Ayala Corp., Philippines’ oldest conglomerate, said it and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) have tapped French metro operator RATP Dev as a partner in their bid to bag another railway deal under the Aquino government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.
The inclusion of RATP Dev, a wholly owned subsidiary of global transport operator RATP Group, would mean a bigger consortium led by the Ayala group and businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan vying for a contract to operate and maintain (O&M) Manila Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2).
The Ayala-MPIC tandem, known as Light Rail Manila Holdings, earlier won a $1.4 billion PPP railway deal that will extend LRT Line 1 (LRT-1) by 11.7 kilometers to Bacoor in Cavite from the Baclaran terminal.
In October, Light Rail Manila had signed a 20-year agreement with the French metro operator for the latter to advise the consortium in running LRT-1 and training local personnel.
On Monday, Ayala Corp. Managing Director John Eric T. Francia said RATP Dev will take a bigger role as the consortium competes for the LRT-2 contract.
“After LRT-1, Light Rail Manila Holdings will bid for LRT-2, in partnership also with MPIC and RATP Dev,” Mr. Francia told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Makati City on Monday night.
Francois-Xavier Perin, president and director of RATP Dev, said: “With the same partners, we are bidding for the LRT-2 operations and maintenance.”
Ayala Corp., through AC Infrastructure Holdings, Corp., has a 35% stake in Light Rail Manila consortium, while MPIC has 55% and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd., 10%.
Light Rail Manila Holdings was one of nine groups that bought bid documents for the LRT-2 O&M deal. The others are APT Global, Inc., Globalvia, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., San Miguel Corp., GT Capital Holdings, Inc., Marubeni Philippines Corp., DMCI Holdings Inc., and Japan’s Marubeni Corp.
The winning bidder will take over the O&M of the existing 13.8- kilometer LRT-2 from C. M. Recto Ave. in Avenida, Manila to Santolan in Pasig City with 11 stations, as well as the proposed P9.7-billion extension project covering an additional 4.14 kilometers to Masinag, Antipolo and the metro line’s future extension.
An information memorandum published last month on the Web site of the PPP Center set Dec. 20 as the indicative date for the release of a shortlist for pre-qualified bidders; February 2015 for the pre-bid conference; and May 2015 for the submission of bids.
The LRT-2 O&M deal, according to the Transportation department’s schedule, will be awarded as early as June next year.
Asked if Ayala Corp. is also interested in the bundled O&M contracts covering six Philippine airports that the government will also put in the auction block, Mr. Francia replied: “We’ll look at it.”
“To be honest, we need to study first what the package consists of. So I can’t give you any indication yet, but once that is launched by the government, we’ll look at it and see.”
The bundled contract will cover the following airport projects: the $673 million Iloilo Airport; $898 million Davao Airport; $448 million Bacolod Airport; $116 million Puerto Princesa Airport; $336 million Laguindingan Airport; and $51 million New Bohol (Panglao) Airport.
Mr. Francia reiterated that the Ayala and Aboitiz groups — members of Team Orion that was the highest qualified bidder for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project — will not “stand in the way” of Malacañang’s plan to rebid the P35.42-billion road deal.
Ariel C. Angeles, director of Public-Private Partnership Service of the DPWH, had said in an interview last week that before the department endorses the new bidding terms to Malacañang, it will wait until today, Dec. 10, to see if Team Orion will seek court intervention.
Ayala Corp. had won three PPP projects so far: the P2.01-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway project; the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System project; and the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite-Laguna Expressway project.