Mactan airport bidder calls reports ‘misleading’-A A +A
Friday, December 27, 2013
CEBU CITY -- One of the bidders in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) expansion project described the issues raised against it as “one-sided and misleading.”
The consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Limited, represented by chief marketing officer Louie Ferrer, issued a statement to clarify allegations against its other airport projects.
The consortium offered a bid of P14.4 billion, the highest among seven offers, to expand and operate the MCIA.
Ferrer was reacting to news articles alleging that GMR’s contract to operate the airport in the Maldives was canceled due to irregularities, that it does not have the financial capability to undertake the MCIA project, and that its long-term commitment to projects is questionable.
A report from Reuters alleged that the government of Maldives, a tropical country located in southwest India, canceled in December 2012 the contract with GMR for modernizing the Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport because the firm allegedly collected US$25 airport development fee from departing passengers.
Another report alleged that the Comptroller and Auditor General, India’s equivalent to the Commission on Audit, found negative issues in GMR’s management of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Ferrer said the issues were raised by “detractors who may have vested interest” in the MCIA project.
Ferrer said the Maldives Government awarded the contract to operate the Maldives International Airport to GMR in 2010 through an open and transparent bid process conducted by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
But the Maldives Government was “summarily changed in what appeared to be a political coup in February 2012.” “Following this political upheaval, the new Maldives Government unilaterally decided to cancel the concession agreement of GMR Infrastructure Limited by declaring the sale void ab initio,” read Ferrer’s statement.
Ferrer stressed that GMR was operating the original Maldives International Airport terminal and building a new airport terminal in accordance with the terms and conditions of its concession agreement within the Maldives Government.
“It has not been cited for any violation in its operations and was ahead of schedule in building the new Maldives International Airport terminal,” Ferrer said. “It should be further stated that events in the Maldives are not relevant to the bid process (of the MCIA project) since GMIAL's (GMR Infrastructure Limited) credentials were not used for bid qualification.”
Ferrer pointed out that the cancellation of the Maldives International Airport concession contract is the subject of arbitration proceedings in Singapore.
The consortium said it informed the Department of Transportation and Communications’ Pre-Bidding and Awards Committee of this development before the pre-qualification process for the MCIA project because Megawide-GMR submitted a full disclosure.
As for its financial capability, GMR Infrastructure said its audited financial statement as of September 2013 shows a consolidated net worth of US$1.68 billion and gross assets of US10 billion.
Ferrer also said GMR Infrastructure Limited has developed numerous airports all over the world, including those in New Delhi and Hyderabad in India, and in Istanbul, Turkey. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 27, 2013.