Aboitiz submits unsolicited bid for Philippine airports

The four regional hubs were part of a PPP tender launched in 2014, which the government cancelled last year.

Aboitiz InfraCapital, the infrastructure investment arm of Filipino conglomerate Aboitiz Group, has submitted an unsolicited proposal to take over four regional airports offering a bid price of 148 billion pesos ($2.8 billion; €2.3 billion).

The company is proposing to modernise, expand and operate the four regional hubs, which include Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and New Bohol International Airport in Panglao, under a 35-year concession agreement.

“The first three airports are already operating above capacity and require urgent rehabilitation, while New Bohol is eyed to open the island further to the international tourism market,” noted Aboitiz in a statement, adding that the move will decongest Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Through this unsolicited proposal, we intend to support the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ programme as we develop sustainable airport facilities that reflect and support the tremendous economic and tourism potential of the Philippines’ regions and provinces,” said Sabin Aboitiz, chief executive and president of Aboitiz InfraCapital.

The government had initially included the four airports, as well as Davao Airport, in its PPP programme in 2014, valuing the estimated cost at 108 billion pesos. However, it has cancelled the tender process twice since then, most recently last May when the Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines decided the projects would be funded by the government or through overseas development assistance loans.

It is unclear why Aboitiz believes the government may reconsider procuring the project as a PPP, especially since the high level of interest last year’s tender attracted from private investors did not prevent the government from terminating the privatisation process.

Aboitiz had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Aboitiz is also part of a seven-member consortium that in February submitted an unsolicited bid for the upgrade and expansion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a project estimated to cost up to 350 billion pesos.  The other six members of the NAIA consortium – also known as “Superconsortium” since their combined market capitalisation exceeds 2.2 trillion pesos – are: AC Infrastructure Holdings, Alliance Global Group, AEDC, Filinvest Development, JG Summit Holdings and Metro Pacific Investments.