Monday 3 October 2011

Q-Free optimistic about future

Norwegian toll road infrastructure provider Q-Free has been around since 1984 and is based in the city of Trondheim, where it provided the technology for that city’s toll system in 1988. It has since supplied systems for other Norwegian toll systems including Oslo’s toll ring (which is effectively a congestion pricing system today) and now has a global presence with 14 regional offices. It is fair to say that Q-Free is now one of the major European suppliers of roadside and in-vehicle tolling equipment and infrastructure.

The company (publicly listed in Oslo) has released its 2011 second quarter results which look not bad in these times of economic slowdown.
- US$34 million in revenues (19% up on same period in 2010)
- US$2.7 million in operating profit
- US$10 million in new orders
- US$85 million in backlog orders.

The written report on the Q2, 2011 results is available here.

Key activity (in the market, not necessarily what Q Free is doing) is seen in:
Single gantry for bi-directional road tolls
- Being selected as supplier for Gothenburg congestion charge in Sweden;
- Portugal (support for progress towards more electronic tolls);
- France (state highway truck tolling progressing, Q Free seeking role);
- Slovenia (government seeking proposals for truck tolls);
- South Africa (Q Free awarded contract for DSRC tags for SANRAL);
- Expectation of progress in network truck tolls for Belgium and Denmark.
- Congestion pricing in Indonesian cities;
- Toll system expansion and renewal in Taiwan (on main highways);
- Increased electronic tolling in Bangkok;
Single gantry for bi-directional tolls
- Australian toll road moves to more electronic toll takeup
- Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Ecuador all have potential, with high tag demand in Brazil;
- High US interest in automatic number plate recognition solutions.

The conclusion on the economic outlook for the toll infrastructure sector is one I have little argument with:

Single gantry for one way tolls
- The global Road User Charging market is expected to grow considerably over the next years because traffic is causing congestion problems implying environmental challenges and time inefficiency, the need for financing to build and maintain infrastructure is evident.

but.. political risk still plays a role in this industry, e.g. delays and/or cancellations although this is reduced over time as number of cases being explored are increasing and not at least due to the financial situation

Q-Free has highlighted what it claims is its unique single gantry multi-lane electronic free flow tolling solution using DSRC and ANPR technologies, the images come from the presentation which you can read in full here.

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