Feb 042013

SINGAPORE – The tollway management unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is negotiating anew to take over the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

The latest proposal of Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) will allow the government to earn from a clearer revenue sharing system, company officials said.

“A third one (proposal) is in order because the government is not convinced that [the second] proposal is acceptable to them on terms that will not require a market challenge,” MPIC president and CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim said in a briefing.

“We are still tweaking the proposal,” said Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president Ramoncito S. Fernandez.

In July 2011, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) signed the SCTEx business and operating agreement with MNTC and holding firms MPTC and MPIC.

Under the deal, MNTC will operate and manage the 94-kilometer SCTEx for 33 years while relieving SCTEx builder BCDA of the heavy financial burden of paying the P34-billion debt to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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However, MPIC has yet to secure the final approval from President Aquino. The Department of Finance wants a rebidding of the contract given issues on the revenue sharing.

Lim said the new proposal is based on a revenue sharing and a guarantee system.

He said MNTC wants to “make it clearer to the government that in the course of taking over the debt service, we will be contributing a specified amount of equity that will be comparable to what the government has invested.”

“We will allow the government to start to earn returns from it to demonstrate that the proposal is equitable to both the government and the private sector.”

MPIC targets a seven-percent growth in SCTEx’s traffic volume from the average of 25,000 vehicles per day last year, Fernandez said.

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