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MNTC seeks P1.5-B loan for Mindanao Ave-NLEX link

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña
Thursday, July 24, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), controlled by the Lopez Group’s First Philippine Infrastructure Development Corp. (FPIDC), will seek up to P1.5 billion to fund the 2.8-kilometer road connecting the North Luzon Expressway with Mindanao Ave. in Quezon City to Valenzuela City.

FPIDC president Angel Ong said the Mindanao Ave. connection forms part of Phase 2 of the NLEX — the main corridor to Central and Northern Luzon — which will link C-5 from UP Diliman to Malabon. This follows the successful expansion of the 84-kilometer NLEX from Balintawak in Quezon City to Sta. Ines in Pampanga.

Ong said the government is expected to secure the right-of-way for the project in September and the MNTC is hoping to award the construction of the project by October. 

He said financing needs for the project will come from bank loans and internally-generated cash. 

The NLEX-Mindanao Ave. connection is expected to ease traffic pressure at the Balintawak area since vehicles can opt to take the C-5 route going to the northern portion of Luzon and is part of President Arroyo’s Urban Beltway Program.

Upon completion of this highway, the MNTC will construct the road that will link the NLEX to MacArthur Highway.

Phase 3 of the project involves the construction of a highway that will link the Subic Bay Freeport to NLEX.

Ong said the group remains on the lookout for opportunities in the toll road business to sustain its profitability.  “We will always be there to participate in government biddings for toll road projects,” he said.

FPIDC is 100-percent owned by First Philippine Infrastructure Inc. (FPII) which is, in turn, 50-percent owned by First PHilippine HOldings Corp., 48.1 percent by Benpres Holdings Corp. and small investors (1.9 percent).

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