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Ayala mulls bid for O&M contract of Laguindingan airport

Posted on November 01, 2011 10:28:51 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

AYALA CORP. is looking to bid for the operation and maintenance (O&M) contract of an airport that will serve Cagayan de Oro, an area where the conglomerate is already building a mall and housing complex.

This comes on top of the firm’s interest in other infrastructure projects lined up by the government for privatization, marking a further foray out of its core businesses.

“We are looking at the new airport in Cagayan de Oro that will start operating I think in 2013,” Delfin C. Gonzalez, Jr., Ayala’s chief finance officer, told reporters last week, referring to the Laguindingan facility in Misamis Oriental, roughly 50 kilometers away from the existing Lumbia airport.

“It actually sits on a property that we donated to the government,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

“[Ayala] also owns about 500 more hectares around it,” he said. “We are also looking at participating in that so that it can also help to spur the development of [the area].”

The Aquino government has included the privatization of Laguindingan Airport’s operation and maintenance project among the 10 vital infrastructure projects to be opened for private investment under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

The 20-year operations concession is seen to reduce government expenditures and improve the quality of service at the airport.

According to PPP Center, the new airport on a 393-hectare property is seen to accommodate 1.2 million passengers per year based on its master plan.

The tender period had earlier been slated to end by next month but a government decision to review all projects up for bidding is expected to delay the contract’s awarding.

Ayala, through its subsidiaries, is already building a mall in the area via a joint venture. It is also developing a subdivision and is looking to construct a hotel as well, earlier reports show.

Ayala officials have said that the company is interested in other PPP projects offered by the government, particularly the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway road project.

“We need an operator partner [which is a] foreign [firm],” Mr. Gonzalez said, when asked about the firm’s progress in bidding for the road project.

The interest in infrastructure comes as Ayala is looking to venture into other industries including power.

The conglomerate announced in March its bid to build a portfolio of over 1,000 MW in generating assets. It has already formed joint ventures with partners for coal, wind and hydroelectric power projects.
Mr. Gonzalez reiterated the company would spend P100 million in the next five years for its power ventures.

“But there is no immediate fund raising that we are looking at right now,” he said
Ayala’s first-half net income climbed by 12% to P4.9 billion over year-ago levels, propelled by its property, banking, water distribution and telecom units.
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