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Biz Buzz: Missed Apec deadline?

/ 07:27 AM July 10, 2015

It was to be a showcase project of the Aquino administration that would be completed in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit later this year.

But word on the street is that the P15.8-billion Naia Expressway project that is meant to link the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Pagcor Entertainment City and the South Luzon Expressway via an elevated tollroad will almost certainly miss the revised rollout deadline of November 2015.

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A cursory inspection of the worksite around Naia showed that construction activity by its builders have slowed to a crawl, but it’s not because of any shortcomings on the part of the project’s builder, San Miguel Corp., or its contractors.

Instead, Biz Buzz learned that the Department of Public Works and Highways has failed to turn over several parcels of real estate to the builders because the government has yet to secure right-of-way contracts from both private and public entities currently occupying sections of the 7.1-kilometer NaiaEx route.

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These include properties currently occupied by facilities of the Light Rail transit Authority, Meralco and even Villamor Air Base, we’re told.

“The contractors can’t continue building because they don’t have anywhere to build on,” said one official familiar with the situation.

Incidentally, NaiaEx’s right-of-way issues echo similar problems faced by Ayala Corp. in trying to complete the 4-kilometer Daang Hari-SLEx link road, which was the first public-private partnership (PPP) deal awarded under the Aquino administration in 2012. And there’s still no word on when those issues will be resolved.

A similar issue also faces the GMR-Megawide consortium, which expects long delays in building a new Mactan-Cebu International Airport passenger terminal because the government has yet to clear out the Philippine Air Force from the site on which the new building will rise.

And one would think that right-of-way issues would be the first issue the government would take care of before awarding a project. Apparently not.

As for NaiaEx, the heads of state from Apec nations may just have to motor from the airport to Makati under those unfinished and unsightly scaffoldings.–Daxim L. Lucas

Clawback

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Following an aborted deal to buy into broadcasting firm GMA-7, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang (a.k.a. RSA) is confident that he can recover the P1-billion downpayment long shelled out as earnest money to get into the “Kapuso” network.

At the sidelines of the stockholders’ meeting of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, RSA said his lawyer had already sent a letter demanding the return of his downpayment.

Toning down the rhetoric on this matter, RSA said: “Maayos naman sila kausap, meron lang misunderstanding.”

However, he declined to say whether there was still any hope of restarting discussions. Note that the GMA-7 shareholders have had on-and-off discussions not just with RSA but with the frenemy as well.

Meanwhile, the SMC chief isn’t giving up on the quest to enter the telecom sector.

“We hope to do this soon. We need a third player so the two (existing players) will be prompted to invest (to improve their systems),” he said.–Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Payanig property problem

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) may have thought it pulled off a coup when it announced the bidding for the 18.5-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property, but it looks like the two other competing claimants won’t take the agency’s move sitting down.

Recently, Ortigas & Co. (OCLP)—which claims that the prime piece of real estate was forcibly wrestled from the Ortigas family by the Marcos regime—recently filed with the Sandiganbayan a petition to put the planned auction of the property on hold.

In its motion, OCLP told the court that the PCGG must first secure the approval of the Sandiganbayan before any such sale because of an earlier Supreme Court ruling requiring the PCGG to seek the Sandiganbayan’s approval before it disposes of any assets under its control.

OCLP’s motion is urgent, of course, since PCGG had planned to open bids for the property on July 14.

“Since the PCGG did not secure the Sandiganbayan’s prior approval before announcing and undertaking steps to effect the sale of the Payanig properties, then the sale must be held in abeyance,” OCLP said.

During the hearing on the motion last week, the court asked PCGG and OCLP to submit their written positions on the issue, after which the issue would be decided by the Sandiganbayan. So will the opening of bids push through? Abangan.–Daxim L. Lucas

Garbage to gold

Since opening its high-tech Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility in Pasig City, triple-A contractor IPM Construction and Development Corp. (IPM) has been deluged with requests for site visits from the academe and potential investors.

With more than 27 years of experience in waste management, IPM is one of the country’s biggest garbage contractors.

It recently inaugurated what was touted as the Philippines’ biggest RDF facility capable of processing 600 tons of trash a day—equivalent to an entire day’s garbage collection in Pasig City. Once processed, trash with high thermal value are plastic-wrapped into giant pellets and delivered to cement plants to fuel their massive kilns.

Investors who see a golden opportunity transforming trash to more productive uses have reportedly expressed keen interest in meeting IPM’s lady boss.

The RDF facility is majority owned by Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies Inc. (BEST)—a subsidiary of listed Minerales Industrias Corp. (MIC)—and France-based Lafarge Industrial Ecology International.

Last week, MIC’s board of directors finally approved the change in company name to IPM Holdings Inc. to more accurately reflect the firm’s ownership structure, subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

With a growing population, the advent of climate change and increasing environmental consciousness, IPM’s move was also seen as a major step toward opening the publicly listed company to strategic partners who believe that, indeed, there’s money in trash.–Daxim L. Lucas

SM enters transportation scene

It’s had some unsuccessful attempts breaking into the transportation business via the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership program, but Henry Sy’s SM Group scored a victory recently, announcing a tie-up with a big Luzon bus operator to serve Cebu City and nearby areas.

Biz Buzz learned that Hans Sy-led SM Prime Holdings has sealed a partnership with the popular JAM Liner bus company, which currently serves Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. JAM Liner is led by its president, Dennise Trajano.

The two groups are forming a joint-venture company, known as Metro Rapid Transit Service Inc., which will provide a “high-quality public transport system” for Cebuanos starting 2015.

The company will serve key routes from Talisay and Lapu Lapu City, where the Mactan Cebu International Airport is located, as well as certain stops where SM has malls. This includes the South Road Properties, where SM Prime is building the massive SM Seaside City, which is scheduled to open later this year.

Some key SM officials are also  coming on board Metro Rapid Transit’s management—which is another way of saying more work for them.
Joining the venture is SM Prime’s chief financial officer Jeffrey Lim as well as the well-connected Marissa Fernan, who wears multiple hats within the organization apart from serving as SM Prime vice president for Visayas and Mindanao.

As some readers might have noticed, the partnership also serves as JAM Liner’s first expansion move to Cebu.

We heard there were attempts by SM to partner with Cebu-based bus operators but, unfortunately, none approached the scale that SM needed.

Since scale is the requirement, it was a good idea then to come seek a partner from Metro Manila. Any ordinary drive along our main highway Edsa and you’ll know what we’re talking about.–Miguel R. Camus

E-mail us at [email protected] Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: APEC, delay, Energy, garbage, GMA 7, Infrastructure, IPM Construction, NaiaEx, Pasig, Payanig sa Pasig, property, Ramon Ang, RDF facility, Refuse Derived Fuel
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