Tycoons Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Manuel V. Pangilinan of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. might be looking at railway partnerships next after joining forces for major toll road projects in Luzon.
Ang told Biz Buzz he was open to partnering with Pangilinan’s group for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3—a project both of them are pursing via an unsolicited process, although SMC appears to have the bidding advantage after obtaining an original proponent status during the previous administration.
The tie-up will combine the resources and expertise of diversified conglomerate SMC, which is the concessionaire of the ongoing Metro Rail Transit Line 7 running from Quezon City to Bulacan, and Metro Pacific, the utilities and infrastructure giant that is part of the venture that operates the Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Metro Manila.
Asked about the other benefits of a prospective railway alliance, Ang simply said: “friendship.”
The on-again, off-again business rivals set aside their differences and became important allies after SMC and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. sealed agreements last month to develop the Cavite Batangas Expressway and Nasugbu-Bauan Expressway.
Of course, the Department of Transportation will have the final say on any privatization bid for the MRT 3 and other projects. So far, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista prefers the solicited process, similar to the ongoing tender for Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
—Miguel R. Camus
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