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MANILA, Philippines – The Pangilinan and Gokongwei groups are joining forces to boost their chances of bagging the P17-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion project.
The deal, while still being negotiated, pits them against other big businesses, including the Aboitiz and Ayala groups. The Pangilinan and Gokongwei groups are already partners in telecom giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., while Pangilinan and Ayala are telco rivals-turned-rail partners.
This makes the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project the new battleground for the country’s richest, who are bidding for government assets.
Agreement in principle
Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the infrastructure conglomerate he heads, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), and JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongweis just agreed to form a joint venture that would bid for the airport contract.
Though nothing was signed yet, Pangilinan said, “we have reached an agreement in principle to manage the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as a consortium.”
The project involves the construction of a world-class passenger terminal building, with capacity of 8 million passengers a year, as well as the operation and maintenance of the old and new facilities.
The airport, the country’s second biggest and busiest international gateway, sits on a 797-hectare property, and has a single 3,300-meter runway complemented by a full-length taxiway.
The existing terminal building of the airport has capacity of 4.5 million passengers annually.
The Pangilinan and Gokongwei groups were in talks for a possible joint bid early 2012. But the talks were stalled when government released rules banning companies with stakes in airlines from bidding for the Cebu airport on conflict-of-interest issues. JG Summit owns Cebu Pacific Air, the country’s biggest budget carrier.
In February, however, the Transportation Department relaxed the rules, saying airline owners could now join, but could own only up to 33% of the special purpose vehicle created with partners for the bid.
The Department of Transportation and Communications held a pre-qualification conference for interested groups at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday. There were 11 participants in the conference, more than the originally expected 7.
Submission and opening of qualification documents will be held on February 27. – Rappler.com