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Megawide hopes to finish Swiss Challenge for NAIA rehab bid by March 2021

Megawide Construction Corp., which holds the original proponent status for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, is optimistic that the Swiss Challenge for the project could be completed by March 2021.

Officials of the construction firm on Monday said they are moving to fast-track negotiations, with the last remaining requirement to be submitted to the government this week.

"The last requirement of NEDA is actually the submission of financial requirements so we will be submitting that within the week," Manuel Louie Ferrer, managing director for transport at Megawide, said in a virtual briefing.

"Hopefully this gets elevated to the Cabinet Committee and after which is the Swiss Challenge so hopefully, we can wrap up the whole thing by hopefully first quarter of next year," he added.

Megawide, along with its partner Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd., was granted the original proponent status (OPS) for the NAIA rehabilitation in July, after talks with the NAIA Consortium — made up of several of the country's largest conglomerates — collapsed.

The $3-billion unsolicited proposal of the Megawide consortium was submitted in March 2018, but was set aside in favor of the NAIA Consortium whose proposal was received by the government first.

Under the Swiss Challenge, other prospective bidders of the project can make competing offers with Megawide having the right to match such offers.

Its updated proposal is pegged at P109 billion under a 25-year concession period, with the construction to be done in three phases — the improvement of airside congestion and terminals and the connection via bus rapid transit; the construction of a new terminal and additional taxi lanes; and the construction of an elevated railway.

The first two phases, pegged at some P20 billion, will take up to 10 years, which officials said could be fully funded by Megawide alone, assuring that the total amount could be met with the GMR partnership.

Megawide chairman and chief executive officer Edgar Saavedra said the consortium is also already in talks with lenders for possible financing arrangements for the project.

"There is already a prediscussion with the lenders or investors but we cannot make any final representation yet unless we get the approval first. Once we get the approval, I guess that's the time we can move to the next step on the discussion of the rates," he said.

"I think the most critical part is the approval of this project. Once it gets approved by NEDA, then the next will be more procedural — Swiss Challenge and award," added Saavedra.

Megawide is the private partner for several other infrastructure projects such as the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), the construction partner for the Clark International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building, and the Malolos-Clark Railway Project Package 1.

The company's subsidiaries include GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Megawatt Clean Energy Inc., Globemerchants Inc., Megawide Land Inc., Megawide Cold Logistics Inc., Megawide Construction (BVI) Corporation, Megawide Terminals Inc., Megawide International Limited, Megawide Construction DMCC, Megawide Construction (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, and MWM Terminals Inc.—AOL, GMA News