Saturday, 1 May 2010

Metro Pacific wants to link two expressways


Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has submitted an unsolicited proposal for the final link of a project connecting the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways (NLEx and SLEx).

Speaking at the launch of the groundbreaking of an NLEx segement, MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters that Metro Pacific Tollway Corp. (MPTC) was offering to spend P17 billion to build the extension to Buendia.

"The project cost is around P17 billion for this road. This will have some elevated roads and a bridge over [the[ Pasig and we estimate that the right of way would cost the government P2.41 billion," Mr. Pangilinan said.

The connector road is expected to decongest Metro Manila by providing an alternative to the main C-5 and EDSA highways, plus other major thoroughfares, with travel time savings of approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

MPTC’s proposal involves a start at the C-3 interchange and ending at the Buendia ramps going into the SLEx.

Mr. Pangilinan said MPTC would also be constructing the segments connecting the Manila North Harbor to the expressways.

"We’re also doing segments nine and 10. This is mostly an elevated expressway and will connect the North Harbor via C-3 which will cost about P6.8 billion to P7 billion," he said.

The full project, said Mr. Pangilinan, would cost some P23 billion and could be funded via internal equity or assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Representatives of MPTC sister firm Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) and the government staged a final inspection of the Mindanao exit of the NLEx extension on Friday. The road is scheduled to be opened to the general public next month.

In another development, MNTC president Ramoncito S. Fernandez said a planned dilution of shares was still be up in the air.

"We are coordinating with our mother company Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and looking at how a possible refloat will affect it. It’s still one option but we are being asked to evaluate if we are going to float, offering public or private funds or equity," Mr. Fernandez said.

He said MPIC needed to raise $200 million for projects and that Evercore Wealth Management had been tapped as a financial adviser.

MNTC is also awaiting formal notice from the Bases Conversion Development Authority regarding a negotiated bid for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

Mr. Pangilinan is also chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). Mediaquest Holdings, Inc., owned by the Beneficial Trust Fund of PLDT, has a minority stake in BusinessWorld.

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