InterAksyon, 08 December 2013
By Krista Angela M. Montealegre
HONG KONG â The Metro Pacific group may bring in a strategic partner to finance the construction of a road connecting the north and south of Metro Manila after the conglomerate sealed a deal with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp (PNCC) for the toll road.
Christopher Lizo, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC) chief financial officer, told reporters flown here that Manila North Tollways Corp (MNTC) has reached an agreement with PNCC for a joint venture where the state-run firm will get a six percent share in gross revenues and will maintain its 2.5 percent equity in the project.
âMNTC signed an agreement with PNCC [last November 29]. The agreement is that the connector road will be done under MNTC and the terms of the agreement is substantially the same as the terms of the existing concession of NLEX now,” Lizo said.
Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp (MPTDC), the key shareholder of MNTC, has submitted an investment proposal for the P22.95 billion NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project, which would link the North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway.
Since the proposal is unsolicited, government rules require that the offer be subject to a Swiss challenge. To go around this requirement, MPTDC and PNCC amended the scope of an existing Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (STOA) to include the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road.
The STOA covers the construction of Segment 10, a 5.65-kilometer road that starts where Segment 9 ends on MacArthur Highway and stretches all the way to C3 Road. Segment 9 is a 2.4-kilometer portion linking the NLEX to MacArthur Highway.
PNCC is the holder of the NLEX franchise, which MNTC manages on behalf of the government.
Expected completion date of the project is on June 2016, or before the end of the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Lizo said.
But before MNTC can start the construction of the 13-kilometer toll way, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) would have to approve the project. The TRB will hold its next board meeting on December 17.
MNTC may issue more bonds to finance the development, but with a crowded capital market in the first quarter of 2014, the company must “look at our financing strategy” with Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), Lizo said.
“It’s a great business and we would rather do it with a private strategic partner…If we do need extra equity that we won’t be able to fund ourselves, then we will bring in a private strategic partner,” MPIC chief financial officer David Nicol said.
The connector road project has attracted “a lot of interest” from local and foreign firms, but there is no imminent deal as of the moment, Nicol said.
“The Japanese expressway operators were the original partners here, but the process took too long. We had to wait for the DOTC approval on alignment. The alignment up to now is still an issue. Despite the President prioritizing it, we hadn’t got the clearance on final alignment of the connector road that’s why discussions with the Japanese stopped…,” MPIC president and chief executive officer Jose Ma. K. Lim said.
“I’m sure once we get all the requirements in place, local and foreign interest will come back,” Lim said.
The NLEX-SLEX Connector Road Project will complete the north-south industrial development beltway transport axis through the construction of a 13.4-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway. The project aims to decongest traffic in Metro Manila and provide better access to Manila’s ports. The project should start this year and end in 2016.
Earlier, the President approved the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project, which will also connect SLEX to NLEX. The project will be fully funded by the Citra Central Expressway Corp at an estimated cost of P26.5 billion.
InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, which like MPTDC and MPIC, is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Business World, 05 December 2013
By Lorenz Cristoffer S. Marasigan
Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) had proposed a P22.95-billion 13.4-kilometer four-lane expressway that will run over Philippine National Railway lines from Caloocan City to Makati City.
A top official of MPIC subsidiary Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), which operates NLEx, said he expects the joint venture structure for the new project to be finalized by the end of the month, after getting the green light from the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).
âWe hope to finalize the structure of the joint venture later this month after receiving the go signal from the TRB and PNCC (Philippine National Construction Corp.),â MNTC President and Chief Executive Officer Rodrigo E. Franco said via text.
MNTC, a joint venture (JV) of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) and PNCC, submitted its investment proposal to the toll body last month.
âOur proposal is to build the connector road using the existing JV agreement — MNTC as the implementing agency,â Mr. Franco explained.
This means the existing supplemental Toll Operations agreement (sTOa) will be amended to include components of the Connector Road.
