE and it can wait for the stock market sentiment to improve.
According to its executive chairman Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, the weak economy, coupled with the drop in ridership in its express service arising from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare, had not provided a conducive environment for any listing exercise.
The listing of ERL is not so urgent and we want to ensure that our shares to be listed will be fully subscribed by investors. As such, we have to wait for the right timing, he told StarBiz yesterday.
YTL Corp Bhd holds a 50% stake in ERL, while Lembaga Tabung Haji and Nadzmi himself hold the remaining 40% and 10% stakes respectively.
ERL operates two KLIA-Kuala Lumpur rail services - the non-stop express service which is mainly used by air travellers, and the transit service which is used mostly by people working in KLIA, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.
Nadzmi admitted that the SARS outbreak had caused a drop in arrivals at KLIA, which resulted in the ridership figures for the company's KLIA-Kuala Lumpur express service to decline by an average of 25% in April.
He also said that the drop in KLIA arrivals was mostly due to tourists who had postponed their holidays while the business travellers maintained their trips abroad.
As about 80% of those who use our ERL express service are business travellers, the drop in our passenger load is much lower compared with that of airline companies, he said.
However, we want to stress that the decline in our KLIA-Kuala Lumpur express ridership had levelled off in the middle of this month and we are now seeing signs of recovery, he said.
He added that ridership of the transit services had not been affected as they were used by regular commuters.
Nadzmi said the company's plans now were to increase its operating efficiency and ensure positive cash flow.
ERL vice president (marketing and sales management) Woo Yew Seong said the company had not cancelled any of its express services but reviewed its operations regularly to adjust to passenger load and traffic.
Our express service ridership was hardly affected in March and we recorded a traffic load of 160,000 passengers, he said.
ERL's express service handled 1.5 million passengers for the 12 months from April last year to March.
Its transit service carried 350,000 people from June last year to April.
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