* Project to replace existing Manila international airport
* Says to invite firms such as SM, Ayala to be partners
* Says ready to face competing bids
(Adds comments from company president, transportation
By Rosemarie Francisco and Erik dela Cruz
MANILA, May 15 San Miguel Corp, the
Philippines' most diversified conglomerate, has presented plans
to build a new $10 billion international airport in Manila and
is willing to take on partners for the project.
San Miguel President Ramon Ang said on Thursday the group
was willing to invite partners such as SM Investments Corp
and Ayala Corp, two of the country's biggest
conglomerates, to join the project. He also said San Miguel was
ready to face competing bids.
"Yes definitely," Ang told reporters when asked whether San
Miguel will get a partner. "We are not yet in talks with
anybody. I will invite Filipino partners. There are a number of
world class companies like Shoemart (SM), Ayala."
"There are many possible partners and we are open to
anybody," Ang said on the sidelines of a Philippine Airlines
event, a company also partly owned and operated by San
Ang said earlier on Thursday he had spoken to President
Benigno Aquino about the airport proposal, which includes
building four runways and an elevated toll road to connect the
airport to the Makati financial district, as well as reclaiming
more land. The new airport would be built on reclaimed land
along Manila Bay to replace the capital's ageing and congested
"You can be sure there will be no more traffic congestion
for the next 30 years," Ang said regarding the new airport.
There was no immediate reaction from SM and Ayala groups,
San Miguel's rivals in other big infrastructure projects
previously tendered by the government.
News of the project was reported earlier by the Philippine
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said his
department would request a more detailed presentation from San
Miguel on its proposal.
Abaya had said that any proposal for a new airport would be
subject to state scrutiny and the project open to competition.
"Unsolicited proposal isn't illegal or prohibited, but again the
bias is towards solicited, open, transparent bidding, which San
Miguel is open to."
Ang said: "I am okay with a public bidding, for everybody to
have an equal chance, equal opportunity to build this airport
using the same location, the same idea, the same study."
The project would be developed under a build-operate-transfer
scheme that may run for 15 years, he said.
San Miguel wants to build the new airport on reclaimed land
along Manila-Cavite Coastal Road, which is owned by CyberBay
Corp, a company partly owned by Ang and where he
previously sat as chairman.
CyberBay shares climbed as much as 12.8 percent on Thursday
following the report before closing 5.13 percent higher. San
Miguel fell as much as 1.8 percent but trimmed losses to close
0.4 percent lower.
The main index slid 0.45 percent.
Shares of CyberBay have risen more than 50 percent this
year, eclipsing the more than 16 percent rise in the broader
index. There has long been speculation that the company's
reclaimed property would be used by San Miguel for the project.
San Miguel said last year it aimed to build the new
international airport, which it said would replace Manila's
decades-old Ninoy Aquino International Airport, one of the
oldest in the region.
(Additional reporting by Siegfrid Alegado. Editing by Jane