THE HUNGARIAN government has reached agreement with Budapest City Council over guarantees for investment in the capital’s fourth metro line. Under a deal with the city council last year, the government will raise 60% of the Ecu514m cost of the 7·3 km line, and the city the rest (RG 10.97 p645).

The government negotiated an Ecu380m loan from the European Investment Bank in February, and the city has now applied for an Ecu200m credit from the EIB. On March 3 the government’s economic cabinet agreed that it could provide guarantees to EIB to underwrite the city’s application. An initial tranche of Ecu50m will enable work to get under way. Seven firms have been shortlisted for the contract, which is due to be awarded later this year. The 7·3 km link between Etele Tér and Keleti Pu is now expected to open in 2003.

The Budapest Municipality decided on March 4 to sell off more of its share portfolio to raise funds for the line, having raised over HF60bn through privatisation sales during 1997. Around HF800m of Budapest quoted shares and HF1·5bn of foreign investments will be released for the metro project, and the city is also looking at disposing of its HF7bn stake in national telecommunications company Matav.

  • At the end of February, BKV selected a joint venture of Ganz-Hunslet Rt and its own workshops division BKV Vasuti Jarmujavito Szolgaltato Kft for a two-year programme to rehabilitate 40 Russian-built metro cars. BKV-VJS will refurbish the steel bodyshells, which will be re-equipped by Ganz Hunslet. A further batch of 60 cars is expected to follow. o