SMC-led group leads NAIA bid, offers gov’t 82% revenue share

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

A GROUP led by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is advancing in the race to operate, maintain, and upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said on Thursday.

The number of qualified bidders was trimmed down to three groups from the previous four consortia, DoTr Undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan said during the opening of the financial proposals.

“Three bidders are compliant with the financial proposal requirements, with the SMC SAP & Co. Consortium ranking first,” he said.

The Asian Airport Consortium is now out of the bidding after being deemed noncompliant. The group comprises Lucio Co’s Cosco Capital, Inc., Asian Infrastructure and Management Corp., Philippine Skylanders International, Inc., and PT Angkasa Pura II.

The SMC SAP & Co. Consortium, consisting of San Miguel Holdings Corp., RMM Asian Logistics, Inc., RLW Aviation Development, Inc., and Incheon International Airport Corp., has proposed to allocate 82.1% of NAIA revenues to the government.

In comparison, the GMR Airports Consortium and the Manila International Airport Consortium (MIAC) proposed revenue shares of 33.3% and 25.9%, respectively. This makes the SMC-led group’s offer significantly higher.

The GMR Airports Consortium is composed of GMR Airports International B.V., Virata-led Cavitex Holdings, Inc., and Yuchengco-led House of Investments, Inc.

The MIAC consortium is composed of companies owned by the country’s tycoons, namely, Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Andrew L. Tan’s Alliance Global Infracorp Development, Inc., Lucio Tan’s Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Gotianuns’ Filinvest Development Corp., Gokongwei-led JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and GIP EM MIAC Pte., Ltd.

Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista has said that the consortium presenting the highest revenue proposal would secure the NAIA maintenance and rehabilitation contract.

The financial proposals will undergo further evaluation, with the winning bidder scheduled to be announced on February 14, the Transportation department said.

The signing of the concession agreement is scheduled for March 15, with the winning bidder expected to take over by September.

Aside from the revenue share, the winning bidder is also required to pay an upfront payment of P30 billion and P2 billion annually.

“Our vision is to create an integrated airport network that not only improves the travel experience but also supports sustainable economic growth and elevates the Philippines as a prime hub for tourism, business, and investment in the region,” Ramon S. Ang, president and chief executive officer of SMC, said in a statement. 

The San Miguel group is also constructing the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, while Incheon International Airport Corp. is the developer and operator of Incheon International Airport.

Rene S. Santiago, former president of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines, said the proposal is very aggressive and warrants intervention from the Philippine Competition Commission.

“Very aggressive financial proposal revealed Corleone-style that leaves a bad taste in the mouth… On a strategic level, it is to SMC’s interest to kill NAIA or run it aground so that its Bulacan Airport can take off. An issue that invites intervention from the Competition Commission,” he said in a Viber message.

The NAIA contract will initially cover 15 years but can be extended by another 10 years. This will be under a rehabilitate-operate-expand-transfer arrangement, as provided for under the Build-Operate-and-Transfer law.

The project aims to increase the current annual passenger capacity of NAIA to at least 62 million from the current 35 million.