STATE-RUN Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is considering offering a 220-hectare property in Limay, Bataan to other interested investors if the group of Gregorio “Greggy” Ma. Araneta III fails to make a better offer for the property.
“The 2016 Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) expired but he wrote us another letter again. We invited him if he is still interested to offer us a better offer because his previous offer was not acceptable,” PNOC president Reuben Lista said in an interview last week.
“It was not approved by the board then, so it expired already in 2016. After he wrote us, we invited him for a dialogue so that he can present a better offer,” he said.
Graciela M. Barleta, PNOC senior vice-president for legal, administration and estate management services, said that PNOC had just sent out a letter last Monday to ask if the Araneta group would propose a better deal.
Based on the MoA signed by PNOC and Araneta-led Energy Oil and Gas Holdings Inc. the PNOC property in Limay, Bataan is envisioned to be an “Energy City.”
“It’s like a total value chain that was offered before so that we are opening doors for them to give us a new and better offer this time. The project might change. It depends on them,” she said.
“What he [Araneta] wanted before was 90 hectares which we could not give because what will happen to the 130 hectares that are not as good? We’ll lose value,” Lista said.
“We made a mistake before when we sold a property close to the pier area. It was the good part that was sold. If you are a businessman, you wouldn’t sell that,” he added.
PNOC is now trying to develop the right side of the property Lamo pier, Lista said. “If you develop that, then the use of the whole complex will be better.”
Lista said it is not just the Araneta group that is interested in the property because other companies have also expressed interest.
“When they found out that the MoA had expired in 2016, there are others who already showed interest. But we have to hand it to them first because by law, they have first shot,” he said.
“If they can’t improve their offer, that’s the only time we entertain others,” he added.
“We did not placed a deadline in the letter but we expect them to reply at the soonest time,” Barleta said.
But Lista added, “If they don’t respond immediately, then we have to entertain the rest. If government is required 15 days to respond, then we expect the same from private companies and even less, probably. If you are talking of urgency and need and interest, I think there is no need to put a deadline.”