San Miguel seals P100-billion loan deal for MRT 7 project
MANILA, Philippines — Billionaire Ramon Ang-led San Miguel Corp. (SMC) secured a P100-billion loan deal to finance the completion of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 that aims to link Metro Manila to Bulacan province by 2025.
The food, beverage, and infrastructure closed the syndicated loan agreement with a consortium of local banks and state-pension fund Governance Services Insurance System for the roughly $1.6 billion (P88 billion) project.
“The support we are getting from major Philippine banks shows that they recognize how important this project is to many Filipinos, and appreciate our overall vision of a Philippines made more progressive, resilient, and competitive, through investments in major projects such as efficient mass transport systems,” Ang said in a statement.
The consortium banks were BDO Unibank, Philippine National Bank, Bank of Commerce, and Security Bank. The deal was arranged by their respective investment banking arms.
The MRT 7 is a 22-kilometer elevated railway line that will cut travel time from North Avenue, Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to an estimated 35 minutes from the current two to three hours.
SMC said the project had reached a completion rate of almost 62 percent as of June 14 this year.
The commuter rail line will have 14 stations: Quezon North Avenue Joint Station; Quezon Memorial Circle; University Avenue; Tandang Sora; Don Antonio; Batasan; Manggahan; Doña Carmen; Regalado; Mindanao Avenue; Quirino; Sacred Heart; Tala; and San Jose del Monte.
“MRT 7 will generate countless jobs, boost local economies and create more opportunities for so many Filipinos. We are grateful to our lenders as this facility will allow us to remain on track to meeting our target to start operations in 2025 bringing us closer to a future where Filipinos can reap the benefits of enhanced mobility and accessibility,” Ang said.
SMC added the train system can accommodate 300,000 passengers during its first year of operations. This will go up to 850,000 passengers per day in its 12th year.
The project will feature an intermodal transportation hub catering to other types of public transportation.
It will also have a 19-km highway from San Jose del Monte to Bocaue, Bulacan, the conglomerate said.
“SMC’s investments in various infrastructure projects boost the economy as these initiatives facilitate improved connectivity between regions and communities, positively impacting trade, tourism, and overall social integration,” said Eduardo Francisco, president of BDO Capital & Investment Corp., one of the deal arrangers.
“Massive infrastructure projects such as the San Miguel Group’s investment in the MRT 7 play a crucial role in building the nation,” said Bank of Commerce president and CEO Michelangelo Aguilar.
“As SMC Infrastructure continues to strengthen its portfolio and operate the largest infrastructure network in the country, the lives of thousands of Filipinos are made better through safe, sustainable, and accessible transport systems,” he added.