Monday, 9 June 2008

North Luzon East Expressway builder raises paid-up capital

Roderick T. dela Cruz
Philippine Builder

THE company building a highway to Bulacan from Quezon City is raising its paid-up capital to P1.5 billion from P100 million to start the P13.6-billion toll road that comes with a power plant, and eventually is expected to reach Cagayan Valley, its top official said yesterday.

The first stage of the 56-kilometer, four-lane North Luzon East Expressway starts from Commonwealth Avenue and ends in Baliuag, and its builder is also putting up a power plant at La Mesa Dam that will generate up to 35 megawatts of electricity. “It will be the first self-sustaining infrastructure project of its kind,” said Ricardo Penson, president of Ausphil Tollway Corp.

Ausphil has tapped Macquarie Bank, Australia’s largest investment bank, as financial adviser, and has also signed a deal with Aspen International to supply toll equipment and road systems. Its engineering partners include Baseline Consultants, Integrated PhilConsult and Schema Technics.

Penson and Jean Claude Neumann, president and managing director of Epsys Inc., the Philippine subsidiary of Egis, signed a partnership agreement at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, yesterday.

Egis is the same company that partnered with First Philippine Holdings Corp. to operate the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

Penson said they expected to receive a notice of award for the North Luzon East Expressway by June. Ausphil would then start stage 1 of the project, an 18.9-km stretch of road from La Mesa Parkways to Bigte, Norzagaray that would cost P7.8 billion.

The second stage is the expansion of the 36-km, two-lane national road from Norzagaray to Baliuag to a four-lane expressway.

Penson said that once the road was completed by early 2011, travel time from Commonwealth to Baliaug would cost P80 and take just 35 minutes. He said they expected traffic to reach 89,000 vehicles daily.

Ausphil is also interested in building the third stage of the project, which would extend the highway to Cagayan Valley from Bulacan, and has submitted an unsolicited proposal to build the Dalton East Alignment in Nueva Vizcaya.

“I have never seen a project as unique as this one,” said Terry Brown, an Australian director of Ausphil.

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