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Kapsch TrafficCom falls on South Africa toll maintenance costs

Shares fell the most in a month following a $11.6m writedown on a project in SA.

Kapsch TrafficCom AG, the Austrian maker of toll-road systems, fell the most in a month as an 8.5 million-euro ($11.6 million) writedown on a project in South Africa hurt third-quarter earnings.

The shares declined as much as 5.9 percent, the most in intraday trading since Jan. 23, and were 4.4 percent lower at 43.70 euros as of 4:41 p.m. in Vienna. The net loss including minority interests was 0.6 million euros in the three months through December, compared with a profit of 1.2 million euros in the same period a year earlier, according to its quarterly report.

Kapsch TrafficCom took a writedown on part of compensation it was due to receive from the South African National Road Agency SOC Ltd. to maintain electronic road tolls around Johannesburg and Pretoria before they began operating last year, according to spokeswoman Katharina Riedl. “Unresolved issues in this regard noticeably weighed down the third-quarter earnings,” Chief Executive Officer GeorgKapsch said in the statement.

The e-toll system in Gauteng province was delayed for more than two years due to opposition from road users and trade unions, and remains unpopular among residents ahead of presidential elections on May 7.

After the compensation settlement was agreed upon, Kapsch had to write down 8.5 million euros, according to spokeswoman Katharina Riedl. South African National Road Agency, known as Sanral, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions seeking comment.

©2014 Bloomberg News

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