Ansaldo answers questions in financial meeting on rail contract

Italian company officials answer questions via teleconference.
Italian company officials answer questions via teleconference.
Teleconference with Ansaldo officials.
Teleconference with Ansaldo officials.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many questions about the financial health of the company that's been picked to design, build and operate the new rail system were put to rest Thursday.

Italian company officials answered a long list of questions via teleconference provided by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's (HART) finance and project oversight committee.

Parent company Finmeccanica and its Ansaldo subsidiaries not only confirmed its financial ability to carry out the more than $1 billion job, but said they have a track record to prove it by citing a recent half-a-billion dollar military contract awarded by the U.S. government.

"We see no problems with technology, we see no problems in time with delivery and of course we don't see any problem from a financial viewpoint," Finmeccanica group finance director Luigi Calabria said.

Ansaldo Honolulu says it is also 100 percent insured for the total cost of the project, meeting the city's bond requirement for major contracts.

"The parent company has an $8 billion net worth, $4 billion worth of liquidity, so they have certain financial capacity," HART finance committee chairman Don Horner said.

Honolulu would be Ansaldo's 10th major rail project, with one set to open in Saudi Arabia next week.

Ansaldo STS would handle 80 percent of rail operations and maintenance, while Ansaldo Breda would provide the rail cars.

According to HART officials, if the full board approves the committees' recommendation, which is expected in 30 days, the contract with Ansaldo will be sealed.

The losing bidder, Bombardier, is appealing the state's recent procurement decision that upheld Ansaldo's selection.

Sumitomo notified the transit authority it is standing by just in case the Ansaldo contract does not work out.

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