Tuesday, 10 August 2010

SMC group, Korean firm ink deal for P177-M Clark project

Companies
Written by Miguel R. Camus
Business Mirror
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28731:smc-group-korean-firm-ink-deal-for-p177-m-clark-project&catid=24:companies&Itemid=59

THE consortium backed by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that plans to redevelop the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) has partnered with an international airport management firm for the $177-million project within Clark Freeport Zone.

The BusinessMirror learned that the Philco Aero Group has tapped Korea Airports Corp. (KAC), which handles the operations and management of 14 airports in South Korea, for the Pampanga project.

As part of the agreement, Philco Aero chief executive Ricardo Penson said KAC will acquire a 5-percent stake in the Filipino-owned consortium which also includes partners Posco Engineering and Construction Co., Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers and Korea Development Bank.

Penson said the agreement was structured in such a way that a Filipino team can assume management of the airport “with international standards” after five years.

“We have concluded talks with Korea Airports Corp. who will be our O&M [operations and management] partner. We will be signing the share purchase agreement this coming week,” Penson told the BusinessMirror.

To be concluded also is the systems integration deal with South Korean telecommunications giant Korea Telecom, Penson said.

Philco Aero is still in the middle of negotiations with state-run Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) for the development of a second terminal within the complex. CIAC oversees the airport which now being positioned as the country’s next international gateway.

CIAC in May went into detailed negotiations with the Philco Aero Group which, it said, submitted the “superior offer” for the project, besting Malaysian consortium Bristeel Overseas Ventures Inc.

Should Philco Aero and CIAC end in favorable terms, negotiations will be followed by the signing of the terms of reference after which a “competitive challenge will held before a contract is awarded.

Penson also lamented alleged efforts by Bristeel to discredit the Philco Aero Group, citing published reports.

“The CIAC board is aware that Bristeel cannot comply because they insist on being a 100-percent Malaysian company,” he said. “Why will Filipinos allow a Malaysian to operate our next airport when Filipino companies [can] do it themselves?”

“We are not a fly-by-night corporation. We have San Miguel as a partner,” Penson emphasized. Bristeel and CIAC officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Diversifying conglomerate SMC, which recently acquired a majority interest in Caticlan Airport near Boracay Island, is taking a majority position in Philco Aero, Penson said.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., an infrastructure conglomerate led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, has also expressed its interest to team up with SMC for Clark.

Penson said the original investment of $126 million has been upgraded to $177 million as talks now include the upgrading of Terminal 1 and additional equipment.

The Philco Aero proposal will allow DMIA, which handled 750,000 passengers last year, to gradually increase its passenger capacity to 3 million initially, then 5 million and 7 million over a five-year period.

The Clark civil aviation complex encompasses 2,367 hectares within the 4,400-hectare Clark Freeport Zone.

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