Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Metro Pacific readies Philippine expressway projects

Jeremiah F. de Guzman
Business World

METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. is pushing through with a P36-billion, five-year plan to build roads to make the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) more accessible to motorists and eventually connect it to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).

The infrastructure subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. identified P28 billion worth of projects, starting with P2.1 billion for a road that will connect the NLEx to Mindanao Ave. in Quezon City, known as NLEx Segment 8.1.

Ramoncito S. Fernandez, president and chief executive officer of Metro Pacific Tollways, said funding for the road construction was raised through a loan from the Philippine National Bank, around P500 million of which has already been drawn.

The NLEx Segment 8.1 project, which is a two-lane, 2.7-kilometer expressway, started construction last April and will be completed by April of next year, company executives had said.

Mr. Fernandez also said a road project that would connect the NLEx to Manila’s port area was in the pipeline, with a budget of around P10 billion.

A road will be constructed to connect the NLEx to the C3 train station, which is operated and owned by state-led Philippine National Railways (PNR). Another road will be built up to the port area.

Around P16 billion has also been allotted for the construction of an elevated tollway over PNR’s right of way between its C3 and Buendia stations.

Mr. Fernandez said the construction of the "skyway" connecting the NLEx to SLEx would take two to three years, while the tollway connecting the NLEx to the port area is a five-year program.

Funding for the projects will be raised from overseas development assistance or private funds, he said.

Mr. Fernandez declined to disclose other components of the P36-billion plan.

Mr. Fernandez described the first-half financial performance of Metro Pacific Tollways as good.

"We are doing well in both revenues and profits," he said.

Metro Pacific Tollways, formerly First Philippine Infrastructure, Inc., reported a net income of P312 million in the first quarter with P309 million attributable to parent company Metro Pacific Investments.

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