MNTC eyes Thailand highway project


Metro Pacific Group toll road unit Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) is considering a bid for a new expressway in Thailand, following an invitation to the private sector by the Thai government to build and operate the planned highway.

In a bulletin published in the Bangkok Post on Feb 23, the Expressway
Authority of Thailand (EXAT) said, “EXAT would like to invite private sectors to participate in giving suggestions and opinions on the Buraphavithi-Pattaya Expressway Project.”

Asked if the Metro Pacific Group is interested in having another toll road project in Thailand, MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said in a text message: “Yes, we will check the opportunity.”

On Nov 30 last year, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) announced it was planning to seek a bigger stake in a Thai toll road operator.

MPTC is planning to negotiate with Thailand’s Don Muang Tollway Public Co. Ltd., (DMT) for a possible increase of its stake in the first quarter of 2015.

The company said it wanted to raise its stake to about 50 percent from its current 29 percent.

In 2013 MPTC bagged a 29 percent minority stake in Don Muang, which has a 27-year concession until 2034 to operate a 21.9-kilometer elevated toll road that runs from central Bangkok to the northern part of the city.

The company said that the traffic volume right now is about 70,000 vehicles per day. It has very good potential because the government has now revived its intention to make the Don Muang Airport a budget airline hub.

On December 22, 2014 DMT secured toll rate increases of 17 percent and 20 percent, respectively on its original road and a northern extension.

Beyond Thailand, MPIC through MPTC further expanded its regional footprint last month with an equity investments and financing transaction with Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII). The investment of approximately P4 billion will result in MPTC holding a 45-percent minority equity interest in CII Bridges and Roads Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII B&R). The deal is due to be settled in March after completion of the closing conditions and deliveries.

Tollways subsidiary Metro Pacific Tollways Corp’s (MPTC) core net income reached P2.2 billion, 10 percent higher than a year ago on strong traffic growth and increased shareholding in the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).


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