Tan firms’ support sought for Sangley airport plan
Aviation services firm MacroAsia Corp. hopes the rest of taipan Lucio Tan’s business empire will pitch in as it pursues its largest investment yet through the P550-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA).
MacroAsia will seek the support of affiliates such as Tan’s LT Group, a tobacco, liquor, banking and property conglomerate and Philippine Airlines for the SPIA project, company president and chief operating officer Joseph Chua said.
“The capex (capital spending) is quite big,” Chua told reporters in a recent interview.
The consortium of MacroAsia and China Communications Construction Company Ltd. was, on Feb. 14, formally named the joint venture partner of the Province of Cavite to implement the first phase of the ambitious airport project, worth about P208.5 billion.
MacroAsia, which provides ground handling, inflight catering and aircraft maintenance services, owns 40 percent of the consortium, suggesting an investment size of P83.4 billion.
“MacroAsia is part of a larger group so if our partners agree and the province agrees, we may bring in other parts of our group,” Chua said.
“It’s up to my boss and other shareholders,” Chua said, referring to his father-in-law, Lucio Tan.
He said MacroAsia would also raise funds on its own but with preference for bank borrowings and bonds over the sale of shares.
“If we have the ability to raise funds via leverage, why not? Interest rates are low,” Chua explained. “We don’t want to issue more share because it’s dilutive.”
He added that PAL would also use the SPIA as a new hub, confirming plans earlier revealed by Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.
MacroAsia, which is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, had a public ownership level of 25.7 percent and a market value of P16 billion as of Friday.
The first phase of the SPIA involves the construction of one runway and a terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers per year in Sangley Point, where the existing Major Danilo Atienza Air Base is located.
This is expected to be fully operational by 2023, based on the Cavite government’s original timeline. Chua said they planned to participate in succeeding phases, which would see the SPIA expand to a four-runway airport with an annual capacity of 130 million passengers.
The SPIA will require the reclamation of 1,500 hectares of land on Manila Bay.
The joint venture partner will develop the airport and lease the land from the Cavite government for 25 years with the option to renew for another 25 years. INQ
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