MST Chatter last month wrote about the arbitration case Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was contemplating against the government for non-implementation of tariff adjustments on its two toll roads—the North Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway.
The latest to this story is that Metro Pacific, as of Nov. 14, could now file an arbitration case against the government for the delay in the tariff rate adjustment in Cavitex, as provided for under the supplemental toll operation agreement.
Under the agreement, the company is allowed to seek arbitration 60 days after sending its demand letter to the Toll Regulatory Board in September. However, the TRB asked the conglomerate to delay any plan to file for arbitration by another 60 days.
Metro Pacific said it was amenable to this, provided that if nothing happened within the next 60 days, the company could proceed with the filing of arbitration case not only for Cavitex but also for the delayed tariff adjustment at NLEx.
“We are only amendable to 30 days extension on the condition TRB will be willing to waive the 90-day conciliatory period for NLEx so that we could synchronize the filing of the cases,” Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president Ramoncito Fernandez said.
If Metro Pacific decides to proceed with the arbitration case, it will file the Cavitex case in Geneva, Switzerland and the NLEx case in New York.
Metro Pacific already has an ongoing arbitration case with the government for the non-implementation of water rate adjustments of unit Maynilad Water Services Inc.
Swiss challenge for Cebu bridge up
Speaking of Metro Pacific, it appears that the Swiss challenge for the company’s unsolicited proposal for a third toll bridge in Mactan Cebu will come first, before the much-delayed Swiss challenge for the connector road linking North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway.
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president Ramoncito Fernandez said the Swiss challenge for the Cebu toll bridge might be held before the end of the year, after the company finalized talks with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova town.
Construction of the new toll bridge will now cost P27 billion, higher than the original estimate of P17 billion, because the project would have two exits, one going to Cordova and another going to South Reclamation Project.
The new design takes into consideration the expected increase in traffic going to SRP, which is rapidly being developed as a mixed-use development with various residential, commercial and office projects undertaken by Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Land Inc.
In the meantime, Metro Pacific is waiting for the Swiss challenge for the NLEx-SLEx connector project. It is hoping the government will be able to set a schedule early next year, before the May elections. Jenniffer B. Austria
Starmobile lures Apple executive
A former executive of Apple and Nokia in the Indochina region has been recently appointed as the new chief operating officer of local phone manufacturer Starmobile.
Starmobile president Ulysses Lao said the appointment of Jerry Manus as the company’s new chief operating officer would lead Starmobile to a bigger and brighter future.
In his most recent role, Manus pioneered and established the presence of iOS in Indochina, leading the company’s dominance in the market. Prior to Apple, Manus was the country manager of Nokia Cambodia and Laos where he was instrumental in leading the company to sustain market leadership.
Under his mentorship, the Finnish brand’s presence in the region was recognized by global management as a top performing market.
Before venturing abroad, Manus was a key executive of Nokia Philippines where he led distribution and retail operations. The practices and procedures he introduced helped shape the industry to what it is today.
“I am more than thrilled to be part of a homegrown brand,” said Manus. “This will be a great opportunity for Starmobile to further prove that a Filipino company can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the world.”
Apart from his experience in telco, Manus was also a part of fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Mead Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser and Nestle Philippines.
Starmobile last week launched Knight Spectra, its most advanced cameraphone, which has unique dual rear sensors.
Meralco eyes stake in Alsons’ projects
Two companies have expressed interest to take a stake in the power projects of Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. of the Alcantara Group. “The two possible interested investors are MGen [Meralco PowerGen Corp., the power generation arm of Manila Electric Co.] and Malakoff of Malaysia,” a source said.
Meralco PowerGen is pursuing up to 3,000 megawatts of power projects while Malakoff Corp. Berhad is a subsidiary of MMC Corp. Berhad, an independent power producer in Malaysia.
An Alsons official confirmed a report by Bloomberg last week that the company was in talks with possible investors.
Alsons is building several coal-fired power facilities to help provide a stable source of baseload power for Mindanao and ensure long-term power security for the island.
These facilities are the 105-MW San Ramon Power Inc.’s plant in Zamboanga City and the 210-MW Sarangani Energy Corp.’s plant in Maasim, Sarangani. Alsons is also developing a 15-MW run-of-river hydroelectric plant along the Siguil river in Maasim, Sarangani.
The Alcantara Group, through other subsidiaries, is also engaged in aquaculture and agribusiness, property development and services.