RSA, MVP vie for 45.5-km Calax project
Business rivals Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. and Manuel V. Pangilinan of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) are going head to head in the bidding for the 45.5-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax), which is now on its second round after last year’s failed auction.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said during the bid submissions Tuesday afternoon that San Miguel Holdings Corp. and Metro Pacific unit MPCALA Holdings Inc. submitted their prequalification documents as well as technical and financial proposals.
A clearer picture on who will bag the Calax project, which requires P35.4 billion to build apart from a minimum bid price of P20.1 billion, would not emerge until financial proposals are opened on May 26, Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Rafael Yabut said.
The DPWH is hoping to award the Calax project, which the winner will complete in two years and operate over a 35-year concession period, by July 7 this year. Two other companies that bought bid documents, consultancy firm Reyes Tacandong & Co. and Gatmaitan law firm, did not submit any offer.
San Miguel and Metro Pacific were among the four original bidders during the failed auction in 2014. The two other bidders that participated then, an Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Group-led consortium and Malaysia’s MTD Group, did not join the second bidding.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said he was not disappointed with the outcome on Tuesday. “We are happy we have two [bidders], we thought we would only have one,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, it will be the government that will benefit.”
The Calax project drew controversy in June last year when San Miguel was disqualified ahead of the opening of financial offers over a typographical error in its bid security. That disqualification was eventually reversed by Malacañang, which also ordered this year’s rebid, after San Miguel sought its intervention.
The P20.1-billion floor price was included to match San Miguel’s offer last year, which turned out to be the highest.
The Ayala-Aboitiz tandem, which emerged as the frontrunner after SMC’s disqualification, offered P11.66 billion. The significant difference between their offer and that of SMC was one reason President Aquino had cited in deciding to order a rebid.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.