by Elaine R. Alanguilan
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] January 17, 2011
The government is not keen on accepting the “substantial bid” offered by Robinsons Land Corp. for the sprawling Taguig property of Food Terminals Inc.
“No to negotiated bid. As much as possible, we would like to go for solicited bids. I don’t know the other details since I am not directly involved in the privatization,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters over the weekend.
Robinsons Land, the property unit of the Gokongwei group of companies, earlier submitted a bid to Privatization and Management Office to acquire the 103-hectare FTI property.
Finance Undersecretary John Philip Sevilla, who oversees the PMO, said the government would rather go through the usual bidding process to ensure it gets the best deal for the property.
“FTI is the last big-ticket item for privatization. We want to dispose it not only to raise money but we also want to make sure that the government would get what it deserves and... award it to the best bidder taking into consideration its commitment and capacity to invest,” he said.
“We want to do this as fairly, openly and as efficiently as possible.”
He said the last deal in Fort Bonifacio was priced at about P36,000 per square meter.
“We’re not expecting to get that [price] for FTI. At P13 billion and 103 hectares, the FTI property is priced under P13,000 per sq. m. Thus, we will stick to the P13 billion as a minimum bid price,” said Sevilla.
“We are hoping we could have the public bidding this year. We would like to sell it at Rustan’s prices, not 168’s,” said Sevilla. Rustan’s Department Store is a high-end retailer owned by the Tantocos, while the 168 Mall in Divisoria sells products at cheap prices.
The previous administration failed to sell the property three times. There seems to be renewed interest on the property this time.
“Once the Bases Conversion Development Authority has finished privatizing Bonifacio South, the FTI property would be the last sizeable property in that area,” said Sevilla.
He also said the proposed road network connecting the FTI property with either the South Luzon Expressway or the Skyway would address one of the major concerns of investors.
He said the easement and right-of-way issues on the property would be resolved once the road network was put in place.