SMC: ‘New Manila’ airport project advancing
MANILA -Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said land development activities for its P740-billion international airport complex north of Metro Manila would be completed by the end of 2025 as it maintains its target to begin commercial operations the following year.
New details on the timetable and financing of the massive airport project, dubbed the New Manila International Airport (NMIA), were included in SMC’s recent fund-raising proposal to sell up to P65 billion in preferred shares.
A portion of the fundraising could be used to bankroll the 2,500-hectare aerotropolis in Bulacan province, which is located at an “aerial distance” of 28.5 kilometers from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s ageing gateway in Manila.
The food, drinks and infrastructure conglomerate revealed the advanced stage of land development, which it aims to complete by the third quarter of 2025.
Billionaire Ramon S. Ang, president of SMC, said in a text message they still aim to begin commercial operations by 2026.
Meanwhile, overall progress at the airport project had passed the halfway mark at 68.92 percent as of June 30 this year, SMC said in the deal prospectus.
“The San Miguel team continues to work on the airport masterplan along with the critical components of the airport,” SMC said in the document.
It added that airport unit San Miguel Aerocity Inc. “is also working with various parties for the design, construction, and financing of other critical components of the airport.”
SMC said site clearance, land filling works, and ground improvement works stood at 98.3 percent, 66.59 percent and 66.54 percent, respectively.
The project will be partially funded by a $2.17-billion (P123 billion) loan facility that was signed in March 31, 2022. The loan is subject to a floating interest rate with a term of 13 years, the conglomerate said.
SMC has so far availed itself of $1.14 billion of the total amount. It initially drew $871 million by the end of 2022 and another $270 million on various dates from February to June this year.
SMC is raising the preferred shares to pay down debts and to support its airport ambitions. Of the proposed first batch of preferred shares worth up to P50 billion that would be sold in November, SMC could spend around P15.8 billion for the Bulacan airport or other air gateways.
SMC also indicated interest in the government’s P171 billion Naia rehabilitation project, which also involves the private sector taking over the gateway’s operations and maintenance for at least 15 years.
The government’s terms, however, have placed restrictions on firms like SMC, which is considered a GCR entity or a concessionaire that has “significant interest” in any of the Greater Capital Region airports such as NMIA, Clark International Airport and Sangley Point International Airport.
A GCR entity can bid if it joins a consortium but its ownership must be capped at 20 percent of the venture, the instructions to bidders showed. INQ
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