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.
The Philippine Star, 06 December 2013
By Delon Porcalla
MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino expects that the government-approved project connecting the North and South Luzon Expressways, aside from major airports and light rail systems on the pipeline, will be finished before he steps down in June 2016.
Among the âconcrete manifestationsâ of the legacy that he wants to leave behind before the end of his six-year term are the major renovation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport I â dubbedÂ one of the worldâs worst airport â among many others.
âI think, it (NAIA-I) will be finished â the refurbishing by that time (2016),â he told officers and members of the Bulong Pulungan weekly forum during their annual Christmas party which was held at Sofitel Plaza in Pasay City.
âHopefully, NLEX and SLEX, the connector will also be up and running by that time (2016),â Aquino said, as he likewise mentioned TPLEX â or the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway â that aims to shorten travel time to northern Luzon and Baguio City.
Major airports, among them tourism hubs Panglao (island in quake-ravaged Bohol province) and Mactan (international airport in Cebu province), are also expected to be âsubstantially finished.â
The construction of (more) light rail systems are also underway. âThese are important by and of themselves,â he said of the infrastructure projects that the National Economic Development Authority has approved.
Aquino said he still has 950 days left before he relinquishes his post.
âI think, more importantly is I really want an expression â to see the expression on the faces of our people the âcan doâ attitude, that nothing is beyond our grasp and our reach, and that is what I am hoping to see, hopefully, not just the day before I leave, but more importantly after I leave, that it continues and become stronger,â he said.
Last June, Aquino gave the go-signal for the Public-Private Partnership projects that included the P25.56-billion North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Connector Road proposed by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).
The NLEX-SLEX Connector road involves the construction and operation and maintenance of a 13.4-km four-lane elevated expressway over the Philippine National Railway right of way that starts in Caloocan City and ends in Buendia, Makati City.
The project will connect NLEX to SLEX and will be an alternative to C-5 road and EDSA.
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.
ABS-CBN News, 04 December 2013
MANILA â Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson said construction for segments 9 and 10 of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) connector road has begun.
âMagmula doon sa NLEx, mayroon silang tinatawag na segment 9 and 10, papasok ng Novaliches at papuntang sea port. Nag-uumpisa na âyun, ang actual contractor nandoon na on the ground,â he told dzMM on Wednesday.
He said the other segments, particularly the road connecting NLEx to Buendia, are now awaiting approval from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) before construction can begin.
âAs far as DPWH is concerned, tapos na ang aming kailangan gawin diyan, na-endorse na namin âyan. At in fact, âyung portion ng Novaliches, naga-acquire na kami ng right of way doon,â Singson said.
Pagpasok naman dito mula sa port area hanggang Buendia, âyan ay nakapending pa sa TRB at DOTC dahil sa integration ng rail papuntang Clark at âyung commuter line,â he added.
The connector road aims to decongest traffic on major thoroughfares including Quezon Ave. and EDSA.
Business World, 03 December 2013
By K.M.P. Tubadeza
Asked during a forum in Pasay City yesterday what he wants to see a day before his term ends, the President said: “The attitude of the people, from being apathetic to really being involved, and weâre seeing that now. But in terms of concrete manifestations of the same, maybe Terminal 1 [of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA], I think, will be finished — the refurbishing by that time.”
“Hopefully, NLEx (North Luzon Expressway) and SLEx (South Luzon Expressway) — the connector will also be up and running by that time, and the TPLEx (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La-Union Expressway),” Mr. Aquino said.
“More importantly is the airports will be substantially finishedâŠ Panglao, Mactan, and so many others,” he also said, adding that he also hoped for “at least the start of the light rail systems.”
The P1.64-billion NAIA Terminal 1 rehabilitation project entails repairing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems, as well as retrofitting the overall structure of an airport some critics have dubbed the worldâs worst.
The Transportation department has moved the bidding for the project to this month. It was originally scheduled for Nov. 15.
The first phase of the P23.8-billion TPLEx was partially opened Oct. 30. It is a 17-kilometer road stretching from Tarlac City to Gerona in Tarlac province. It is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Baguio to two to three hours from six.
The P4.63-billion construction of a new airport in Panglao, Bohol is to replace the existing Tagbilaran Airport. The project is up for auction to Japanese contractors, according to a bulletin from the Transportation department last month.
