280b yuan to build basic services
State-owned enterprises and local governments on the mainland plan to spend more than 280 billion yuan (HK$344.11 billion) on infrastructure projects in the next four years.
'The government is clearly looking to publicly funded infrastructure to support growth this year,' said Andrew Batson, research director of Dragonomics, a mainland-based economic research house.
'It has bigger room for infrastructure spending. Infrastructure growth in utilities, transport, water and the environment was zero or negative in the second half of last year.'
From 2012 to 2015, Shanxi province will make transport-related fixed-asset investments totalling 196.7 billion yuan, including spending 150 billion yuan on building expressways, Shanxi Road and Bridge Construction says in its bond prospectus.
The road construction firm, wholly owned by Shanxi's transport bureau, is to issue 800 million yuan of one-year bonds to be used as working capital and to repay debt.
China Railway Materials plans to spend 23 billion yuan in the five years to 2015, it says in its bond prospectus.
The rail logistics firm aims to issue 2 billion yuan of six-month bonds to repay debt and replenish working capital. Projects to be financed by the 23 billion yuan include rail products, steel trading facilities, train stations and acquisitions of overseas mines.
China Railways Materials plans to finance its 23 billion yuan expenditure largely through listing by 2015, which analysts expect to be in either or both Shanghai and Hong Kong.
It aims to be the country's top steel transport company and to be among the top global 500 companies by 2015.
China Railway Group, which is listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, has recently signed an agreement with state-owned lender China Development Bank, which will provide the state-owned enterprise with 100 billion yuan plus US$20 billion of financing, according to the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
The funds will finance the rail construction firm's infrastructure projects.
Yesterday, Railways Minister Sheng Guangzu told Ma Qizhi, chairman of the Nationalities Committee of the National People's Congress, that the ministry was 'aggressively pushing' rail projects in the central and western parts of the mainland.
Among other big infrastructure plans, Tianjin Port, a state-owned port developer, plans to spend 60.5 billion yuan expanding the northeastern port of Tianjin. Facilities to be built include a 300,000 deadweight tonne sea lane, an iron ore terminal and a bulk cargo terminal.
Tianjin Port, the parent of Hong Kong-listed Tianjin Port Development, is to issue 3 billion yuan of one-year bonds, to be used mostly to repay debt and add working capital.
'The government debt is much higher than official figures, but I don't think China's public debt is out of control,' Batson said.
According to Dragonomics' estimate, the country's public-sector debt is 65 per cent of its gross domestic product. The official figure is 20 per cent.