Delays worry Japanese banks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 December, 1993, 12:00am

THE general manager of the Industrial Bank of Japan says the bankers are tired of waiting for resolution of the financing arrangements for the airport and the airport railway.

Hiroshi Suzuki said that while confidence of the major lenders in Hong Kong never changes, ''we are a bit tired of waiting''.

As financial adviser to a number of the Japanese construction companies which are now involved in the Airport Core Programme, and one of the lenders to the Western Harbour Crossing franchise, Mr Suzuki, like many bankers, is concerned about the consequences of delay.

Japanese companies have been awarded 25 per cent of the Airport Core Programme contracts, by value, more than any other country.

''As a bank, we have two points. First, we are already committed to the Western Harbour Crossing, and our finance is based on the feasibility study that the project is completed by June 1997.

''The project owners may have to review the project again,'' he said.

The Western Harbour Crossing, while necessary in its own right regardless of the new airport, still assumes that, according to the Sino-British Memorandum of Understanding, the projects will be completed somewhere near 1997.

''The delay may create some change of their business forecast,'' said Mr Suzuki.

''If the delay is not more than six months, the effect might not be so serious.'' Mr Suzuki added that the Industrial Bank of Japan would be willing to support both the Airport Authority and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, as well as the other projects in the Airport Core Programme.

''The delay in completion may increase the final construction cost because of the inflation factor; we can only wait and see.

''Hong Kong's future is very bright, and development in Hong Kong together with China is quite certain.

''The airport is very important for Hong Kong's economy as well as southern China,'' Mr Suzuki said.