Big groups keen on railway projects
Large conglomerates had mixed reactions to new railway projects the government recently unveiled, including an ambitious P135-billion subway system for Metro Manila, as some were keen on bidding while others kept a more guarded approach given the recent track record for major public private partnership (PPP) deals.
Companies like San Miguel Corp. and Malaysia’s MTD Group said they were interested in the projects and would likely offer bids should the government proceed with a plan to auction the PPP deals over the next two years, or before President Aquino steps down in 2016.
Apart from the subway system that would link the cities of Makati, Taguig and Pasay, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) was also keen on bidding a $6.3-billion “north-south commuter line” that would connect Malolos, Bulacan, to Calamba, Laguna via a 90-kilometer railway.
Other projects were the Light Rail Transit Line 1 extension to Dasmariñas, Cavite, and the operations and maintenance contract of LRT-2.
“We will join the bids,” San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang said via text.
The conglomerate, which has bagged one PPP deal, the Naia Expressway tollroad, could also be open to partnerships given the large investments required for railways, Ang said.
MTD Philippines president Isaac David also noted that the group was interested in new railways and they would likely participate.
Ayala Corp., which has a strategic partnership with Metro Pacific Investment Corp. for rail projects, noted that it was still too early to determine whether they would join.
“We will have to assess the projects as they become more developed. The vision is a good one, but a lot will depend on the project viability,” Ayala managing director John Eric Francia said via email.
The transportation department has yet to auction a single railway project after the failed bidding last year for the P65-billion deal to extend LRT-1 in Metro Manila to Bacoor, Cavite.
This, too, could face further delays as some bidders are seeking to postpone the April 28 rebid submission deadline due to remaining issues with the terms of the bidding.
San Miguel, MTD Philippines and Ayala are keen on participating in the rebidding for the LRT-1 extension PPP.
Megawide Construction Corp., which also bought bid documents for the LRT-1 PPP, said it was focused on airports and would only participate in future rail projects “as a contractor,” chief financial officer Oliver Tan said Friday.
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