MVP group looks for foreign partner for Mactan airport bid
MANILA, Philippines – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is keen on bidding for the expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport with a foreign partner.
“Yes, we’re talking to potential partners... Foreign because there are no local airport operators here. It needs to be an airport operator because that’s the requirement of the bid rules,” MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters.
Pangilinan said the bid will be done through a special purpose vehicle.
“[We will form] a joint venture. It won’t be through MPIC,” he said.
In September last year, the Aquino administration approved a P17-billion contract for the expansion of the Mactan airport terminals to cope with increasing tourist arrivals.
An invitation to bid was published in December. A pre-qualification conference will be held on January 28, and prospective bidders are required to submit their qualification documents on or before February 28.
Aside from MPIC, several business groups earlier expressed interest to join the bidding. These were San Miguel Corp., Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings Inc., Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.
However, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) recently announced the disqualification of companies holding stakes in airlines, citing conflict of interest.
This effectively barred JG Summit, the parent firm of budget airline Cebu Pacific, and San Miguel, which controls legacy carrier Philippine Airlines, from joining the auction.
The agency has yet to evaluate if the same rules will apply to other airport projects. “There’s no blanket policy... It is the first time that we are doing it. So, it is a learning process for us, thus we want to err on the conservative side to eliminate all forms of conflict of interest," said DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
This decision could work in the favor of MPIC's bid. “[But] you still have to win the bid. We didn’t set the rules. So that’s the government setting the terms of reference. At the end of the day, you still have to put in the proper qualification documents and you have to put in the right price. We have to have the right partner that we think will qualify with respect to our bid,” commented Pangilinan.
The winning bidder for this build-operate-transfer project will be granted a 20-year concession.
The first phase of the project will involve the construction of a new passenger terminal building with a capacity of 8 million passengers a year as well as the operation and maintenance of the old and new facilities.
The Mactan airport is the country's second largest international airport, serving 14% of the country's passenger traffic or 5.7 million passengers a year. The airport serves as a gateway to tourist destinations around the Visayas.
MPIC announced it was interested in bidding for the airport in 2011. The company also signified intention in taking part in the operation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals as well in the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga. - Rappler.com