Source:  BusinessWorld Online

PROPERTY GIANT Ayala Land, Inc., along with parent firm Ayala Corp., is looking to bid for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

Infrastructure ventures, officials said during the company’s stockholders’ meeting yesterday, will improve accessibility to the property firm’s commercial and residential developments.

The statements came as a government official said more PPP deals could be offered this year on top of the 10 initially promised.

“Both Ayala Corp. and Ayala Land … are looking at infrastructure projects that will be bid out this year. Metro Manila needs infrastructure,” Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and COO of Ayala Corp. and chairman of Ayala Land, said in a speech to stockholders.

“It is a mix of road and rail infrastructures that we are looking at,” he added.

Jaime E. Ysmael, Ayala Land senior vice-president and chief finance officer, said: “What is important for us is access.”

This view was echoed by Ayala Land President and CEO Antonino T. Aquino, who said, “tollways that would be connecting to potential Ayala Land developments would be interesting for us.”

Shares in Ayala Land closed 10 centavos higher at P16.60 each yesterday.

The government has begun the process for bidding out PPP projects, last month asking investors to express their interest in operation and maintenance contracts for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) that will cost P7.7 billion and P6.3 billion, respectively. The invitation closes this Friday, April 15.

PPP Center Deputy Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao, meanwhile, told a press conference yesterday that “We are on track with the 10 projects for the year, and it could be more.”

Feasibility studies have been completed and the new deals have been found to be “bankable, attractive to investors and beneficial to the public,” Ms. Canilao later toldBusinessWorld.

“The new deals have been included in the priority list of the government, and they are ready to be offered to the market.”

Ms. Canilao said investor fatigue was not a concern, claiming that there are enough local and foreign parties interested in PPP projects, five of which are expected to be sold in the first half.

Aside from the LRT-1/MRT-3 contracts, the government is also looking to start auctioning off the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway link, which has a P1.6-billion price tag, this month. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport expressway, priced at P10.59 billion, and the North Luzon and South Luzon expressway link (P21 billion), are set for bidding in May.

Expected to be offered in the second semester are the expansion of the LRT-2 and MRT-3 lines, an airport in Misamis Oriental, and construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway and the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway link.

These could still change, Ms. Canilao said, adding that a final list will be unveiled next month.

The PPP Center is also studying other deals for next year, among them the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center. — Neil Jerome C. Morales and Diane Claire J. Jiao