San Miguel expects to sign toll acquisition in a week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2011 12:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is in talks to acquire two toll roads in Southern Luzon, and may close a deal within a week or two, its president said Wednesday.

“Star Tollway and Skyway were offered to us. If there is opportunity, we will buy both,” Ramon Ang, San Miguel president and chief operating officer, told reporters on Wednesday.

Ang did not give further details.

Star Tollway Corp. operates the 42-kilometer Southern Tagalog Arterial Road that runs from Sto. Tomas to Batangas City.

Meanwhile, the 9.3-kilometer elevated Skyway from Buendia, Makati to Bicutan, Parañaque is operated by Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC). The Skyway 2 project, which extends the toll road up to Alabang, Muntinlupa, is ongoing.

San Miguel has been moving away from its core food and beverage business to heavy industries such as infrastructure, power, and telecommunications.

Other toll road ventures

San Miguel also has stakes in the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) and the North Luzon East Expressway (NLEE) through deals it entered into last year.

In July, the company said it acquired 51% of Ausphil Tollways Corp., a Filipino-Australian corporation and the main project proponent for the NLEE.

The following month, it bought a 35% stake in Private Private Infra Dev Corp. (PIDC), the consortium of construction companies building the TPLEx.

Failed bids

San Miguel had attempted but failed to acquire two other toll road assets.

It partnered with Star Tollway in the bidding for the contract to operate the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the country’s longest toll road north of Manila. It also offered to buy Manila North Tollways Corp., the franchise holder for the 83.7-kilometer North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), from the Lopez family.

Both projects were bagged by corporate rival Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC)., led by businessman Manuel Pangilinan.

San Miguel and the Pangilinan Group have been chasing after the same businesses.

They were at war for control of then Lopez-led power distributor Manila Electric Co., and were rival bidders for the 246-megawatt Angat hydroelectric power plant.

Both also expressed interest to invest in a new airport terminal in the Clark Freeport zone in Pampanga.