Lopez Group to join Cebu airport bid

Lawrence Agcaoili, Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - April 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Lopez-controlled First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) has joined the growing list of companies bidding for the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu international airport project scheduled this year.

At the same time, FPHC said its profit nearly hit the P10-billion mark last year as it sold more shares in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

FPHC chief information officer Francis Giles Puno informed the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that the company is joining the bidding for the project to be conducted by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

“The participation of FPHC, through a consortium, in the pre-qualification and bidding for the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Mactan-Cebu international airport passenger terminal rehabilitation and expansion project,” Puno said.

The conglomerate has also secured P5 billion in fresh capital to pay debts and enter into new projects such as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

FPHC is a company managing businesses in energy, real estate, manufacturing, construction and energy services. Its subsidiaries and affiliates include First Gen Corp., Rockwell Land Corp., First Philippine Industrial Park, First Philippine Electric Corp., First Balfour Inc., ThermaPrime, and First Philippine Industrial Corp.

In a disclosure, FPHC said its net income surged to P9.6 billion last year from P2.1 billion in 2011.

“The increase in net income compared to 20122 is due to the gain of P6.1 billion in the sale of a portion of FPHC’s investment in Meralco,” the firm said.

It also benefited from the P2.1-billion gain given its investment in upscale property firm Rockwell Land Corp.

In a separate disclosure, FPHC said it implemented a loan agreement as it secured P5 billion from BDO Unibank Inc.

“The proceeds will be used partially to finance the prepayment of the borrower’s outstanding fixed rate notes due 2014 and 2014, and/or redeem the outstanding P4.3-billion Series B perpetual preferred shares,” FPHC said.

As of end-September last year, the holding firm had P78.275 in short- and long-term liabilities, of which P3.588 billion were long-term debts and P2.987 billion were bonds.

The loan, which was arranged by BDO Capital & Investment Corp., can also be used to bankroll other general corporate purposes, FPHC said.

The bidding for the airport project scheduled on April 22 has attracted other entities  that include  the tandem of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the Lucio Tan Group; infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and JG Summit Holdings Inc. of taipan John L. Gokongwei Jr.; and publicly-listed Megawide Construction Corp. and infrastructure giant GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India.

Premier Airport Group of retail magnate Henry Sy’s SM Investments Corp., Aboitiz Land Inc., Filinvest Development Corp. of taipan Andrew Gotianun, and Prime Power Holdings Corp. have likewise expressed interest in the project.

Aside from those that bought invitation documents, several companies including Seoul-based Samsung C&T Corp., Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), auditing firm SG&V Co., Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Changi Airports International, and French-owned Aeroport de Lyon have inquired about the project.

Based on a PPP Center briefing paper, the Mactan-Cebu airport project involves the construction of a world-class passenger terminal building with a capacity of eight million passengers a year.

The Mactan-Cebu international airport is situated in a 797-hectare property and has a single 3,300-meter runway complemented by a full-length taxiway.


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