The existing joint venture structure has MPTC with 67.1% interest and PNCC with just 2.5%.
Mr. Franco said that it is much easier to amend the existing sTOa than to go through a new agreement.
PNCC President Luis F. sison confirmed that the state-run firm is now in talks with MPTC.
âWe are in the midst of a negotiation with the MPIC group and we are represented by a board-created negotiating committee,â Mr. sison said via text message.
He noted, however, that there are certain details the two parties need to settle first before agreeing on the final joint venture structure.
âThere are legal and financial issues that must be ironed out, but I think that they can all be resolved as long as both parties keep the importance of this road within their sights at all times,â Mr. sison said, without elaborating.
Toll regulators were not replying to queries.
âThe proposal to use the old JV comes from MNTC and we have not agreed as legal and financial issues have to be resolved,â Mr. sison admitted, but would not go into details.
The final joint venture structure is also subject to government approval.
MPTC is also a toll road subsidiary of MPIC.
MPIC reported a total comprehensive income of P8.101 billion as of september, 7.8% more than the P7.515 billion recorded in the same nine months last year, as revenues rose 11.40% to P22.879 billion from P20.537 billion on increases in the conglomerateâs water supply and sewerage, tollway, hospital and school revenues.
Shares of MPIC lost 19 centavos or 4% to close at P4.56 apiece yesterday from P4.75 each last Wednesday.
MPIC is a local unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd., which partly owns Philippine Long distance Telephone Co. (PLdT). Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLdT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake inBusinessWorld.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05 December 2013
By Miguel R. Camus
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the toll-road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., has concluded successful negotiations with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp. on a massive elevated toll road linking the southern and northern parts of Metro Manila, a top executive said.
Metro Pacific Tollways president Ramoncito Fernandez said in an interview Thursday that an agreement âin principleâ with PNCC has been reached regarding its joint venture investment proposal.
The next step would be for the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to approve the investment proposal, which Metro Pacific Tollways hopes would come before the end of the year.
Obtaining the approval would allow Metro Pacific Tollways to proceed with construction of the 13-kilometer âconnector roadâ that would link the companyâs North Luzon Expressway to the South Luzon Expressway, operated by rival San Miguel Corp. and the Citra Group of Indonesia, while easing congested roads in Metro Manila.
âWe hope they [TRB] act on it so we can start construction by the first quarter of next year,â Fernandez said.
He said assuming approvals are received on time, they are expecting to complete the connector-road before President Aquino steps down in 2016.
PNCC officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. TRB spokesperson Julius Corpuz said separately that the proposal has yet to be taken up by TRB board, which is tentatively looking to hold its next meeting in the second or third week of this month.
The completion of negotiations with PNCC was viewed as a key step as the latter holds the franchise for both NLEx and SLEx. Fernandez earlier said their proposal would use an existing joint venture with PNCC.
Metro Pacific Tollways is considered the countryâs biggest toll-road operator with about 64 percent of the countryâs toll roads under its management, information on its website showed.
The company operates the 84.96-km North Luzon Expressway and is still in talks with the government, which has yet to complete the turnover of the 93.7-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to the toll road operator.
In the south, it operates the 14-km Manila-Cavite Expressway.
Most of its flagship projects are still located in the north, but its connector road would bridge the gap between its main assets and its expansion plans in the south.
The Philippine Star, 11 September 2013
By Jerome C. Morales
MANILA, Philippines – MANILA, Philippines – Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the countryâs largest toll road management firm, is pursuing a joint venture with a state-run firm for its P23-billion connector road project, a company executive said.
The move is seen to fasttrack the implementation of the toll road that will connect two of Luzonâs key expressways.
âWeâre waiting for formal advice from government but we were told there is already a decision and a joint venture with Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) is the vehicle they want us to pursue,â MPTC president Ramoncito S. Fernandez told reporters.
The toll road unit of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) expects the formal notice within the month, Fernandez said.
