Seven groups vie for $530 million Philippine airport project

MANILA (REUTERS) - Seven groups, including foreign firms, have placed bids for a new US$430 million (S$530.30 million) passenger terminal project as the Philippines' international airport in central Cebu province, the transportation agency said on Monday.

Bidders included the GMR Infrastructure and Megawide Consortium; AAA Airport Partners; the Filinvest Land Inc and CAI Consortium; and the Metro Pacific Investments JG Summit Airport Consortium.

San Miguel Corp, which was recently named as the preferred bidder for a 15.5 billion peso (S$ 466.8 million) Manila airport expressway, also participated in the first round of bids for the Mactan-Cebu facility together with Incheon Airport Co.

Other firms prequalifying for the bid were the First Philippine Holdings Corp Infratil Asia Ltd group; and Premier Airport Group of SM Investments Corp.

The Mactan-Cebu facility, one of the government's priority infrastructure projects under its public-private partnership programme (PPP), is the second-busiest airport in the country by passenger traffic.

It is a major gateway to central and southern Philippine provinces. About 6.8 million passengers used it last year, above its 4.5 million annual capacity, so a successful deal will help boost tourism in the country.

The project involves the right to build a new terminal with an annual capacity of 8 million passengers, rehabilitate the old terminal and operate the entire airport facility.

Manila is expected to issue a list of qualified bidders after 20 days.

The Philippines has been seeking local and foreign investors in PPP projects aimed at improving the country's roads, ports, airports and other infrastructure to spur more economic activity and propel growth above 7 per cent.