Metro Pacific's French partner backs out from regional airports PPP
MANILA, Philippines – The French partner of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), Aeroports de Paris, will no longer join the auction for the operations, maintenance, and upgrade of 5 unbundled regional airports, citing the weaker economic viability of smaller gateways.
"Our foreign partner has notified us that they are pulling out of the airports because the unbundling resulted in the individual airports being too small," MPIC president Jose Ma. Lim said during a media briefing in Makati City on Wednesday, March 1.
"If they win just one of the smaller airports, it would place them in a difficult situation because they would not be able to get the returns they need and at the same time difficult to operate. Rather than take that risk, they decided to withdraw," Lim added.
The projects include the P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay Airport, the P30.40-billion Iloilo Airport, the P40.57-billion Davao Airport, the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport, and the P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport.
These 5 airport PPP projects – cumulatively worth some P108.9 billion – were previously rolled out under the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III. (READ: PH sticks to bundled plan for 5 airports)
But the Aquino administration failed to bid out the PPP airport projects, which were bundled in two packages.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte then decided to unbundle the airports and bid these out individually to easily award the projects.
These were the first public-private partnership (PPP) deals rolled out by the Duterte administration.
'Probably not all'
Asked if MPIC would bid for all 5 airport deals, Lim replied: "Probably not all of them. We would look at all of them. But of course, some are larger than others, Davao being by far the most attractive. Then next would be Iloilo. But the other 3, you have to see the terms."
MPIC, Aeroports de Paris, and ADP Ingenierie formed the Philippine Airports Consortium to initially bid for these regional airport deals.
But with the unbundling, Lim said his company now needs to find a new foreign partner before participating in the auction.
"Probably just one if we're successful in finding one. It's hard to tell at this point," the MPIC president said.
Other consortia that initially expressed interest in the PPP deals are the following:
- consortium of San Miguel Holdings Corporation and Incheon International Airport Corporation
- GMR Infrastructure Limited-Megawide Construction Corporation group
- consortium of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Incorporated and VINCI Airports SAS
- the group of Filinvest Development Corporation, Japan Airport Terminal Company Limited, and Sojitz Corporation
"Whatever they (government) do, we will bid," San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang earlier told reporters in Filipino.
Filinvest was also quoted in BusinessWorld as saying that its consortium remains interested in the projects.
For the Department of Transportation, these PPP projects are aimed at improving the services of the regional airports by allowing private sector partners to handle their operations and maintenance as well as enhancement of airside and landside facilities. – Rappler.com