MNTC secures P5-B loan from PNB to expand NLEx
A unit of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is in talks to raise additional funds mainly to support the expansion of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).
A stock exchange filing on Wednesday showed Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) already secured a P5 billion, 10-year fixed rate term loan deal with Philippine National Bank. MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said there were talks with another lender to raise an additional P5 billion in the near term.
“We are replenishing funding for our projects,” Franco said in an interview Wednesday. He said the money will be used mainly for a P5-billion road widening project at the NLEx and a P7-billion extension of the same expressway to Radial Road 2.
The company is currently expanding NLEX via its segment 10 project. The development, costing P10.5 billion, will run from Valenzuela City all the way to C3 in Caloocan City by its expected completion date of 2017.
Franco said MNTC was taking a measured approach in terms of its borrowing schedule “because of uncertainties [in] regulatory approvals.”
“The way we would like to do this is we will draw down [ funding] as the projects are implemented,” Franco said.
MNTC is owned by Metro Pacific subsidiary Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), which is the largest toll road operator in the country, operating 60 percent of the country’s toll roads. Apart from the Manila Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) and NLEx, MPTC recently assumed control of the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) last October after a six-year delay.
The toll road group, which has pending toll hike petitions before the Toll Regulatory Board, remains a major earnings contributor for Metro Pacific, which is also involved in power generation and distribution, water services and hospital operations.
In the first nine months of 2015, MPTC posted a core net income of P2 billion, up 27 percent due to strong traffic growth and its increased shareholding in the NLEx.
Average daily entries rose 9 percent on the NLEx and 10 percent on the CAVITEx from a year earlier, it said.