5 foreign firms eyeing MNTC infra partnerships

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Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), a member of the Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Group, said five foreign companies are interested in possible partnerships with the company in its rail and road projects.

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MNTC is the toll arm of infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

Quoting Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory Domingo Rodrigo Franco, MNTC president and chief executive officer said many investors and infrastructure funds have inquired about investment opportunities in the country.

“We entertain them and talk to them,” Franco told reporters. “There are five who are interested and who talked to us,” he said in Filipino.

He said some investors expressed interest in the Philippines in general while some focused on infrastructure projects.

“If they are serious they come here and look at the potential,” he said.

“They will enter to the company after which they would also enter [Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation] MPTC, so they are interested in rail and road projects,” Franco said.

They have also been approached by some foreign companies that have funds allotted for infrastructure investments, Franco added.

When asked if these foreign companies may be their possible partner for the Cavite Laguna Expressway (Calax) public-private partnership project, Franco replied: “Not yet, we are still trying to figure out if it’s at the MPTC level or at the project level. We still have that option. It could be at the MPTC or it could be at Calax.”

The Calax project involves the construction, operation and maintenance of a four-lane, 47-kilometer toll expressway connecting the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) and the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX). MNTC bagged the Calax contract recently after besting the bid of its only rival for the project, San Miguel Holdings Corp.

“Even before, there were some who had already expressed interest. Previously, there are foreign funds and Japanese investors, but this was before the Calax bidding, so we just have to renew the discussion. We have to prepare new sets of information,” Franco said.

“The more important thing is the MPTC is there. We can only sell minority [interest], of course, we cannot sell majority,” Franco added.

Investment road show
In June, the Philippine government held an investment road show in the United States to encourage more American companies to invest in the Philippines. Various government agency heads attended the road shows in Washington on June 24, New York on June 25 to 26, and in San Francisco on June 29.

The road shows touted various infrastructure projects, particularly the PPP projects of the Aquino Administration. The Philippines now has over 40 PPP projects in the pipeline worth a total of $18.07 billion.

Twelve projects are currently under procurement. These include five airport project; a water source and dam project in Rizal; regional prison facilities; a public transport terminal in Taguig City; a bulk water supply project in Bulacan; and the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project.

The Philippine government has already awarded 10 PPP contracts to the private sector with a total cost of $4.20 billion.

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