SMIC only interested in retail aspect of Cebu airport

Aya Lowe
SMIC says it will only be developing the retail component of the airport project if they won the bid

SMIC officials at the SMIC stockholder meeting on April 25. Photo by Aya Lowe/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Henry Sy-led SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), one of the companies seeking to bid for the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion, is only interested in the retail aspect of the project.

SMIC leads the consortium The Premium Airport Group, which has just submitted documents to pre-qualify for the bidding.

SMIC CFO Jose Sio said that if they qualified and won, SMIC would only be developing the retail component of the Public-Private Partnership project.

Its partners would take care of other aspects, such as the building of an airport terminal and the operation of the airport, he added.

“We are just there because we see opportunities in the retail. Our expertise is on retail, we don’t know construction, etc,” he told reporters following SMIC’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Thursday, April 25.

The airport project involves the construction of a terminal capable of holding 8 million passengers a year, according to a PPP Center briefing paper. The plan also provides for the maintenance of old and new facilities.

SMIC’s partners in the consortium include Citadel Holdings Inc., Zurich Airport International AG, and Prospector Investment Holdings Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc., DM Consunji Inc., and Flughafen Zurich AG.

When asked why they chose to partner with Zurich, Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime Holdings CFO, said, “Zurich is one of the best operators in the world. If you have seen their airports and how they operate even in a back office you’ll know they are good at that.” 

SM Prime is the mall development arm of SMIC.

Financial bid

There’s still a chance SMIC won’t join the bidding, Lim said.

The bidding process is still in the prequalification stage. “After that we have to go down into the details of the finance projects, design etc. Even if we qualify, we still have to work on the details and the numbers. All consortium members have to agree on the numbers. If we don’t think the numbers are good for us, then we won’t [join],” he explained.

Other groups keen on the Cebu airport are Manny Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp., John Gokongwei’s JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Aeroports de Lyon; Ayala Land Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. and ADC & HAS Airports; Filinvest Development Corp and Changi Airports; San Miguel Corp., Lucio Tan Group and Incheon Airport; and Megawide Construction Corp. and Indian firm GMR Infrastructure. –

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