GMR-Megawide combine set to win Philippine airport contract

A consortium of infrastructure major GMR Infrastructure and Philippino contractor Megawide Construction Corp has emerged the highest bidder for $400-million airport terminal project in the Philippines.

The GMR-Megawide combine beat six other bidders, including the country's top conglomerates, at the auction of the biggest public-private partnership programme in the Philippines.

The consortium pipped major players and their consortium partners, which included Changi, Zurich, and Incheon among others offering a premium on top of development cost of the airport.

The consortium offered a premium of 14.4 billion pesos ($3.27 billion) for the 25-year concession to build and operate the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in central Philippines, the country's second-biggest.

The Philippines government is pursuing public-private partnership in key infrastructure projects to boost economic growth despite delays in earlier tenders, which have raised  doubts over the scheme's effectiveness.

The GMR-Megawide offer was about 400 million pesos higher than the second-place bid by a group led by property-to-banking firm Filinvest Development Corp and Changi Airports Saudi Ltd.

''The bids were opened today and it is heartening to note that we have offered the highest bid for development of the project under PPP mode. This reinforces our ability to successfully and effectively bid and projects through international bidding process,'' Business Line quoted Sidharath Kapur, chief financial officer of airports business, GMR, as saying.

''While it is a fact that our consortium has been declared the highest bidder for the project, it will take about a week to declare the successful developer. The project is being taken up with leading local infrastructure company Megawide. As per permissible norms, we will have 40 per cent stake in the project,'' he added.

The winning bidder is likely be announced in early January.

Megawide has won three out of five contracts -- valued at around 26 billion pesos -- tendered by the government under the three-year-old PPP scheme.