Metro Pacific chooses local partner for airport projects

By Miguel R. Camus, BusinessMirror

Posted at Oct 29 2012 09:29 AM | Updated as of Oct 29 2012 05:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Listed Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is set to announce a partner for its foray into the airport operations business which the government plans to bid out under its massive Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

MPIC chief financial officer David Nicol told reporters last week the chosen partner will be a local group, although he declined to give additional details.

“In due course we hope to announce a very exciting partnership [for airports] which we think everyone will see the logic of,” Nicol said.

“The idea is we will jointly bid on each airport project that may become available,” he added, referring to plans should the prospective alliance be finalized.

This development is only the latest of consolidation moves among the country’s top conglomerates, which have been coming together in unprecedented ways to outbid each other for a piece of the PPP program.

MPIC and its potential partner are seen to go against other large groups, including a strategic partnership between Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., which is eyeing the P10-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal project.

Ayala itself is in an exclusive alliance with MPIC to bid for railway projects. There are at least four airport projects identified under the PPP program.

The Mactan-Cebu project is in a relatively more advance stage of the PPP process as it is up for submission to the National Economic and Development Authority, information on the PPP web site showed.

The operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the Laguindingan airport and an enhanced O&M contract for the new Bohol airport are still being finalized in terms of their project structure, the PPP web site showed.  The Puerto Princesa airport in Palawan is still in the “business case/feasibility study” stage.

Should it succeed in winning these, airport and railway projects would add to MPIC’s growing infrastructure portfolio, which already spans toll roads, water infrastructure, power generation and hospitals. MPIC said earlier that core net income in the first half rose 30 percent to P3.46 billion while reported net income increased 76 percent to P3.44 billion.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. contributed 43 percent of net operating income, Manila Electric Co. contributed 33 percent while Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which operates North Luzon Expressway, accounted for 19 percent. The company’s hospital group, which includes Makati Medical Center and Asian Hospital, contributed 5 percent.