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Ayala group mulls infrastructure projects as it prepares NAIA bid

Ayala group mulls infrastructure projects as it prepares NAIA bid

AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. may submit “some” unsolicited proposals of national significance within the year, its President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Rene D. Almendras told reporters late Tuesday.

The infrastructure projects may cost billions of pesos, similar to the proposed redevelopment of NAIA, the company official noted without disclosing details.

The administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has advanced its first public-private partnership (PPP) with a formal offer to investors of concessions to develop, operate and maintain five regional airports.

The Department of Transportation on Tuesday invited prospective investors to pre-qualify and bid for the separate development, operation and maintenance of the Bacolod-Silay, Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan and Bohol (Panglao) airports cumulatively worth P108.18 billion.

The government, under the administration of former President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, had offered the deals in a bundle to improve their attractiveness to investors in terms of project cost and passenger volume.

AC Infrastructure will focus on bidding for the upgrade of the four terminals of the country’s main gateway, Mr. Almendras said, when asked about the company’s interest in bidding for the regional airports.

“From the very beginning we really said that since there are many groups already interested in the domestic airports, we want to be able to focus on something, which is critical — more critical,” Mr. Almendras said.

San Miguel Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Megawide Construction Corp. and Filinvest Land, Inc. have recently affirmed their interest in bidding for the regional airports, as part of different consortiums.

“We’re getting ready for the bigger one, which is NAIA. You still need to fix the main airport because if you expand the capacity of domestic airports, where will the additional flights go?” Mr. Almendras said.

“It’s hard to fix an airport, be ready to handle more flights, passengers, but there are no flights and passengers because they can take off from your airport but cannot land where they want to go to. So, it’s a system — transport is always a system.”

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by Mr. Duterte has approved the redevelopment of NAIA, at an indicative cost of P74.56 billion, in September of last year.

The project covers the operation and maintenance of NAIA for a period of 15 to 20 years. The NEDA Board had targeted to award the concession this September.

“We’re now ready — the whole consortium is ready,” Mr. Almendras said. “We’re just waiting for the government to push though, we want to get the TOR (terms of reference) and know what the details are.”

Ayala will lead the consortium comprising more than two foreign firms and at least one Philippine company. Another local entity wants to join the group, Mr. Almendras noted.

The country’s oldest conglomerate, through its infrastructure arm, may supposedly consider embarking on regional airport projects after the redevelopment of NAIA.

“So, we’re not saying they’re bad investments. They’re all good, they’re all nice, interesting and all that,” Mr. Almendras, who formed part of Mr. Aquino’s Cabinet, said of the five regional airport PPP recently rolled out.

“It’s just that we have to choose. We’re doing a lot more that’s why we have to choose where we will focus as far as airports are concerned.”

The government has awarded contracts for 14 PPP projects cumulatively worth P293.91 billion since the infrastructure program was launched in the third quarter of 2010.

The Duterte administration, in its first week in office, identified 17 PPP projects for rollout by the end of 2017. It would later announce a more deliberate approach in awarding such contracts.



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