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Aboitiz firm still keen on airport operations

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., led by the Cebu-based Aboitiz clan, is reviving its interest in operating airports in the Philippines as it joined the list of potential bidders for a government auction for provincial airport contracts.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said the Aboitiz-led company was among the five groups that had so far acquired bid documents for an ongoing auction for operations, maintenance and expansion of the Bacolod-Silay, Iloilo, Davao, Laguindingan and New Bohol air gateways. The project is being pursued under the government’s public-private partnership program.

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Four other groups that acquired bid documents were San Miguel Corp., the tandem of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings, Megawide Construction Corp. and India’s GMR Infrastructure, and air cargo warehousing firm Philippine Skylanders, Canilao said.

Aboitiz teamed up with conglomerate Ayala Corp. in the auction for the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport, which drew strong interest from Philippine conglomerates and international airport operators. That deal was won by Megawide and GMR in 2014.

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Absent from the auction for provincial airport deals is Ayala, which had signaled that it was not keen on participating, citing “scalability” issues when it comes to smaller-volume airport deals.

The Department of Transportation and Communications is seeking private sector support to upgrade and operate the five air gateways, which have been selected for their growing tourism and business prospects.

Some of the deals would also require significant capital spending, the DOTC noted.

In its instructions to bidders, the DOTC included a revised timeline, with the submission of pre-qualification documents set for May 18 this year.

It has yet to specify a bid submission date. However, the ITB showed that the project was expected to be awarded by March 2016, a few months before President Aquino’s term ends by the middle of that year.

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TAGS: aboitiz, Aboitiz clan, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Cosette Canilao, PPP Center, provincial airports
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