* Group offers premium of $326 mln on top of development
* Six others, including country's top conglomerates,
(Adds quotes from top bidder; background on GMR-Megawide,
By Erik dela Cruz
MANILA, Dec 12 India's GMR Infrastructure Ltd
and contractor Megawide Construction Corp
are the likely winners of a $400 million airport terminal
tender, the biggest so far under the Philippines' public-private
The consortium beat six others including the country's top
conglomerates at an auction on Thursday, offering a premium of
14.4 billion pesos ($326 million) for the 25-year concession to
operate central Philippines' Mactan-Cebu International Airport -
the country's second-biggest - and build one of its terminals.
The project is a test of the government's resolve to boost
economic growth through public-private partnerships (PPP) in
infrastructure, following delays in previous high-profile
tenders that have raised doubts about the scheme's
The Megawide-led offer was about 400 million pesos above the
second-place bid from a group led by property-to-banking firm
Filinvest Development Corp and Changi Airports Saudi
Ltd. The winning bidder will likely be announced in early
Megawide, with a market cap of $428 million, has won three
out of five contracts -- valued at around 26 billion pesos --
tendered by the government under the three-year-old PPP scheme.
It bested bigger rivals that included the country's most
valuable conglomerate, SM Investments Corp, and most
diversified, San Miguel Corp. SM teamed up with
Flughafen Zurich AG while San Miguel partnered with
Incheon International Airport Corporation.
Other bidders 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
Megawide and GMR aim to build an airport terminal that can
accommodate 25 million passengers a year, more than three times
the government requirement, Oliver Tan, chief finance officer at
Megawide, told reporters.
But he said the plan would depend on developments in the
tourism industry and the security situation, with Manila
battling Muslim rebels in the south and a communist insurgency.
The group's bid reflects its "expectations in terms of the
internal rate of return" of the project, Tan said, adding GMR
would take a 40 percent stake in the joint venture.
GMR operates and maintains three airports in New Delhi and
Hyderabad in India, and in Istanbul.
Megawide shares climbed as much as 5 percent in afternoon
trade after the airport bids were announced, but later erased
its gains to settle flat. The broader market was down 2
Delays in the bidding process for high-profile PPP projects
have clouded prospects of an infrastructure boost to sustain
Philippine economic growth at 7 percent or higher.
But Manila is now moving to expedite the process, opening
bids for two projects this week.
On Monday, officials said a consortium of conglomerates
Ayala Corp and Metro Pacific Corp gave the best
bid for a 1.72 billion peso contract to operate a smart-card
system for the elevated rail network in Manila.
The Mactan airport connects tourist spots in the central
Philippines with direct flights from Asian cities such as Hong
Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.
The existing terminal was designed with a 4.5 million
passenger capacity, but 6.2 million passengers passed through in
($1 = 44.1250 Philippine pesos)
(Writing by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates)