THE METRO PACIFIC group is pushing back its target closing of fund-raising for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) to August from its original end-July target.
MPCALA Holdings, Inc. President Luigi L. Bautista said in a text message on Sunday that the change in closing date is because the “financial close is being timed with the acquisition of the balance of right of way in Laguna and Cavite.”
He told reporters on Thursday, after an awarding ceremony with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for another project, that he was anticipating to close the P25.3-billion CALAX financing by next month.
Mr. Bautista said the budget would be used for both the Cavite and Laguna sides of the expressway, but the company was already using equity for part of the Laguna side, which has already started construction.
He added, the funding will be sourced from around six local banks. “We went to each and every one of them. But we talked to them as a group,” Mr. Bautista said.
MPCALA Holdings, a part of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), is the private concessionaire for the 45.29-kilometer CALAX project. Once finished, the toll road will connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx)-Mamplasan interchange to the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx).
Mr. Bautista said earlier this month that segments 7 and 8 in the Laguna side of CALAX is 45% complete. It is targeted to be fully completed by the first quarter of 2019.
The whole Laguna segment begins at Laguna Boulevard and ends in Mamplasan, Biñan. The road is supposed to reduce travel time from the two ends by half.
For the Cavite side, the DPWH said earlier it was yet to deliver the right of way by mid-next year. But initial construction work is eyed to begin by the third quarter of this year.
The CALAX project is expected to be completed by 2020. The four-lane expressway is aimed to cut travel time from SLEx to CAVITEx by 45 minutes.
MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC). 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. — Denise A. Valdez