MPTC earlier announced that it will own 90 percent of the joint venture company, with the remaining allotted for PNCC, which holds the franchise for both North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway.
MPTC earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal for the P23-billion connector road, which is subject to Swiss challenge. But given the joint venture with PNCC, the Swiss challenge will be scrapped.
Despite the joint venture, Fernandez said MPTCâs agreement for a common alignment with conglomerate San Miguel Corp.âs Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. will remain.
Skyway operator Citra also plans to build a 14-kilometer, six-lane elevated toll way parallel to the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) as a part of the Skyway contract it bagged in 1995.
âFrom the approval, weâre asking another six months for detailed plan and 28 months to construct so it will be three years [for project completion],â Fernandez said.
The Department of Transportation and Communication wanted the construction of the connector road to start early next year so that the infrastructure would be completed in time for the leaders meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which the Philippines would be hosting in 2015.
Business Mirror, 10 September 2013
By Lenie Lectura
THE government has instructed the Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Group to use its existing agreement with the state-run Philippine National Construction Co. (PNCC) for the planned North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon ExpresswayÂ (Nlex-Slex) Connector Road project.
âWe were told that we use our JV [joint venture] with PNCC at Nlex as vehicle to execute the Connector Road,â Ramoncito Fernandez said, president of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollway arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), said in a text message.
The group of Manuel Pangilinan earlier wrote to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to point out the pros and cons of a JV with the PNCC as against a Swiss challenge since MPTCâs proposal was unsolicited.
MPTC proposed to construct a 13.4-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway via the Philippine National Railway tracks, with exits on Quirino, EspaĂ±a and 5th Avenue.
MPTC holds a Supplemental Toll Operations Agreement (STOA) for its Segment 9 and 10 road projects, while PNCC holds the franchise for Nlex and Slex.
Fernandez said instead of crafting a new JV with the PNCC or conducting a Swiss challenge, the government has informed the group that the existing STOA for Nlex will be used.
âWe await for formal communication,â Fernandez said when asked when the amended JV will be finalized.
Fernandez added that toll rates for the proposed connector road are still being discussed with the Toll Regulatory Board.
14 December 2012, The Philippine Star
by Zinnia delaÂ PeĂ±a
The SM Group of retail magnate Henry Sy Sr. will team up with Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., led by Manuel V. Pangilinan,Â for the P15.5-billion expressway project linking three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) with each other and to the Entertainment City.
SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) chief finance officer Jose T. Sio said they would form a consortium with the Pangilinan camp to participate in the bidding for the four-lane elevated expressway which would provide connectivity to NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
The NAIA expressway, will start from Sales St. going to Andrews Ave., Domestic Rd. and which ends on Roxas Blvd., is the third project lined up for bidding under the governmentâs flagship Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
The SM Group, through Belle Corp., is one of four groups that were granted license to operate a casino in the ambitious Entertainment City project along Roxas Blvd.
SMIC, the Sy familyâs investment holding company, is involved in five core businesses â retail merchandising, mall operations, property, banking, and hotel and leisure.
The proposed 9.97-kilometer expressway project aims to provide fast and reliable access to the NAIA terminals and Pagcor Entertainment City by easing traffic situation in the vicinity while boosting economic activities, particularly on tourism.Â It will also link the South Luzon Expressway/Skyway to the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway and both Roxas and Macapagal Blvd.
When completed, travel time from Skyway to NAIA Terminal 1 will be reduced from the average 24 minutes to eight minutes, thus providing comfort to some 80,000 daily travelers.
Among the other companies that expressed interest to bid for the project include San Miguel Corp., DM Consunji Inc., Ayala Corp.,
Macquarie Capital Securities, EGIS Projects, M/S IL and FS Transportation Network, Megawide Construction, EEI Corp, Alloy MTD Philippines, J.E. Manalo Construction, Daelim Philippines and C.M. Pancho Construction.
The government originally set the bidding in June this year but decided to move it to January next year to give interested parties more time to finalize their bids.
