MANILA, Philippines - The consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. on Monday hit back at the Gotianun family's Filinvest Development Corp., which sought its disqualification from bidding for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project.
The GMR-Megawide consortium addressed the issues raised by Filinvest, which partnered with Singapore's Changi Airport to bid for the airport project. Filinvest questioned GMR's qualifications, financial capability and long-term commitment to the Cebu airport project.
"Previously, the Consortium had chosen to address these issues in the proper forum and had submitted its comment to all allegations to the DOTC. Given the latest series of one-sided and misleading articles, we believe that the Consortium is now obliged to answer the issues being raised so that the public may know the truth," the Megawide-GMR consortium said in a statement.
The GMR-Megawide consortium addressed the issue of the cancellation of GMR Male International Airport Limited’s (GMIAL) contract to modernize the airport in Maldives in 2012.
The consortium said the contract was affected when a new government took over the Maldives after a coup in 2012.
"The new Maldives Government unilaterally decided to cancel the concession agreement of GMIAL by declaring the same “void ab initio”. Prior to such illegal action, GMIAL was operating the original MIA airport terminal and building a new airport terminal, in accordance with the terms and conditions of its concession agreement with the Maldives Government. It had not been cited for any violation in its operations and was ahead of schedule in building the new Maldives International Airport terminal," it said.
The cancellation of the Maldives International Airport concession is currently the subject of arbitration proceedings in Singapore.
Further, GMR-Megawide said the DOTC prequalification, bids and awards committee was already aware of the matter, since the consortium submitted full disclosure on the issue during the pre-qualification process.
The GMR-Megawide consortium also denied GMR's finances took a hit after the Maldives project fell through. It cited GMR's latest audited financial statements as of September 2013 that showed it has a consolidated net worth of $1.68 billion and gross assets of $10 billion.
"The events in the Maldives do not have a material impact on GMR... Presently, GMR enjoys the following credit ratings: Long Term Bank Facilities – BBB+, Short Term Bank Facilities – A2," it said.
On the issue of GMR's "questionable" long-term commitment for the development of the Cebu airport, the consortium emphasized the Indian company's track record in developing airports all over the world, including in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Istanbul.
"It has received multiple awards for the design, operation and maintenance of its airport projects and has never defaulted in its obligations in any of these projects. In fact, the Airports Council International rankings of Delhi and Hyderabad airports have placed it amongst the top two airports in global rankings in their respective categories," GMR-Megawide said.
"GMR’s 40% equity in the Project is considered a long term investment. GMR is fully prepared to abide by the investment lock-up requirements under the bidding rules," it added.
The GMR-Megawide consortium said it has "always acted in good faith" and observed all the rules and regulations in the bidding.
GMR-Megawide topped the bidding for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport with its financial offer of P14.404 billion, followed by the Filinvest-Changi Airport consortium with P13.999 billion.