MPIC group raising P10B for NLEX-SLEX connector road
The company is studying the best possible ways to raise funds giving the rising interest rate environment

CONNECTOR ROAD. The Metro Pacific Investments group is building a toll road that will connect the North and South Luzon Expressways. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) group is raising P10 billion in the last quarter of the year to partly fund a toll road project that would connect the North Luzon (NLEX0 and South Luzon (SLEX) expressways.

MPIC unit Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) would conduct the fund-raising activity once it gets the green light from the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) for the proposed NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, said MNTC president Rodrigo Franco.

“That is around P10 billion and will immediately be after the TRB approval. So we are hoping by the third or the fourth quarter, we will be raising financing again,” he said.

MNTC signed in January a joint venture agreement with state-run Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), giving MNTC the go signal to implement the connector road project.

The company, which holds the concession rights to the 84-km NLEX, is proposing to construct a 13.4-kilometer, 4-lane elevated expressway that would connect NLEX and SLEX. The expressway would be built over the Philippine National Railway tracks, and would have exits to Quirino, España and 5th Avenue (C-3).

The San Miguel group is also building a 14-km, 6-lane NLEX-SLEX connector road, which would have exits to Quirino, Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon Boulevard, Sgt. Rivera and Balintawak.

The two roads would intersect beginning Buendia Avenue up until the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus in Sta Mesa, Manila.

Debt and equity

Franco said MNTC would raise the P10 billion through a combination of internal cash and debt.

He said MNTC is closely watching developments in the financial markets after the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised banks’ reserve requirements by a percentage point last March 27.

Effective April 4, the reserve requirement for commercial banks would increase to 19%, thrift banks to 7%, rural banks to 5%.

The BSP move would guard against potential risks coming from strong liquidity growth and rapid credit expansion.

“Well we have to evaluate because of the developments in the financial markets. We have to study the impact of the decision of the BSP to raise requirements,” he explained.

Other projects

The MPIC group earmarked P40 billion for various road projects here and abroad over the next 5 years.

MPIC earlier said it is looking at two major toll road projects in Vietnam that could entail investments of up to $1 billion as part of efforts to diversify its presence in the region.

The company is in talks with Cuu Long Infrastructure Development and Management Corporation for the expansion of a second toll road project in the northern portion of Ho Chi Minh.

Cuu Long CIMP is the counterpart of PNCC in Vietnam.

“It’s moving well. We had the Vietnam potential partners visit Manila last month. They were very happy with their visit so we are on schedule to submit a joint proposal to the Vietnamese government.

MPIC and parent firm First Pacific Group of Hong Kong are also awaiting the result of the bidding for the first public private partnership project in Vietnam involving a $750 million Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway being undertaken by the Vietnamese government and the World Bank as well as private partner Bitexco Group. –

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