By Adam J. Ang

MEGAWIDE Construction Corp. is expanding its precast technology capacity by three times to satiate demand from the external market.

The listed construction firm sees its precast technology, which creates concrete that is prepared, cast and cured off-site, as a “benchmark” for construction around this time of a pandemic.

“In the medium term, we will triple our precast capacity to accommodate demands from the external market,” Megawide Chairman Edgar. B Saavedra said in his address to the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

Megawide’s precast products, the official said, are a standard because of their “functionality and suitability” to social distancing protocols.

“We anticipate greater demand for precast technology to fast track infrastructure developments and address the country’s six million housing backlog, aside from the acceptability of precast in new normal protocols at construction sites,” Mr. Saavedra was quoted as saying in a separate statement.

Last year, external sales accounted for 40% of its precast business, lifting its construction segment revenues.

Resuming operations after the months-long lockdown, Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the company’s joint venture airline with Indian developer GMR Group, rolled out contactless check-in, inquiries, and purchases.

It has set up a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing facility to help raise Cebu’s virus testing capacity.

The land port Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), which reopened on June 8, is accepting bookings made via its mobile app. It will soon launch an automated ticketing booth.

When asked how it will conduct construction activities amid the public health crisis, Mr. Saavedra said the company is enforcing a 14-day quarantine policy.

“Typically what we do, we will quarantine those new workers, engineers, or staff that will come in, then we will have the quarantine for 14 days, before they can do the working,” he said. They must test negative for the virus, he added.

Megawide is eyeing to take on some of the government’s modified “Build, Build, Build” projects, including the Malolos-Clark Railway, North-South Commuter Line, and Metro Manila Subway projects.

Further, it plans to launch a mixed-use development and its proposed second runway at MCIA, as well as to pursue the second phase of PITX development by identifying key areas where it can put up similar land ports.

In the first three months of the year, Megawide netted an attributable income of P233 million, up 3% from P227 million it booked in the same months a year ago, on the back of the revenue growth of its construction and land port businesses.

Its total top line in the first quarter soared by 42% to P5.06 billion, with a 52% increase in construction earnings to P3.91 billion. Likewise, revenues from PITX surged to P287 million from just P20 million a year ago.

These have offset the 10% revenue decline of its airport operations to P803 million and 24% revenue drop in airport merchandising to P65 million, both of which were hit by the decline in passenger volume as local and international flights were banned due to pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Meanwhile, shareholders approved to increase the firm’s authorized capital stock by P54 million to P5.054 billion.

On Tuesday, shares in Megawide grew by 2.69% to close at P7.25 each.