Senator ‘rehashed’ old issues

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Friday, February 28, 2014

THE GMR-Megawide Consortium yesterday said the issues mentioned by Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmena III in his privileged speech last Feb. 25 were the same ones raised by losing bidder Filinvest-Changi Consortium.

The senator is the brother of former Cebu City mayor and south district representative Tomas Osmeña, who allegedly backed Filinvest.

Louie Ferrer, Megawide vice president for corporate communications, said Filinvest raised the same issues immediately after GMR-Megawide was declared the highest bidder for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) modernization project.


‘Open to sharing’

“GMR-Megawide Consortium has provided detailed clarifications and documentations to PBAC (Pre-Bidding and Awards Committee) already on these issues, and we would have been happy to share them with the honorable senator had we been asked to do the same,”
GMR-Megawide said in a statement.

“We humbly submit that we are open to sharing the relevant details with the honorable senator if he would give us opportunity,” the statement further said.

The Megawide official noticed that the Osmeñas did not make statements from the time the airport project was placed under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration until the bidding was conducted last Nov. 28.

World standing

GMR-Megawide issued the following clarifications:

1) GMR Airports is the third largest private airport operator in the world.

Their airport assets--Delhi, Hyderabad and Istanbul Sabiha Gocken Airport-- are among the best run airports in the world. Delhi Airport is ranked second in the world in the 25- to 40-million passenger category, while Hyderabad Airport is also second in the world in the five- to 15-million passenger category.

2) GMR is a financially-sound company with a long-term debt rating of BBB+ and a short term debt rating of A2 given by international rating agencies. GMR has arranged for financing of more than US$10 billion for its various infrastructure projects.

Several banks, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Finance Corp. (a World Bank entity) and Standard Chartered Bank, have already given testimonial letters on the good financial standing of GMR and Megawide in context of project-financing requirements.

3) The airport development fee charged at the Delhi Airport is in line with the concession agreement and the validity of this fee has been upheld by the Supreme Court of India.

Moreover, all airport charges in India are decided by an independent regulator and not by the airport operator.

Meeting requirements

4) GMR has no connection to the Fraport/PIATCO saga in the Philippines. Fraport is a minority partner in GMR’s Delhi International Airport and has no connection with the bid for the Mactan-Cebu airport project.

The bidding entity for Mactan airport is GMR Infrastructure and Delhi Airport is one of its subsidiary companies.

5) GMR holds a 40-percent stake in the consortium that bid for the Mactan airport, which is the maximum shareholding allowed for the foreign investor in the project. And

6) GMR-Megawide Con-sortium has proven beyond doubt that there is no conflict of interest with the First Philippine Consortium as Tan Sri Bashir is not a board member of GMR Infrastructure, the bidding entity, and he had no role to play in the bid.

As has been clearly clarified throughout the bidding process, mere presence of inter-locking directors does not constitute a conflict of interest, the statement said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 28, 2014.

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