24 November 2012, Manila Bulletin
by Emmie Avadilla
The country urgently needs to build more expressways via Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to be more competitive, stressed Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) President Ramoncito Fernandez during the recent Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines, Inc. (EJAP) Forum.
Already, the Philippines is lagging behind all of its Southeast Asian neighbors, with just 296.5 kilometers of expressways, or 25 kilometers of expressway per million capital city population.
Malaysia ranks the highest with 2,717 kilometers of expressways and a ratio of 453 kilometers per one million people, followed by Indonesia with over 791 kms and a ratio of 77.7 kms per million and Thailand, at 309 kilometers, with 26 kilometers per million.
And the Philippinesâ traffic congestion problem only worsens as urban population expands, travel demand and vehicles on the road constantly increase, he warned.
At present, MPTC operates 852 lane-kilometers which accounts for the bulk, or 59%, of toll roads in the country.
In the next five years, MPTC shall continue to be the countryâs leading toll road developer through a three-pronged approach, maintaining its robust financial position while enhancing shareholder returns, expanding its current toll road portfolio and strengthening its position as a leading toll road developer.
However, Fernandez reiterated the need to build more expressways in the country immediately.
âPublic-private partnership is the most optimal solution to address this need,â he noted. âBoth public and private sectors must perform their part and work together.â
For its part, the Philippine government requested the the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to conduct a master plan on High Standard Highway (HSH) Network Development in the country.
The HSH will provide high level of traffic services by assuring high speed mobility and safe travel in order to support socio-economic activities in strategic regions as well as the whole archipelago.
So far, the HSH masterplan recommended building 21,236 kms of roads from 2010 to 2016. Of the total 585 kms are toll expressways all located in Luzon.
The masterplan covers d the rehabilitation, improvement and construction of new 2-lane roads spanning 4,400 kms in Luzon and 11,901 kms in Visayas and Mindanao.
It also recommended expanding 2-lane roads to 4-lane ones, involving 1,926kms in Luzon and 1,769 kms in Vis-Min as well as undertaking new toll expressways stretching 886 kms in Luzon and 354 kms in Vis-Min.
23 November 2012, Malaya Business Insight
by Myla Iglesias
The two groups of investors planning to connect the countryâs two expressways have agreed on the design and the sharing of expenses on a common road. Â One proponent, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. said it is finished with engineering details and eager to submit its quote to the government.
The common road runs from the Buendia junction in Makati, pass through Plaza Dilao Â near the old Paco train station Â to Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa.
Metro and Citra San Miguel Corp., the other proponent, agreed to extend the common road from three to five kilometers.
Ramoncito Fernandez, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., president upgrading the common road would cost at least P3 billion.
In related development Fernandez said he expects the Toll Regulatory Board to approve their request for an 11 percent increase in toll for the North Luzon Expressway.
He said MPTC still has the lowest toll rate of P2 per kilometer in Asia.
Earlier the Â National Economic Development Authority- Investment Coordinating Committee (NEDA-ICC) made it a condition that before the connector road projects are approved, the two must agree on the common road.
Fernandez said that the two groups will finalize the sharing on the construction cost and revenues .
San Miguel Corp-backed Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC) will link the two expressways along a path nearer Â EDSA traversing the Sta. Mesa âAraneta (St. Rivera) road to connect to the Balintawak entrance of the North Expressway.
The Metro Pacific road will traverse a longer route from Buendia to the Port Area portion of Manila to connect to the Mindanao Ave link in North Expressway.
The Metro project will run 14 kilometers with six lanes and will cost P25 billion.
The Metro project likewise has three phases of development- the Mindanao Ave., to Valenzuela link to be finished by September next year; Â the Valenzuela Â to Harbor area Â then the Harbor area to Buendia.
A 13.2-kilometer elevated road connecting the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX will cut down travel time across the metropolis from two hours to 15 to 20-minutes, regardless of traffic at ground level.