President Lee Kang-rae of Korea Expressway Corp., at his inaugural ceremony held Nov. 30, said he will do his best to make sure the highway company does what’s in the best interest of the people and realizes social values.
The ceremony took place at the state-run company’s head office in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province. Lee is slated to serve for three years as head of the highway corp.
He said the company will work for balanced development by repairing old highways and expanding existing ones, while creating good quality jobs.
He also stressed the important role expressways amid the 4th Industrial Revolution while pointing out the urgent need for a master plan for reform of the country’s road structure and the maintenance of current highways with the technologies borrowed from the 4th Industrial Revolution. Lee also said there is an acute need for an automatic collection system for tolls on highways through a “smart rolling” system and the construction of high-tech expressways to provide diverse transportation services. The new CEO also called for plans to build highways in a unified Korea, even though tension between the two Koreas still runs high.
He also promised a safe environment around highways by turning around the highway safety patrol operation into direct management of Korea Expressway, no longer hiring outside patrollers in a bid to streamline related systems in the company by boosting the budgets needed for the work. He also called for the use of Big Data to utilize scientific analyses of traffic accidents in an effort to make roads safer by removing dangerous factors.
In his speech in Gimcheon, Lee promised a personnel shakeup to get the company ready for its new role in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution, along with the organizational changes that will follow.
Born in Namwon, South Jeolla Province, the new CEO was the Presidential Assistant for Political Affairs under late President Kim Dae-jung in 1998.
He also served as legislators from the 16th to 18th National Assembly including a stint as the floor leader for the Democratic Party. He also headed the National Assembly Budget and Settlement Committee.
Expressways in Korea were constructed in grid patterns under long-term national development plans, and have played pivotal roles as the backbone of the country’s economy and the cultural and social network, transporting both human and material resources.
In the future, expressways will transform from energy-consuming places into energy-producing ones, and will be improved to be a more convenient and flexible traffic platform combined with information and communications technologies.
State-run Korea Expressway Corp. tapped into the Swiss negative interest rate territory and raised 203 million Swiss francs ($201 million) in seven-year bonds on favorable conditions as foreign appetite on Korean debt renewed from eased political and geopolitical risks.
According to investment bank industry sources, the public road builder’s offering of Swiss franc-denominated bonds were snatched up within the first hour to be priced at a coupon yield of 0.250 percent, the lowest borrowing yield for Korean issues in Swiss franc. The three-month Libor target range in Swiss is minus 1.25 percent and minus 0.25 percent.
The offering was stretched to $203 million from initial $200 million due to overwhelming demand in book-building. The papers were underwritten by Swiss-based UBS. The proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt. The last Swiss franc offering by a Korean entity was 100 million franc issue maturing in September 2019 by Export-Import Bank of Korea in March 2014 at a coupon of 1.125 percent.
Korean public and private companies have recently been active in global issues to ride on favorable foreign appetite for Korean debt before interest rates go higher from increases in the U.S. rates.