MNTC seeks fair SCTEx bid rules
MANILA, Philippines—Manila North Tollways Corp., the operator of North Luzon Expressway, is “hoping” for fair and comparable terms as the Bases Conversion and Development Authority published Monday an official invite for other groups to challenge the Manuel V. Pangilian-led company’s offer for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
The move marks the beginning of the so-called price challenge as the government seeks the best possible offer for SCTEx even after MNTC revised and improved its offer three times since 2011.
MNTC won the project under the previous administration but disagreements over the terms when the new administration took over caused delays to the awarding of the deal.
At stake is the operations and maintenance of the 94-kilometer SCTEx, which earns more than P1 billion in revenue yearly, MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said.
It is being operated on an interim basis by Tollways Management Corp., a unit of MNTC controlling shareholder Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.
SCTEx’s annual traffic is estimated at 30.8 million for 2014, up from 9.3 million when it opened in 2008.
“In the interest of fair competition, the Office of the President has directed that MNTC’s offer be subject to a price challenge,” a portion of the BCDA invite read.
Franco said in an interview on Monday that MNTC was waiting for the final terms of reference.
“We just want to make sure the final terms are comparable,” Franco said, suggesting that problems might arise if the terms or certain conditions were not the same as the ones that applied to MNTC. “We hope to see that TOR before the transaction proceeds.”
Based on the BCDA’ invite, the TOR can be purchased beginning Dec. 11 for P500,000. A so-called pre-selection conference has been set for Jan. 6 next year.
BCDA president and CEO Arnel Casanova said in an interview last week that the agency planned to bid out and award the project within the first quarter of 2015.
BCDA said rival bidders should top MNTC’s latest upfront cash offer of P3.5 billion, which is inclusive of the 12 percent value added tax, to have a chance of winning the contract.
“The object of the price challenge is the upfront cash only, which should be higher than P3.5 billion, payable upon signing of the agreement,” part of the invite showed. MNTC has the right to challenge and top rival offers.
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