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Andrew Tan bids for FTI

by Jenniffer B. Austria
[ ] February 8, 2011
Business tycoon Andrew Tan has offered to acquire the 103-hectare Food Terminal Inc. owned by the government in Taguig City for P14 billion.
Empire East Land Holdings Inc., a builder of low-cost housing units and a member of Tan’s Megaworld Group, said in a disclosure to the exchange Monday that it submitted an offer to the Finance Department to purchase the prized state property.
“Subject to the results of due diligence and in accordance with privatization guidelines to be issued by the Department of Finance, Empire East is willing to acquire the FTI property for a consideration of P14 billion,” Empire East said.
“Given its trust and confidence in the administration of President Aquino, Empire East wishes to participate in the planned privatization together with potential partners who are keen on investing in this country on the strength of the new administration’s commitment to transparency,” Empire East said.
The offer price of Empire East topped the P13-billion indicative price earlier set by Finance when it tried to privatize FTI in 2009.
Robinsons Land Corp., a unit of retail and air magnate John Gokongwei, last month submitted a bid to acquire the Taguig property. The company did not disclose the offer price.
The government declared a failed bidding three times when it tried to auction the property earlier.
The government earlier said it is not keen on accepting the “substantial bid” offered by Robinsons Land for the sprawling Taguig property.
“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.
Finance Undersecretary John Philip Sevilla said the government would rather go through the usual bidding process to ensure it got 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.

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