SMC boosts infra portfolio

By Neil Jerome C. Morales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 22 2014 07:35 AM | Updated as of Apr 22 2014 06:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is boosting its infrastructure portfolio in the next few years with the completion of major railway, airport and tollroad projects.

The P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) will be completed in 2018, coming on the heels of the completion of the Boracay Airport in 2016 and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) in December 2015.

“MRT-7 project has successfully secured necessary government approval to proceed with construction,” SMC said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

It awarded the engineering procurement contract to Japanese firm Marubeni Corp.

SMC said it is still waiting for the release of the performance undertaking, a government guarantee stating that the state agency involved in a project will comply with all its obligations to the contractor.

Processing of the financial closure can be completed this year, SMC said.

“Construction of the 44-kilometer road and rail transportation will begin immediately after this, and will take an estimated 42 months to complete,” SMC said.

In 2010, SMC acquired a 51-percent stake in Universal LRT Corp. that holds the build-operate-transfer concession for MRT-7, is one of several rail extension projects to the existing metro rail system that services Metro Manila.

It includes a 22-km, six-lane asphalt highway that will connect the North Luzon Expressway to the intermodal transport terminal in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan and a 22-km mostly elevated MRT with 14 stations that will start from San Jose del Monte City and end at the integrated railway station at North EDSA.

Other infrastructure projects are also underway.

SMC said the P24-billion, 88.85-km TPLEx will be fully completed by 2015, three years ahead of the 2018 schedule.

“The upgrade of the Boracay Airport is also ongoing,” SMC said, adding that it plans to start construction of a runway this year and the project in 2016.

In 2007, SMC started selling parts of key businesses to fund diversification from the mature food and beverage businesses into high-growth and capital-intensive sectors such as power generation, mining, infrastructure and telecommunications.