Toll firm to offer bonds to fund future roadwork


North Luzon Expressway. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines— Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), the private operator of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), is expected to offer up to P7 billion in retail bonds to partly finance the construction of new toll roads in the capital through 2016, a company official said on Tuesday.

Total cost of the roadwork is estimated at P30 billion.

The company already signed a joint venture deal with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp., MNTC president Rodrigo Franco on Tuesday said.

For its maiden offer, MNTC is considering the sale of seven- to 10-year bonds. BDO Capital and Investment Corp., together with First Metro Investment Corp., SB Capital Corp. and PNB Capital, are arranging the deal, said Christopher Lizo, chief financial officer of MNTC’s controlling shareholder, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.

Lizo said the company would need to raise more funds to build a “connector road” and two other segments.

“We hope to issue the bonds toward the end of February to March,” Franco said, adding that they have already raised about P3 billion in debt.

He added that the bonds would be listed on the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp.

The 8-kilometer connector road, valued at P18 billion, is the single largest component of the company’s capital spending plan.

The project aims to reduce congestion in Metro Manila by providing a more direct link between NLEx and South Luzon Expressway via an elevated expressway running over the Philippine National Railway tracks.

The connector road, or NLEx Metro Expressway Link, will link the Smart Connect Interchange at NLEx all the way to the C-3 road in Caloocan, near the port area.

MNTC said a segment of the Smart Connect Interchange to MacArthur Highway would cost P1.59 billion. Construction is set to begin in June.

This segment will then be extended to C-3 at a cost of P10.5 billion. The project is expected to be completed by February 2016.

The 8-kilometer connector road, meanwhile, will start from C-3 to PUP Sta. Mesa in Manila. Construction will start in July and may be completed by June 2016.

In 2013, daily vehicle traffic on the toll road grew by 5 percent to over 170,000 vehicles from that of the previous year, Franco said.

He said revenues likely reached P7 billion last year, and could rise by at least 4 percent this year.

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