Korean, Malaysian firms interested in Mactan airport project

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013


FILIPINO companies will now have to compete with South Korean and Malaysian entities for the right to build the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport project.

These are Samsung C&T Corp. and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), which inquired on the project's terms as stated in the Special Bid Bulletin 02-2013 released by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) last February 1.

Seoul-based Samsung C&T is into engineering, investment and construction with over 11,000 employees worldwide while the 22-year-old MAHB is currently managing Malaysia's 39 airports while providing management services to airports in India and Turkey.

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Specifically, Samsung C&T asked regarding the P1 million non-refundable fee to be used for the purchase of bid documents, elaboration of the term "entities" in the Instructions to the Prospective Bidders (ITPB), and co-purchase of bid documents along with local and international companies.

MAHB, meanwhile, inquired if it could meet the legal qualification requirement of the ITPB as a consortium member.

In response, Transportation Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, chairman of the pre-qualification bids and awards committee, said the co-purchase of bid documents will not bind the companies together while the P1-million fee must be in cash or manager's check issued by any bank in the Philippines made out to the DOTC.

In the same 10-page document, the DOTC confirmed that airline companies and entities having any relationship with an airline firm may own a maximum of 33 percent of the shares in the winning bidder's special purpose company that would be awarded the concession.

However, the DOTC maintained that no airline company should be directly involved in operations to prevent conflict of interest.

Parties with stakes in airlines are originally barred from taking part in the bidding process but the DOTC changed its mind last Friday after earning opposition from interested bidders like San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that owns 49 percent of Philippines Airlines and JG Summit Holdings Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific.

Macro Asia Corp., the aviation logistics firm of PAL chairman Lucio Tan, also bought bid documents along with the P10-billion joint venture of Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Filinvest Development Corp., Prime Power Holdings Corp., and the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

Chaired by Manuel Pangilinan, MPIC is reportedly talking with representatives from Gokongwei-led JG Summit for a possible joint venture aside from its other option, which is to invite other airport operators in Asia and Europe.

A prequalification conference will be conducted on February 13 at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City to determine, which companies are capable of carrying out the project in the 797-hectare property.

After this, opening and submission of qualification documents is set on February 27.

The project's objective is to efficiently handle the increasing air traffic demand, ensure convenience of expected eight million passengers, and promote aircraft operational efficiency through the construction of new passenger terminal, installation of necessary equipment, and renovation and expansion of the existing terminal including maintenance and management.

It also intends to minimize passenger delay due to reduction of passenger terminal waiting time and increase revenues from tourism activities in the long run.

It is consisted of two phases worth P8.87 billion and P8.6 billion, respectively. The project, which has a concession period of 20 years, is expected to be completed by 2033. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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