By Denise A. Valdez

NLEX Corp. said it will review its year-end revenue target next month taking into consideration the government’s delay in approving further toll fee increases at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx).

“We will have to revisit our revenue targets. We’re going to have our mid-year performance review next, next week,” NLEX Corp. President Luigi L. Bautista told reporters last week.

He said the company is “not where we wanted it to be” in the first half of the year, adding that its revenue is “holding up, but because of the delay, it has to really catch up.”

Mr. Bautista said at the start of the year the company set a revenue target of P16 billion, driven by the traffic growth after opening the NLEx Harbor Link Segment 10 and the assumption of a toll rate increase.

In March, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) gave NLEX its long-overdue approval to increase toll fees at the expressway,to partly account for the periodic toll rate increases granted by its concession agreement with the government.

It started collecting an additional P9 in the toll fee for Class 1 vehicles, P22 for Class 2 and P28 for Class 3 on Mar. 20.

The concession agreement of NLEX allows it to increase toll rates every two years, meaning it has adjustments due for the years 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Remember the (increase due in) 2012 and 2014 that was given to us (in March) is only first tranche. And there are going to be three tranches. So pag-uusapan pa yung [we still have to talk about the] second tranche and the third tranche,” Mr. Bautista said.

“What was given to us was 2012 and 2014. So meron pa kaming [We still have] 2016 and 2018. Hindi pa rin napag-uusapan yun [We haven’t talked about those either],” he added.

But the NLEX chief noted the company is “actively in discussion with TRB” on the toll rate adjustments.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bautista said NLEX is still pursuing its plan to build a 15-kilometer expressway that will connect C3 Road to the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) through Roxas Boulevard.

The P95-billion NLEx-CAVITEx Port Expressway Link is an unsolicited proposal submitted by the NLEX and Cavitex Infrastructure Corp. (CIC). It aims to build an underground expressway as an alternative road to Roxas Boulevard.

“It’s still with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)… They’re doing the usual review of the design… I think they are supportive of the project naman,” Mr. Bautista said.

For his part, DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar said the government is just asking for more details on the proposal before it awards original proponent status to the proponents.

Kasi underground yan, so medyo complicated yung proposal. So we have to study first kung ano yung nasa plano [Because it’s underground, it’s quite a complicated proposal. So we have to study first what’s in the plan],” he said.

NLEX and CIC are under Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollway unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC). MPIC is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp.

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