The Aboitiz Group plans to participate in the privatization of more regional airports under the government’s public-private partnership program, after sealing a landmark deal to acquire shares in GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., the developer and operator of Mactan Cebu International Airport.
Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., the infrastructure arm of the group, said it would look at other airports that would be offered to the private sector, aside from the projects in Cebu, Bohol, Misamis Oriental and Albay provinces.
“We still have the OPS [original proponent status] for Bohol, Laguindingan and Bicol airports. We are submitting additional requirements to the government to move forward on our OPS. If other airports will also be offered for PPP or for privatization, yes, we certainly want to look at those airports,” Aboitiz InfraCapital president Cosette Canilao, who used to head the PPP Center under the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III.
The company earlier secured an OPS from the Duterte administration on unsolicited proposals for the new Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Bicol International Airport in Albay and the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista earlier said 10 regional airports would be upgraded, expanded and operated under the PPP scheme.
These include airports in Bohol, Laguindingan, Bicol, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Bacolod, Kalibo, Busuanga and Siargao.
Bautista said the government would also build more regional airports in Dumaguete, Zamboanga and Masbate.
Canilao said Aboitiz InfraCapital was expecting to complete the P25-billion deal with Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Airports International B.V. to acquire GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., the operator of Mactan-Cebu International Airport by end of the year.
“We are going to jointly manage and operate the Mactan Airport once we close the deal, and we are looking at closing the deal by end of the year,” Canilao said.
“Right now we are working on the integration. We’re being helped by our advisors to understand the current operating SOP within Mactan, and we’re preparing for the entry of AIC into GMCAC,” she said.
Meanwhile, AIC diversified into data centers with a partnership with US-based EdgeConneX, the pioneer in global hyperlocal to hyperscale data center solutions.
The joint venture will address the rising data usage in the Philippines by developing an advanced data center platform to house cloud service providers’ information technology equipment, enabling them to better support the local market.
The first two data centers focus on the Metro Manila area, with a connectivity-focused facility adjacent to the local internet exchange and a secondary hyperscale campus facility.
It marks AIC’s second pillar in digital infrastructure after Unity, which already operates 500 macro towers and small cell poles across the Philippines. It also has 200 macro towers that are already in various stages of development.