Sunday, 2 May 2010

MetroPac eyes road funding

by Jenniffer B. Austria
Manila Standard
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideBusiness.htm?f=2010/may/1/business1.isx&d=2010/may/1

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., a unit of conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp., plans to raise $200 million to fund its capital spending this year.

Metro Pacific Tollways president Ramoncito Fernandez said the company was considering various fund raising options, including a possible bond sale, an increase in the public float, equity infusion from the parent company, or a combination of the three.

Fernandez said the company had tapped Evercore Partners as financial adviser to help with the valuation of the company. The company hopes to raise the needed funds within the year.

Metro Pacific Tollways earlier lined up P38.1 billion worth of tollways projects over the next five years in a bid to improve overall road network in the country.

They include the the 2.7-kilometer, four-lane stretch from Mindanao Avenue to North Luzon Expressway in Valenzuela costing around P2.1 billion. The project, which is being funded through a loan from Philippine National Bank, is expected to be operational by the end of May this year.

Metro Pacific will invest P10 billion for a four-lane, three-kilometer expressway connecting NLEX to MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela and and a road extending NLEX to port area via a four-lane, five-kilometer elevated road from MacArthur Highway to R-10.

Metro Pacific Tollways is also building a 13-kilometer elevated four-lane expressway connecting NLEX to South Luzon Expressway and Skyway from C-3 in Caloocan City to Buendia Avenue in Makati. The company is constructing eight percent of the road over an existing rail track. The project is expected to reduce travel time from NLEX to SLEX to only 15 to 20 minutes. Estimated project cost is P16 billion.

The tollways company is in talks with Citra Marga of Indonesia for a possible investment in the P10-billion Skyway Stage 2 project, which will extend the Skyway from Bicutan to Alabang in Muntinlupa City.

Core net profit of Metro Pacific Tollway in 2009 grew 24 percent to P1.22 billion from P987 million in 2008 due to higher traffic volume along NLEX.

Average vehicle entries reached 150,395 a day in 2009, up six percent from a year ago.

Metro Pacific Tollways holds a 67.1 percent interest in Manila North Tollways Corp., which owns the concession to operate and maintain NLEX.

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