SCTEx operator open to bid vs pension funds

SCTEx operator open to bid vs pension funds


MANILA, Philippines  — Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is open to competing with a state-run pension if they proceeded with prospective investments in the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) as the Pangilinan-led operator has already lodged a proposal to acquire the government’s 50-percent interest in the country’s longest tollway.

Rogelio Singson, president and CEO of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) unit, told reporters in Taguig on Monday they were willing to provide a counter-offer if ever the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Social Security System (SSS) pursued their respective interest in SCTEx.

“I’ll have to look at the number. It has to make sense to us,” Singson said.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto recently suggested selling government shares in SCTEx to the GSIS and SSS to raise additional revenues for the government coffers.

READ: Gov’t ready to sell 50% SCTEx stake to MPTC for at least P20B

Currently, the government—through the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)—and MPTC have a 50:50 revenue sharing from the tollway operations.

Still, Singson said they were willing to forego their planned acquisition if the pension funds were keen on buying the stake.

Sale of SCTex share for more than P20B

“That’s fine,” he said, as long as the operations and management are with the company. However, he noted that acquiring the remaining government share would have consolidated MPTIC’s control over the expressway.

BCDA recently said it was open to selling its SCTEx share for more than P20 billion—an amount that will enable the government-owned and -controlled corporation to extinguish debts while booking a windfall.

READ: Biz Buzz: Bidding war for SCTEx?

Joshua Bingcang, BCDA president and CEO, said the P20-billion baseline of the offer represented the balance of the loan that the government had obtained from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the construction of the infrastructure.

Bingcang said the proceeds from the sale would ensure that the government has enough in its coffers to pay off the debts.

But he stressed that the additional amount would sweeten MPTC’s offer given that the BCDA was receiving a P1-billion profit share annually from SCTEx operations. The BCDA official hinted that such a share in revenues was poised to grow given that traffic volume projection was also on the rise.

Apart from SCTEx, MPTC also operates North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), NLEx Connector, Cavite-Laguna Expressway and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. INQ