As the NSW government looks to go after some AU$90 million from the ERG Group over the state's cancelled Tcard project to develop a cashless smartcard for public transport, ERG says there's only AU$17 million at stake.
Friday saw the company announce an after tax loss of AU$104.7 million for the six months ending 31 December, with liabilities outweighing assets by AU$7.5 million. It also stated its intention to counterclaim for AU$250 million in compensation, which it had threatened in January, including AU$185 million for the losing the ten-year Tcard maintenance contract.
ERG also said that because of provisions in the agreement, the Public Transport and Ticketing Corporation (PTTC) could only claim AU$44 million in damages from ERG and subsidiary ITSL. As the government already has seized AU$27 million from a security deposit provided by ERG, the company says the government can now only claim an additional AU$17 million. Meanwhile, ERG says there are no provisions in the agreement limiting the PTTC's liability for losses suffered by ITSL.
Despite the loss of the NSW contract due to project delays, hold-ups with Victoria's new smartcard system — Myki, supplied by another company — will mean an extension of ERG Group's service contract with the state until at least 2010, according to its half year results.
In response, a spokesperson for NSW Transport Minister John Watkins said that the government remains confident in its position, but that since the matter is currently before the courts, it does not propose to comment further.