Toll collection goes up on increased traffic

Written by Shubhra Tandon | Updated: Feb 28 2014, 11:14am hrs
Toll collection showed minor growth in the October-December quarter as traffic increased on certain highways, but still remained below analyst expectations. An increase in inflation-linked tariff also fuelled the growth.

An analysis of 18 projects by some of countrys large road developers, including IRB Infrastructure Developers and Ashoka Buildcon, showed that total toll collection rose 5.6% to R523.3 crore on a sequential basis. The growth was 9.6%, y-o-y.

The July-September 2013 period had seen a fall in toll collection on account of a slowing economic growth. A rise in toll tariffs in the range of 6.5-7.5% also led to an increase in collection in the quarter ended December 31, 2013. Traffic on some prominent road projects, which had seen a decline of 4-5% in the previous two quarters, showed a marginal improvement (a fall of 3% in Q3).

Some key projects that saw growth in toll collection included Tumkur-Chitradurg, Surat-Dahisar, Bharuch-Surat, Bhandara, Durg, Ahmednagar-Aurangabad and Jaora-Naygaon, among others.

IRBs Tumkur-Chitradurg road project saw a rise in traffic after the mining ban was lifted in Karnataka. The project saw a 2-3% growth in traffic during the three months to December, after six quarters of decline, Kotak Institutional Equities noted in its February 2014 report.

IRBs Surat-Dahisar, too, benefited from a rise in traffic, leading to a 9.9% y-o-y increase in collection to R127 crore, and 10% sequentially. However, the traffic volumes are yet to match analyst estimates of a 5% growth the current figure being 3%.

After witnessing a decline in traffic on a y-o-y basis in the previous two quarters, IRBs Bharuch-Surat saw a pick-up of about 3-3.5%. Toll revenues grew by 9.2% y-o-y, and 7% q-o-q. The toll rate was increased by about 6% in July 2013, leading to daily collections of R46 lakh per day.

Traffic growth continues to remain weak, in line with the level of economic activity in the country. However, projects have seen rise in tariff linked to wholesale price indices, and toll has commenced on new projects as well," says Virendra D Mhaiskar, CMD, IRB Infrastructure Developers.