Corporate News

MPIC unit to borrow P23.6B for CALAX project

Posted on June 20, 2017

THE METRO PACIFIC group is raising P23.6 billion to partly fund the construction of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) after breaking ground on the Laguna segment of the project yesterday.

The 4.69-kilometer expressway will link the Manila-Cavite Expressway to South Luzon Expressway, traversing the provinces of Cavite and Laguna. -- INTERAKSYON
“[For] financing, we started our kick-off lenders’ meeting last month. We should be closing the deal this month... [that’s] P23.6 billion. So that covers Laguna, Cavite and also includes some contingencies and part of the payment to the government,” MPCALA Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Luigi L. Bautista told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony of the P35.43-billion CALAX.

MPCALA Holdings, a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is borrowing from “four or five local” banks, with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. is arranging the syndicated loan, the official said.

The Cavite segment of the CALAX is set to start construction by September and MPCALA will sign the construction contract with Leighton Contractors (Philippines), Inc. by end June.

“[The award to Leighton] is also happening this month. We are due to close. Mayroon na lang konting (There are just a few) items that are under negotiation,” Mr. Bautista said.

D.M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI) is building the 18-kilometer Laguna segment of the CALAX, one of the largest public-private partnership projects, which it expects to finish by 2020. MPCALA signed the contract with DMCI earlier in March 2017 for the construction of a four-lane highway with four interchanges -- from Aguinaldo Interchange to the existing Mamplasan Interchange of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) in Biñan, Laguna.

Asked how much will be the construction cost of the Cavite segment, the MPCALA executive said: “I don’t want to mention because it is under negotiation [but the] Laguna side is about P7.3 billion so the other side is about the same.”

“[Construction] should be September,”he added.

MPCALA received the notice of award for the 35-year contract to build, operate, and maintain the planned expressway last June 8, 2015. However, right of way issues for the project site have delayed the start of construction.

The CALAX project involves the construction of a 44.6-kilometer four-lane toll road between the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) in Kawit, Cavite and the SLEx-Mamplasan Interchange.

“The whole CALAX project which will have eight interchanges and one main toll barrier is expected to reduce travel time from CAVITEx to SLEx by 45 minutes,” Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said separately yesterday. Currently, travel time is about an hour and a half.

“CALAX will be one of the most advanced highway in the Philippines. It expected to ease traffic congestion along Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway and Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road,” he added.

The Metro Pacific group won the auction for the project after submitting a P62.72-billion bid -- P27.3-billion premium it offered to pay the government on top of the project’s P35.42-billion construction cost.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin