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Robinsons Land challenges Megaworld for Fort Boni lot

Monday, August 17, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

BY DON GIL K. CARREON, Reporter


GOKONGWEI-LED Robinsons Land, Corp. has challenged Megaworld Corp.’s unsolicited proposal to develop an 8.38-hectare military lot in Taguig, offering a higher price which the Andrew Tan-led firm can still match.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vice-President Aileen R. Zosa said Robinsons Land was the only firm to submit tender documents among three firms earlier found eligible to challenge Megaworld’s P2.79-billion bid.

"We confirm that [Robinsons Land] has the higher price than Megaworld’s," she said, adding that "Robinsons was the only one that submitted a challenge proposal."

Robinsons Land, in a statement, said its offer to develop the property into a mixed-use complex was worth P3.15 billion.

"The tender documents by Robinsons Land were submitted only by 12 noon on Friday ... We are still verifying their proposal so I don’t want to preempt the board about the results of the verification process," she said.

The BCDA in June announced that Ayala Land, Inc., Filinvest Land, Inc., and Robinsons Land were qualified to compete with Megaworld. The property, dubbed "North Bonifacio," lies mostly between the parallel Eight and Ninth Avenues of Fort Bonifacio, which houses the army headquarters.

Megaworld submitted its unsolicited bid last year and could still win the deal if it matches Robinsons Land’s offer. Its officials declined to comment on whether they planned to do so until after formal notification from the BCDA.

Ms. Zosa said that under National Economic and Development Authority guidelines, Megaworld has seven days from formal notice to match the offer.

"Our [own] deadline to notify Megaworld that there is a superior offer is on August 21 which I think is a holiday ... The terms of reference provides that if the date of notification falls on a holiday that it would be moved to the next working day," she said.

Ms. Zosa said a joint venture selection committee would submit its recommendations to the BCDA board next week.

Aside from the price, the committee will also review if Robinsons Land’s proposal is compliant with terms of reference set for the deal, among them an upfront payment of P700 million, minimum investment commitment of P15.6 billion, and 20-year and 18-year ceilings for developing and selling the property.

Megaworld’s shares dipped by two centavos to P1.38 on Friday while Robinsons Land’s inched up by P0.10 to P9.20.

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