Contract changes profit myki

THE operator of myki has reported a dramatic profit turnaround after a "major contractual change" to its agreement with the state government - and it says more changes are being negotiated that will ''ensure it is able to operate commercially''.

But the state government has refused to say what contract changes were made and whether the contract price has increased further.

Myki's operator, Japanese-owned consortium Kamco, already has a $1.52 billion contract for implementing and operating its smartcard technology for 10 years - about three times the initial 2005 contract price of $494 million.

The company recorded a $6.6 million profit last year after posting losses in its previous three reports, including a $52 million loss in 2010, according to financial statements lodged with corporate regulator ASIC.

The report also reveals that fresh negotiations are under way and said the company's contract revenue was about $117 million in the 15 months to March 2012, almost twice the $63 million contract revenue it earned in the 12 months to December 2010. The only other time Kamco has posted a profit since it gained the myki contract in 2005 was during the 2007 reporting period.

Kamco does not publish its financial results on its website. But it is required to reveal aspects of its finances to ASIC. The directors' report filed to ASIC last August said the company's changed state of affairs included a contractual change signed in November 2011 called "Amending Deed 5" to ''enact the government review outcomes and revised delivery schedules to achieve completion of project delivery''.

It said: ''Kamco and the TTA [Transport Ticketing Authority] have started discussions on Amending Deed 6 to redefine the services required to operate the myki ticketing system. This includes a range of contract amendments with the aim of delivering an operating structure that meets future needs of the state while ensuring Kamco is able to operate commercially.''

The references raise questions about whether Kamco has received an increased payment or is required to provide services that cost less, or both, as a result of changes made.

They are not the first questions about myki the state government has declined to answer. It has previously refused to release a ''warts and all'' review of myki that it commissioned from accountants Deloitte in December 2010 after it came to office.

A government spokeswoman took a swipe at the previous Labor government for signing an ''inadequate contract'' and said the government's negotiations to finalise an operating contract with Kamco were continuing.

''The … government is seeking to achieve best value for Victorian taxpayers,'' she said. ''The revised contract will deliver strengthened project management and governance arrangements ensuring system improvements and content delivery occur on schedule and on budget.''

Although the Kamco report cites the TTA as the body it is negotiating with, questions to the TTA were referred to the Department of Treasury. The TTA annual report for 2010-11 attributes responsibility to the Treasurer, who by ministerial order was directed to lead negotiations with Kamco from June 2011.

■ mbeck@theage.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop