San Miguel, Metro Pacific battle again for Cavite-Laguna expressway
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) are once again head-to-head for the controversial road public-private partnership (PPP) deal: the P55.5-billion ($1.25-billion) Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX).
Of the 4 groups that bought bid documents for the rebidding of the CALAX, only MPIC and SMC on Tuesday, May 19, moved forward and submitted technical, legal, and financial offers.
The troubled road PPP project also drew interest from an undisclosed client of Gatmaitan Law Office and another from Reyes, Tacondong & Company law firm, but both groups opted not to show up in the bidding.
“I'm happy that two bidders showed up; I thought it will only be San Miguel,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson told reporters on the sidelines of the auction.
The project cost includes the minimum bid price of P20.1 billion ($451.54 million) fixed by the government. That amount represents the premium that SMC’s unit offered to pay on top of the P35.42-billion ($795.69-million) project cost during the first tender on June 2, 2014.
The CALAX project was rolled out again in February, after the Office of the President last November ordered DPWH, the implementing agency, to offer the deal in a new auction round.
This followed disqualified bidder SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development, Incorporated’s move to seek President Benigno Aquino III’s intervention after its disqualification on a technicality concerning its bid security.
That June 2 bidding enticed 4 qualified bidders: SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure; MPIC’s MPCALA Holdings Incorporated; Team Orion of Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Incorporated; as well as MTD Philippines, Incorporated.
The government said in its February 27 invitation to bid that the re-bidding will involve a single-stage auction, meaning the legal, technical, and financial documents are submitted simultaneously by bidders.
On February 27, Team Orion and MTD already said they are no longer interested in the CALAX bid.
“Since only two groups submitted bids, we’re targeting to announce the evaluation of SMC’s and MPIC’s technical offers on Monday, May 25; and then we will open their financial offers on Tuesday, May 26,” DPWH Undersecretary for Legal Rafael Yabut told reporters.
He added that the government would issue a notice of award on July 7 and a notice to proceed on July 31 after the signing of the concession agreement on July 28.
The project involves a 35-year contract to finance, build, and operate a 47-kilometer, 4-lane toll road between Cavite Expressway and the Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.
Only 9 PPP deals were awarded since the flagship infrastructure was launched in 2010. – Rappler.com