CAVITEX Infrastructure Corp. (CIC), a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), aims to acquire the government’s residual shares in the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), its president said on Tuesday.

“It was a surprise to me that despite privatization, some operations and maintenance are still handled by the government,” MPTC President and Chief Executive Officer Rogelio L. Singson said during a virtual briefing.

This follows a case filed by a unit of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) before the appellate court to take over toll road operations.

Under the Public Estates Authority Tollway Corp.’s (PEATC) petition dated April 8, the PRA unit is asking the Court of Appeals to operate, maintain, and collect toll fees over Cavitex. PEATC is a non-chartered government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC).

“We are open to full privatization by acquiring whatever residual value or estimates they have in terms of their projects. Ultimately, it reverts back to the government,” Mr. Singson said, adding that the company is actively discussing the possibility of acquiring PEATC’s share.

“I understand there are some initial discussions. We have already been open; we have included this as a topic of discussion.”

Mr. Singson said that under the joint venture agreement, CIC’s role is the design, financing, and construction of the Manila-Cavite toll expressway project covering a total of 23.8 kilometers.

The joint venture agreement spells out a revenue-sharing model of 90:10, with CIC receiving 90%, and the remainder going to PEATC.

Mr. Singson also said that the operations and maintenance model for Cavitex is different, as the government handles operations and maintenance while CIC provides the operating expenses (OPEX).

“On the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) and other concessions, it is run by the private sector,” he said.

Mr. Singson said the company is seeking a public–private partnership (PPP) model for the project, offering P2.5 billion to take over the government’s residual interest and also offering to take over toll road operations.

“That is our intention, to follow the spirit of PPP. Apparently, we have submitted over four times in the past,” he said.

MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

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