Beer-maker San Miguel wins $3bn Manila airport upgrade

Ninoy Aquino International Airport has long been notorious for the length of its queues (Weikong Chang/Dreamstime)
A consortium led by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has been picked from a shortlist of three for a $3bn public-private partnership project to operate, maintain, and upgrade Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said the SMC-SAC consortium had made the most financially attractive bid, offering to share more than 82% of future revenues with the government.

This was in addition to the upfront fee of $536m and an annual fee of $36m, both payable to the government. In return, the consortium will have a 15 year franchise.

By comparison, the two other bidders, GMR Airports Consortium and Manila International Airport Consortium, proposed revenue shares of 33% and 26%, respectively.

The consortium will be expected to improve the airport’s runway, taxiways and firefighting facility. It is also expected to increase the airport’s capacity of 32 million passengers a year to 60 million.

Philippine transport secretary Jaime Bautista said the government had been trying for a generation to complete the privatisation of the airport.

He told a press briefing: “This was conceptualised as early as 30 years ago when the government of then president Fidel Ramos started the privatization of Terminal 3. Unfortunately, it ended up in court and in early 2000, it was taken over by government. So 30 years in the making, now we will be able to privatize the operations and maintenance of the Manila International Airport.”

Grace Poe, the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said she wished the consortium “the best of luck” as it addresses the efficiency and safety needs of the increasing number of passengers at NAIA.

She said: “The winning bidder faces a herculean task of giving the decades-old structure the crucial expansion and modernisation so it could graduate from the list of the world’s infamous airports.”

The San Miguel Corporation is one of the largest companies in the Philippines. Its best known product is San Miguel beer, but it also has divisions in sectors such as finance, energy, transportation and real estate, as well as infrastructure.

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