Sunday, March 27, 2011

MPIC sets P300-M to link NLEx, SCTEx toll roads by October

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. expects to spend P300 million to finish integrating the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) by as early as October, an official said on Friday.

"We hope the takeover [of SCTEx] will happen in April or May this year," Metro Pacific Tollways President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez told reporters at the sidelines of a travel fair, referring to the pending handover of the toll road’s operations to the company after it won the bidding held by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

The company’s subsidiary, the Manila North Tollways Corp. signed a lease contract for the toll road with the state agency last November which included the right to collect toll revenues for 25 years, renewable for another eight years according to earlier reports.

"[Then] the immediate plan is for the integration of SCTEx and NLEx which will take about six months," Mr. Fernandez said.

Mr. Fernandez said that the company will be spending "more P300 million" which will be sourced from its internal funds to link the two expressways.

The integration process will include removal of some of the exits which will become redundant for a "seamless connection," Mr. Fernandez said.

"After the integration, we expect travelers to have more convenience, which is our main concern," Mr. Fernandez said.

The Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Tollways reported a 20% growth in core income to P1.5 billion in 2010 after and revenues rose by 7% to P5.9 billion on the back of a 6% rise in average daily traffic to 159,882 vehicles.

For new projects, the company had said it was looking at bidding for two ventures: the P11.8-billion, 27.5-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway that will extend the Manila-Cavite Coastal Expressway (MCEE) and the P10.6-billion, 4.9-kilometer Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway connecting Skyway to the MCEE.

MPTC, whose shares were last traded on Mar. 24 at P7.70 each, is a unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the local arm of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., which partly owns the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

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