MANILA, April 5 Reuters) - The Philippines said on Saturday
it had awarded the $390-million deal to renovate, expand and
operate the Mactan-Cebu international airport to India's GMR
Infrastructure Ltd and local partner Megawide
GMR and Megawide submitted the best bid for the biggest
infrastructure deal offered to investors so far under the
government's Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme, the
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.
It took the DOTC more than three months to award the project
after one of the six other bidders, Philippine conglomerate
Filinvest Development Corp, raised a
conflict-of-interest issue against the GMR-Megawide group.
The group offered a premium of 14.4 billion pesos ($320
million) at a tender in December to win the 25-year concession,
which entails renovating the passenger terminal building,
building a new one to service international flights and
operating the airport, the nation's second-biggest gateway.
GMR operates and maintains three airports in New Delhi and
Hyderabad in India, and in Istanbul. Megawide is a Philippine
construction firm that has won three out of five PPP contracts
-- valued at around 26 billion pesos -- tendered by the
government in the last three years.
"Amidst all the noise drummed up in different forums the
past few months, the DOTC has allowed nothing but the law and
the country's interests to matter in awarding the project," DOTC
spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said.
"This project should have been done at least a decade ago,
so there is no more time to waste. We have resolved all issues,
we are ready to defend our decision."
The DOTC has given the GMR-Megawide group 20 days to
complete the post-award requirements, such as the submission of
an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of 180 million
pesos, and the payment of the premium amount to government.
Once the requirements are satisfied, the concession
agreement will be signed by the parties, allowing for the
project's implementation over three to four years, Sagcal said.
The project is a test of the government's resolve to boost
growth through PPPs in infrastructure, following delays in
high-profile tenders that raised doubts about the scheme.
The GMR-Megawide bid was about 400 million pesos above the
second-place offer from the group of Filinvest, which had Changi
Airports Saudi Ltd as partner.
The group also bested bigger rivals that included the
Philippines' largest conglomerates, such as SM Investments Corp
and San Miguel Corp. SM teamed up with
Flughafen Zurich AG while San Miguel partnered with
Incheon International Airport Corp.
Other bidders for the project were the consortium of Metro
Pacific Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Corp
with partner Aeroports de Lyon; First Philippine
Holdings Corp and Wellington International Airport
Limited; and Ayala Corp, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc
and Houston Airport System.
The group aims to build a terminal that can accommodate 25
million passengers a year, more than three times the government
requirement, Oliver Tan, chief finance officer at Megawide, said
in December after his group emerged as the winning bidder.
The existing terminal was designed with a capacity of 4.5
million, but 6.2 million passengers passed through in 2011.
The Mactan airport connects tourist spots in the central
Philippines with direct flights from Asian cities such as Hong
Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.
(Reporting by Erik dela Cruz and Siegfrid Alegado; Editing by