San Miguel Corp. (SMC) could end up operating and maintaining the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after government talks with a super consortium of conglomerates failed and Megawide Construction Corp. lost its advantage. Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said on Thursday that SMC also wants the project.
“There are two more: Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. and… San Miguel Corporation,” MIAA General Manager Eddie V. Monreal said at a Senate hearing on Thursday afternoon, when asked by Senator Nancy S. Binay who the third and fourth proponents are after the tandem of Megawide Construction Corp. and India-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. (Megawide-GMR), whose original proponent status (OPS) has been revoked.
When asked if there were efforts already to talk to the third proponent, Mr. Monreal said: “Sa ngayon, wala pa po (For now, none yet).”
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade also said the Megawide-GMR tandem could still appeal for reconsideration, while MIAA implements its own rehabilitation and reconstruction program.
“Kung gusto nila mag-apila sa desisyon, sa aking pananaw, pwede pa silang mag-apila, habang ginagawa ng MIAA ang kanilang reconstruction and rehabilitation program,” Mr. Tugade said. (If they want to appeal the decision, in my view, they can still make an appeal while the MIAA is doing its reconstruction and rehabilitation program.)
SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang told BusinessWorld that the company was only interested in operating and maintaining (O&M) the NAIA. SMC is also building an airport in Bulacan.
The Philippine Star first reported that SMC had submitted an O&M proposal for NAIA.
Sought for comment, Terry L. Ridon, convenor of infrastructure-oriented think tank Infrawatch PH, said in a phone message: “This development gives rise to a clear suspicion of collusion for the irregular revocation of the second private proponent’s original proponent status: that the OPS revocation was made to accommodate another private proponent to rehabilitate NAIA.”
“Nonetheless, the SMC proposal should be scrutinized not only on financial and technical competency, but also on concerns of anti-competition, given that it has already been awarded the right to build its airport in Bulacan,” he added.
Ridon also said that managing two airports within the Greater Capital Region “may give rise to higher terminal and airport fees for passengers, airlines and service providers.”
“Furthermore, strict scrutiny should be undertaken on SMC’s debt-equity ratio, given that it will already undertake high financial leverage to fund the development of its Bulacan airport costing at least P735 billion,” Mr. Ridon said.
San Miguel makes a bid for NAIA
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