E-toll collection falls R50 million short in December

The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) says that income from e-toll collections in December was R56 million worse than its forecasts.

In a January poll conducted by BusinessTech asking if readers were still paying e-tolls, 89% of 600 respondents, said no.

“Our January figures are not as yet available. For December 2014 we had forecast R128.04 million, with actual income at R72.35 million,” said Vusi Mona, GM of communications at Sanral.

In November, the Sunday Times reported that Sanral had suffered a R180 million loss in projected e-toll income since Gauteng premier David Makhura, first called for a review of the system via a panel, in June.

The panel has since released its findings which includes more than 50 recommendations.

Within Sanral’s written submission to the panel, it confirmed that its total income from e-tolls between July and October was R365 million. The group had projected income of R545 million.

The road agency had reported December-to-June income of R725 million, which it said was ahead of its R590 million projections, according to the Times.

Sanral collected its highest monthly revenue of R120 million between May and June. However, since July, those numbers have been on the decline, to a lowly R65 million, collected in October.

GFIP Cash inflows
GFIP Cash inflows

Ratings decline

On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service changed Sanral’s issuer rating from stable, to negative, citing a decrease in its financial strength.

It said that the non-payment of e-tolls has increased following a decision by the Province of Gauteng to establish a panel to assess the impact of e-tolls in doing business in the province, which sparked speculation among the general public that the e-toll project may be abandoned.

This caused e-toll revenue collections to drop by 38% from July to November 2014, which in turn led Sanral to revise downward its expected e-toll revenue for the fiscal year 2014-15 to R907 million, against R1.4 billion previously.

As e-toll revenue was planned to be the main contributor towards the reduction of borrowing requirements, as well as help improve cash flows, the lower than expected revenues will likely lead to an increase in Sanral’s debt level, Moody’s said.

“We were unsurprised by the downgrade. Moody’s had warned at the time of the previous two ratings (July and November 2014) that any failure by Sanral to generate e-toll revenue leading to deteriorating cash flows and growing borrowing needs, would lead to a downgrade,” Mona said.

“We were ahead of forecasted income at the time when the e-toll Review Panel was announced by the Gauteng Province. Since then income has dipped appreciably,” he said.

All stakeholders will meet again in February, to decide a way forward for the tolling system.

More on Sanral

E-tolls have not bankrupted us: Sanral

E-toll non-payment hits Sanral hard

Sanral on standby to implement e-toll changes

Sanral reports drop in e-toll collection revenue

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E-toll collection falls R50 million short in December