Last December, Megawide and its Indian partner, GMR Infrastructure Ltd., filed a motion for reconsideration before the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to regain its preferential status, which was revoked after both the Department of Finance (DOF) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) questioned the firm's financial capacity to take on its P109-billion proposal.

Megawide NAIA plea denied by gov't unimpressed of 'financials'

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - January 26, 2021 - 5:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — It’s back to square one for the much-delayed rehabilitation of Manila’s aging international gateway after Megawide Construction Corp. failed to convince the government of its financial ability to fund the project.

In a disclosure on Tuesday, Megawide said the company received last January 25 an official notice from regulators that denied their plea to reconsider an initial denial of their plans to renovate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

No new appeals would be filed and Megawide said it is “ready to move on to other projects of equal significance.” When sought for reasons of the new denial, Manuel Louie Ferrer, executive director, said government was concerned “still on financials” of the firm.

“While we believe that we have met all the requirements of the government to undertake the rehabilitation of NAIA, we respect their decision on this matter,” Megawide said in a statement.

Shares tumbled after the decision was confirmed first in Tuesday’s report by BusinessWorld. Megawide stock price closed down 5.89% to P7.51 apiece. Shares slumped as much as 6.02% before paring losses.

Citing anonymous sources, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the ultimate denial of Megawide a week ago by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which oversees the bidding for NAIA’s rehabilitation. At the time, the bidder only said it was still awaiting word from MIAA on the matter, while board members could not be reached for confirmation at that point.

Now, with Megawide getting stripped of its original proponent status, all eyes are now on two other bidders namely San Miguel Corp. and Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions which each submitted a proposal after it became clear that Megawide’s own was encountering troubles. Their blueprints are currently being assessed.

San Miguel is also building a separate international airport in Bulacan, roughly 2 hours north of Metro Manila.

A key roadblock to Megawide at the time was its failure to persuade Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua of its financial standing to undertake a P109-billion refurbishment of the classic airport. That appeared to have still been the case with Ferrer’s comments on the latest denial.

In trying to convince the government, Megawide flaunted its partnership with GMR Infrastructure Ltd., the Indian airport operator which also has a joint venture with the company in operating the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. On Monday, Megawide also turned over to private operators the newly expanded Clark International Airport.

Should other bidders likewise fail to get the NAIA Project, Dominguez last week floated the idea of government itself financing the renovation, following numerous delays. Dominguez and Chua have not responded to request for comment as of this posting, and so were other MIAA Board officials.

“We truly wish the government and other interested parties success in the transformation of NAIA. With its location at the heart of the capital region, it remains a vital airport for Metro Manila and the Philippines,” Megawide said.

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