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By Amanda Watson

News Editor

Taxpayers cough up billions for Gautrain, while shareholders rake in massive profits

For a government organisation that needs R100 million a month from taxpayers to prop it up, Gautrain shareholders have been making a tidy profit.

In its 2018 annual results, Murray & Roberts increased its investment in the Bombela Concession Company to 50% by acquiring another 17% at R357 million in December 2017.

“This investment yields strong cash returns and the fair value adjustment for the year increased to R278 million (FY2017: R253 million),” Murray & Roberts’ audited annual provisional results for the 12 months ended June 30, 2018 stated.

“The prior period included a profit of R166 million in the Bombela Civils Joint Venture, following the Gautrain dispute resolution. Income from equity accounted investments increased to R21 million (FY2017: R7 million), largely from the group’s minority shareholding in the Bombela Operating Company, which was sold in the current financial year.”

Another shareholder in Bombela is the Strategic Partners Group (SPG), a broad-based BEE company “formed primarily to partner the Bombela consortium”.

As an unlisted, private company, its financials are not open to public scrutiny. However, according to its website, it should own at least 27.5% of Bombela.

SPG is deeply involved in the maintenance of the Gautrain buildings, cleaning the trains, media and advertising rights and “professional and assertive guards”.

“As a result of excellent performance, additional sites have subsequently been added to the company’s portfolio,” said the website.

A third shareholder is another private company, the J&J Group, which has “a significant stake” in Gautrain.

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