PPP: MPIC, SMC vie again for P55.51-B CALAX deal

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) are vying again for the P55.51-billion contract to build, operate and maintain the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), following a failed bidding last year.

MPIC-backed MPCALA Holdings, Inc. and San Miguel Holdings Corp. were the only companies that submitted their technical and financial bids for the project.

In a statement, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary Rogelio L. Singson said: “We’re happy we had two. We thought we would have one.”

Aside from the two groups, undisclosed clients of Gatmaitan Law Office and Reyes, Tacondong & Co. law firm also purchased bid documents bid did not submit their bids.

The technical and financial proposals will be opened and evaluated on May 22 and 26, respectively. The notice of award for the project is due on July 7 and contract signing will happen within the same month.

According to Sec. Singson, both bidders have prequalified in the first exercise so they’re confident that they can finish all the evaluation of the bid documents within the prescribed period, which is Tuesday next week. 

The government had set a minimum bid price of P20.1 billion for the project, representing the premium that San Miguel’s Optimal Infrastructure Development, Inc. offered to pay on top of the P35.42-billion project cost during the first tender on June 2, 2014.

Following the failed auction last year, neither Team Orion consortium of Ayala-owned AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Aboitiz Land, Inc. nor Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. joined the second round of the bidding. The CALAX project was rolled out again after Malacañang ordered DPWH last November to offer the deal in a new auction. This followed the move of Optimal to seek the intervention of Malacañang after its disqualification on a technicality concerning its bid security. 

The CALAX project involves a 35-year contract to finance, build and operate a 47-kilometer four-lane toll road between Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite and the South Luzon Expressway-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.