Aboitiz group welcomes relaxed Mactan-Cebu airport bid rules

Company President and CEO Erramon Aboitiz says the government's decision to relax the rules does not affect them

Updated 3:04 PM, Feb 13, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The Aboitiz group—which will bid for the P17-B Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion with the Ayala conglomerate—welcomes the decision of the government to relax bidding rules, allowing airline companies to participate in the auction of the project.

“This is a government policy. It gives other airlines equal opportunity (for the) terminal. It doesn’t really affect us,” said Erramon Aboitiz, President and CEO of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV), on the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Briefing on Wednesday, February 13.

AEV and Ayala Corp. agreed in September 2012 to create a 50-50 joint venture that would bid for the contract to build a new terminal at the country’s second biggest and busiest international gateway. The companies then tapped in December US-based global airport developer and operator ADC & HAS Airports Inc. to join them.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) earlier banned companies holding stakes in airlines from participating in the public bidding, citing conflict-of-interest issues.

Airline owners San Miguel Corp. and JG Summit Holdings Inc. raised howl over the move, while some officials in the Cabinet were concerned the rule would prevent foreign investors from coming in.

Giving in to pressure, the DOTC in February relaxed the rules and allowed airline owners to join, but put a cap on the stake they could own in the company that would be given the concession.

The DOTC acknowledged attracting more bidders would help the government get a better deal anyway.

Others interested to bid for the Mactan-Cebu airport include the Pangilinan group, which confirmed it was in talks with JG Summit of the Gokongweis for a possible partnership. – Rappler.com

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