Challengers sought for SMC’s Nasugbu-Bauan project


THE BATANGAS GOVERNMENT is looking for challengers for San Miguel Holdings Corp.’s proposal to build a 60.90-kilometer toll road from Nasugbu to Bauan.

In a newspaper advisory, the provincial government called for the submission of comparative proposals for the Nasugbu-Bauan Expressway (NBEX) joint-venture project with San Miguel Holdings, a unit of San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

The Batangas Provincial Selection Committee completed negotiations with San Miguel Holdings, the original proponent for the NBEX project, on Oct. 6 as part of the competitive challenge process.

“Under the negotiated terms of the joint-venture agreement, the private sector proponent will finance, design, construct, supervise, operate and maintain [the toll road] for a concession period of 35 years,” Batangas Provincial Selection Committee Chairperson Celia L. Atienza said in the advisory.

The four-lane NBEX will traverse the municipalities of Nasugbu, Tuy, Balayan, Calaca, Lemery, San Nicolas, Agoncillo, Taal, Sta. Teresita, Alitagtag, San Luis, and Bauan. It will have at least five access or interchange points at different locations from Nasugbu to Bauan.

Ms. Atienza said the committee will accept comparative proposals from private sector companies until Feb. 10, 2023.

The private sector proponents should have undertaken and completed a similar project under a similar arrangement, she added. Challengers “must acknowledge the right of the original proponent to match the best-qualified proposal submitted in the competitive challenge,” Ms. Atienza said.

Ms. Atienza said the province also requires an undertaking from the challengers that they will not “seek and obtain a writ of injunction or prohibition or restraining order… to prevent or restrain the competitive challenge process, the award of the project, and carrying out the project.”

An undertaking that the challengers will “not institute any criminal, civil, and/or administrative cases against the officials of the Provincial Selection Committee” is also required.

Without compliant comparative proposals submitted by Feb. 10, the NBEX project will be awarded to San Miguel Holdings.

To be eligible, the private sector proponent should be at least 60% owned or controlled by Filipinos. For a consortium with local and foreign companies, Filipinos should have at least 60% interest in the group.

The private sector proponent should also have a net worth of at least P15.9 billion or its equivalent in foreign currency as of its latest audited financial statement.

The challenger should also provide a letter from a bank indicating its good financial standing and that it is qualified to obtain credit to finance the project of at least P37.1 billion.

It should also have designed, constructed and operated a toll road of at least 60 kilometers, as well as used a toll collection system capable of integrating with other systems.

If it does not have the required construction experience, the challenger can submit its development experience of having undertaken a single tollway or similar project worth at least P53 billion.

San Miguel Holdings was also granted by the Cavite provincial government the original proponent status for the Cavite-Batangas Expressway (CBEX) project. The Cavite government is also seeking interested parties to submit comparative proposals for the project.

The CBEX project is a 27.06-kilometer toll road traversing through the municipalities of Silang, Amadeo, Tagaytay, Indang, Mendez, and Alfonso in Cavite, as well as Nasugbu in Batangas where a San Miguel company also operates a toll expressway, the 41.9-kilometer Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, which is commonly known as STAR Tollway. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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