Tollways group reaps bumper crop of awards

By: Manila Standard, as seen on, July 20, 2019 at 10:40 pm

Movers and shakers in  the global market have thought of making a powerful statement about game-changing financing deals, and thus draw attention to the crucial role of bankrolling huge projects that otherwise would not take off at all.

The Hong Kong-based Asset Magazine, known for its authoritative coverage and independent research of Asia’s financial services sector, has conceived the annual Triple A Infrastructure Awards to recognize companies and individuals who have excelled in their fields.

A number of Philippine corporates and financial institutions have been recognized for these Awards in the past, but only when the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. harvested four top awards—the highest number so far for a single year—did the Awards make headlines here in the Philippines and the rest of the region.

MPTC was recognized by the award-giving magazine for successfully closing big-ticket PPP financing deals in 2018 for three major Philippine toll road projects. Overall, the MPTC-sponsored deals obtained a total of P60 billion in financing.

MPTC, the developer and operator of the longest network of quality expressways in the Philippines, won the “Project Sponsor of the Year” award for 2019 for the transport sector under the institutional awards category.

MPTC president and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco, on being the Project Sponsor of the Year, said: “This award all the more underscores shareholder belief and commitment in all our cited infrastructure projects.”

Apart  from MPTC’s top award, the three MPTC-led infrastructure financing deals that won in the ASEAN country category awards are: Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX) as “PPP Deal of the Year”; Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) as “Transport Deal of the Year” and Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) as “Transport Deal of the Year-Highly Commended,” respectively.

Christopher Daniel Lizo, MPTC chief finance officer, noted the significance of the awards, saying: “Given the difficult financing environment in 2018, the financing transactions related to these infrastructure projects are proof of the lenders’ solid support.”

The PPP Deal of the Year was given to the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX) after the successful closing of the P24.2-billion omnibus loan and security facility, arranged by a consortium of banks for MPTC subsidiary MPCALA Holdings.

The 45-km toll road project represented the largest financing in the Philippines for a toll road project outside Metro Manila. “It was also the largest project finance deal in the country in 2018,” said Franco.

The Transport Deal of the Year went to the P19 billion financing for the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), also sponsored by MPTC. When completed, the 8.5-km toll bridge project will connect Cebu City environs with Mactan Island, making it a major transport enabler for Cebu and the Visayas region. The Transport Deal of the Year-Highly Commended recognition went to another MPTC-sponsored deal that closed the P16.2-billion loan facility to support the enhancement and capacity expansion works along the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX).

MPTC now has the largest toll road network in the Philippines, holding three long-term operating concessions: the 97-km North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the 94-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the 14-km Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (Cavitex).

In addition to CALAX and CCLEX, other domestic projects under construction include the NLEX Connector, NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 R-10 Section, the CAVITEX C5 Southlink Flyover, and the CAVITEX R-1 Enhancement projects.Now diversifying into a pan-ASEAN toll road investor, MPTC is the first Philippine tollway company to acquire significant stakes in three major infrastructure companies in the ASEAN region—with substantial investments in PT Nusantara Infrastructure Tbk in Indonesia, CII Bridges and Roads in Vietnam, and Don Muang Tollway Public Limited in Thailand.

Making headlines is just the sidelight of MPTC companies that are quietly building roadways in the Philippines—then in the ASEAN. This is the business that the tollways group does best—improve people’s mobility, enhance their quality of life, grow communities—and build a nation—one nation at a time. “Today the Philippines, tomorrow the rest of the ASEAN,” MPTC’s Franco  said.