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Clark free port in negotiations with foreign buyer for Mimosa

Friday, May 29, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

A FOREIGN firm has submitted an unsolicited bid for the state-owned Mimosa Leisure Estate at the Clark free port and is in negotiations with the government, a Clark Development Corp. (CDC) official said late last week.

Other firms have already expressed interest to challenge the bid ahead of an expected contract signing in October, CDC President Benigno N. Ricafort said.

The 215-hectare property has long been on the auction block after failed attempts to sell it in 2003.

The Mimosa Leisure Estate

In a third sale attempt last year, the state agency ended up voiding a contract with bid winner Waterfront Philippines, Inc. when the firm, unable to secure a casino operation license, did not pay on time. It would have shelled out P1.5 billion for the property.

"We received an unsolicited proposal. We are in negotiations. It is a foreigner. I’m giving them 30 days starting [May 25] to arrange with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. [for a casino license]," Mr. Ricafort told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of a government meeting.

"There are a number of Philippine firms waiting to challenge. We aim to award the contract by October at the latest," the official added.

The property, tagged by an analyst as a good development, features a 36-hole golf course, villas for rent, and a country club.

"[The government] is planning for the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport [at the free port] to be the second busiest airport in the country. The area is a very good investment for hotels," Ramon Jose E. Aguirre, research manager of property consultancy Colliers International, said in a phone interview yesterday.

"You may argue its a low time to invest into those types of real estate but real estate is a long process. It entails cyclical corrections," Mr. Aguirre said. — Jessica Anne D. Hermosa


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