LRT-1 operator names new execs

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
LRT-1 operator names new execs
Jose Maria Lim and Enrico Benipayo
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The MVP Group continues to shake up the corporate ladder, this time with the appointment of new executives at Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC).

LRMC, operator of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) yesterday announced that longtime MVP Group executive Jose Maria Lim is assuming the role of president and CEO of the company on an interim basis.

Lim is the former president and CEO of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) where he also served various functions over the years, including chief finance officer.

In turn, Juan Alfonso will relinquish his post as president and CEO of LRMC. Alfonso will take on another leadership position, this time in the Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., which controls 55 percent of shares in LRMC.

During his six-year term, Alfonso led LRMC through one of the most challenging periods for the transport industry when the LRT-1 was put to a halt by the pandemic.

It was also under Alfonso’s tenure that LRMC achieved most of the progress in completing the LRT-1 Cavite Extension.

The first phase of the extension will expand the LRT-1 by five stations to Sucat, Parañaque City, and is scheduled for opening toward the end of the year.

Further, LRMC appointed Enrico Benipayo as its new general manager, designating him with the task of monitoring the daily activities of the LRT-1.

Prior to this, Benipayo served as COO of LRMC, and has accumulated more than 35 years of experience in the field of engineering, procurement and construction.

In 2023 LRT-1 served an average of 350,000 commuters per day, highlighting its importance in the movement of people around Metro Manila. For 2024, LRT-1 is expected to raise its passenger traffic to around 370,000 a day, as its reach will be extended to the south of the metro.

Internally, LRT-1 operator LRMC is anticipating ownership changes within the year. In February the Ayala Group confirmed that it plans to exit the rail business as part of its divestment.

The Ayalas want to get $350 million from the disposal of its 35 percent stake in LRMC, and it is open to selling out its shareholdings to MPIC.

MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company may acquire the Ayala shares to elevate its ownership in LRMC to 70.8 percent, as MPIC prepares its transport portfolio for its eventual bid for other railways.

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