Four prequalify for PHP35bn CALA PPP

The first Philippines PPP project to successfully change its initial structure now has four consortia vying for it under complete private financing.

One of the Philippines’ largest public-private partnership (PPP) projects under the Aquino administration – the PHP35.42 billion (€600 million; $809 million) Cavite-Laguna (CALA) Expressway – has completed its pre-bid qualifying phase with four companies or consortia approved, according to a Philippine government statement.

The project involves the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47 kilometre closed-system tolled expressway connecting two major roadways on the Philippines Luzon island, home to the country’s capital Manila. The project is structured on a build-operate-transfer basis with a leasing period of 35 years altogether.

The CALA project has drawn significant interest from the private sector, so much so that in July the government found it possible to drop its extra financing. According to the original plans, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was to construct 18.1km of the road stretch. However, at the request of interested bidders, the government body decided to change the terms of the project from a “hybrid” structure to a purely privately-financed project, Infrastructure Investor reported earlier.

After the terms were successfully changed, a total of 18 consortia expressed interest in this PPP project. In the end six parties submitted bids and four were deemed qualified, including two domestic conglomerates, one Malaysian firm and one consortia of domestic and international companies.

The pre-qualified bidders include AlloyMTD, the Malaysian company that was also in the bidding for the failed LRT Line 1 extension project; Team Orion, the consortium of AC Infrastructure Holdings, Aboitiz Land, and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Philippines; MPCALA Holdings of Philippine conglomerate Metro Pacific Investment Corporation; and Optimal Infrastructure Development of San Miguel Corporation. DPWH met with each of these bidders last week.

The CALA Expressway project is the third toll road project the DPWH has rolled out, and final bids are expected to be submitted in January 2014, according to a PPP Centre statement. The government will continue to help the private sector winner with paperwork and obtaining right-of-way licenses for the toll road once the project is awarded.

Other Philippine PPP projects still up for bidding include the Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center; the Automatic Fare Collection System; and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building. Some bidding processes have been delayed as the Philippines recoups from the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left as many as 7,400 people dead or missing.