Philippine conglomerate consortium drops $2b airport project

REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

A consortium of six of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates on Tuesday dropped a proposal to upgrade and operate the country’s main airport, as the impacts of the coronavirus hit the viability of the $2 billion project.

Modernising the ageing and congested Manila airport was among the largest projects of President Rodrigo Duterte’s $180 billion “build, build, build” planned infrastructure overhaul, his signature economic policy.

The consortium said it reviewed its plans in light of the impact of the coronavirus on global travel and proposed to the government changes to ensure the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) project was viable.

“Unfortunately, the government indicated that it is not willing to accept most of the consortium’s proposed options and the consortium can only move forward with the NAIA project under the options it has proposed,” the group said in a statement.

The consortium comprised units of JG Summit Holdings Inc, Alliance Global Group Inc, Filinvest Development Corp, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc, Ayala Corp and LT Group Inc.

The withdrawal will be another blow to Duterte’s hopes of bettering his predecessors and delivering on urgently needed infrastructure, with doubts over several other projects long before the coronavirus hit, and time running out before he must leave office in 2022.

The economic planning agency, which approves big-ticket projects including the NAIA upgrade, did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2018, the consortium proposed a 350 billion pesos ($7 billion) plan to modernise the over-stretched international airport and operate it for 35 years. It revised that offer a year later to a $2 billion, 15-year concession.

Airlines passengers suffer chronic delays because of congestion in Manila’s airport. But operations have been minimal since March when the government implemented travel bans and lockdown measures to help contain the spread of the virus.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.