Meanwhile, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport New Passenger Terminal project is being offered under the governmentâs public-private partnership (PPP) program. The Transportation department is currently evaluating the technical proposals submitted by seven bidders.
Light rail projects in the governmentâs pipeline include the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, the P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit 7 Project, and the LRT-1 North Extension.
The Philippine Star, 07 November 2013
By Lawrence Agcaoili
MANILA, Philippines – Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), a unit of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is scheduled to meet with officials of state-run Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) this month to finalize a joint venture for a planned P23 billion toll road that would connect the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways.
MNTC president Rodrigo Franco told reporters during the launching of NLEXcellence Safety Awards yesterday that the company would present various options to PNCC to pursue a joint venture for the planned âconnector road.â
âThe directive of the government is to do a joint venture with PNCC, so we are now in the final stage. We still need to make a formal presentation, but weâve touched base and just discussed. We are hoping (to make a presentation) this November,â Franco said.
A new option being considered, he said, is to expand the existing joint venture between MNTC and PNCC that owns the franchise for both the NLEX and SLEX.
MPIC controls over 67 percent of MNTC while the remaining 33 percent is shared by Egis Projects SA of France, BDO/Global Fund Holdings, and PNCC. PNCC has a 2.5 percent interest in MNTC.
âThereâs also a very viable option which is to do it via the existing joint venture company which is MNTC,â Franco said.
However, he pointed out that several issues including the higher cost for PNCC resulting from the increase in its interest in MNTC as well as the dilution of the stake of other shareholders.
Another option being considered is to form a new joint venture company wherein MNTC was looking at a 90 percent interest while the remaining 10 percent would be owned by PNCC.
Franco said the approved option for the joint venture agreement would be presented to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) for approval.
âWe want to finalize the joint venture this year so we can start construction next year,â he said.
Once a joint venture with PNCC is created, a âSwiss challengeâ would no longer be required to the unsolicited proposal of MPIC. Under the proposed expansion, the 5.65-kilometer segment 10 project of MNTC would be redefined to cover the NLEX-SLEX connector road.
The supplemental toll operations agreement (STOA) covers the construction of segment 10 that starts where 2.4-kilometer segment 9 ends on MacArthur Highway and stretches all the way to circumferential (C3) road.
MPICâs connector road project would complete the north-south industrial development beltway transport axis through the construction of a 13.4-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway. It would decongest traffic in Metro Manila and provide better access to Manilaâs ports.
Franco said the project would be completed in 2016 after starting early next year.
Earlier, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya announced that Malacanang gave Citra Central Expressway Corp. of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) the green light to start the construction of its own connector road worth P26.5 billion.
President Aquino has approved the contract for the Stage 3 project of the Metro Manila Skyway that would connect the NLEX and SLEX. The 14.2-kilometer road system would decongest EDSA and other major roads such as Quezon Ave., Araneta Ave., Nagtahan, and Quirino.
Rappler, 06 November 2013
MANILA, Philippines â A unit of the Manuel Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and state-owned Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) are finalizing a joint venture deal for the P23-billion road that will link the North and South Luzon expressways.
MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said MNTC will present this month options on how to undertake the venture.
The presentation will be the final stage before the parties forge any agreement.
âTheÂ directive of government is to do a joint venture with PNCC, so we are now in the final stage. We still need to make a formal presentation to PNCC, but we’ve touched base and just discussed,â explained Franco.
He added that MNTC wants “to finalize the joint venture this year so we can start construction next year.â
One option, Franco said, is to use an existing JV with PNCC as a vehicle for the connector road deal. Another is to create a new JV where MNTC will hold a controlling stake of 90%, and PNCC, 10%.
Whatever the two parties will agree on will be presented to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.
MNTC’s unsolicited proposal for the connector road will no longer undergo Swiss challenge once the JV with government is approved.
MNTC is proposing to construct a 13.4-km, 4-lane elevated expressway that will connect NLEx and SLEx. The expressway will be built over the Philippine National Railway tracks, and will have exits to Quirino, EspaĂ±a and 5th Avenue.
San Miguel Corporation-backed CitraÂ is also proposing to build a 14-km, 6-lane connector road, which will have exits to Quirino, Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon Boulevard, Sgt. Rivera and Balintawak.
The two roads will intersect beginning Buendia Avenue up until the Polytechnic University of the Philippines campus in Sta Mesa, Manila.Â â Rappler.com