Metro Pacific renews buyout plan for MRT 3
Conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. revived its plan to buy out the stake of the government and private investors in Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
“There’s no proposal yet, but we said in principle we’re prepared to do that,” Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters, when asked if the company was interested to buy out the government’s stake in the rail system which runs along Edsa.
The government through Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines own a combined 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3, while the remaining stake is held by creditors of Metro Rail Transit Corp.
MPIC in 2011 offered to buy out the shares of LBP and DBP in MRT 3 for $1.1 billion.
MPIC signed a cooperation agreement in 2011 with various groups holding rights and interests in MRT 3, including MRTC, Metro Rail Transit Holdings Inc., Metro Rail Transit 2 Inc. and Monumento Rail Transit Corp., giving the company led by businessman Manuel Pangilinan an option to acquire 48 percent. Metro Pacific has not exercised the option.
MPIC along with Ayala Corp. last week submitted an unsolicited proposal to Transportation Department to upgrade and rehabilitate MRT 3 system for P12.5 billion.
“We have several meetings between our team, which we organized for the MRT 3 and the DoTr [Department of Transportation] for the past week or so it seems there’s some progress in that side,” Pangilinan said.
“We want to resolve the issues [of MRT3] for the benefit of the commuters,” he said.
MPIC submitted a proposal to the Department of Transportation in 2011 to invest $524 million to rehabilitate and upgrade MRT 3.
The Aquino administration, however, rejected Metro Pacific’s offer that involved raising commuter fares.
Former President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 126 in 2013, directing the Transportation and Finance Departments to buy MRTC out of MRT 3, under the build-lease-transfer agreement.
MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves over 500,000 passengers a day, beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.
The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.
The Transportation Department in January 2016 signed a P3.8-billion three-year contract with the joint venture of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMICorp and Castan Corp. to do maintenance works on the rolling stock and signaling system, the most critical maintenance component of MRT 3.