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State Plans to Takeover Troubled Taiwan's Bullet Rail Operator

22 September 2009

According to reports, the Taiwan Government is planning to take control of its troubled high-speed rail company, Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation.

The company, which began operations in 2007, reported T$25bn ($770m) losses in 2008 and is under a debt of nearly T$380bn in bank loans and bonds.

The company operates the 345km rail line between Taipei and Kaohsiung, which was built using Japanese bullet train technology and runs trains at speeds of up to 350kmph.

The rail line is considered the country's biggest build-operate-transfer project ever, in which the company had agreed to build the line and operate it for 35 years before transferring ownership to the government.

The company's board members are expected to step down this week.

The government already holds a 37% stake in the rail company.