San Miguel-MPIC tie-up to build $10bn Filipino airport

The two firms are also looking to partner on other infrastructure projects including toll roads and train assets.

San Miguel Corporation and Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, the Philippines’ two largest conglomerates, are teaming up to build the $10 billion Manila Bay International Airport. 

San Miguel president Ramon Ang said the company was in talks with MPIC, led by Manuel V. Pangilinan, to undertake the mammoth airport project, the first of a series of possible infrastructure joint ventures, according to the state-run Philippines News Agency. 

Sitting on 1,600 hectares of reclaimed land in Manila Bay, the proposed airport is expected to replace the old Ninoy Aquino International Airport, providing an estimated total capacity of about 50 million passengers a year.  

The project, first proposed to the Aquino administration two years ago, has been stalled due to objection from the Philippines Ports Authority, which argues that the airport could obstruct the shipping flow in the area. 

San Miguel now wants to revive the project but the two partners have to wait for guidelines to be issued by the incoming Duterte administration on unsolicited proposals in infrastructure projects.   

Apart from the airport, the two companies are looking at other infrastructure projects on which they could co-operate, such as tollway and train projects. San Miguel is also talking to Ayala Group to pursue similar ventures. 

Last month, San Miguel said in a filing at the Philippine Stock Exchange that the company was inviting the participation of Pangilinan’s group, Henry Sy’s SM Group and Zobel-led Ayala Corporation in the airport proposal. The airport would require total equity financing of about $2 billion to $3 billion. 

San Miguel currently operates the Caticlan Airport near Boracy Island and oversees its modernisation programme. In 2014, it made an unsuccessful bid for the Mactan Cebu International Airport PPP with Incheon Airport of South Korea. The PPP project was then awarded to a consortium of Filipino company Megawide Construction Corporation and India’s GMR Infrastructure