San Miguel disqualified from CALAX project bidding

Posted at 06/12/2014 2:00 PM | Updated as of 06/13/2014 8:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has been disqualified from the bidding for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project amid protests from three other bidders.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson said the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) has informed SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. of the disqualification “due to their defective bid security.”

DPWH said that after further review of SMC’s bid documents, the SBAC determined that it did not comply with bidding requirements.

“The bid submission of Optimal was disqualified after careful and studied consideration of the matter by the SBAC, which determined that the bid security, which was part of Envelope 1, was not compliant with the ITB requirements. As a result of this disqualification, the entire bid proposal of Optimal will be returned Friday morning, including the Financial Proposal which was kept unopened,” the DPWH said in a statement.

On the other hand, the bids of the three groups--Malaysia’s Alloy MTD Philippines; Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz group’s Team Orion; and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s MPCALA Holdings Inc.--were deemed qualified by the SBAC.

The financial bids of the three group in the P35.4 billion project will be opened at 3 p.m. on Friday.

San Miguel cries foul over disqualification

In a statement released Thursday, SMC said the decision was “unfair,” adding that it will explore all legal remedies to contest the decision.

SMC maintained that its bid is compliant with bidding rules, saying it has already amended its bid “to make it responsive to bidding criteria.”

“The decision to throw out the bid of our subsidiary Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. is prejudicial, unfair, and disregards both legal and all common-sense considerations that should be given to projects of this scale and importance,” the company said in a statement.

“Preventing the company from proceeding with its bid severely limits government's options on how it can maximize benefits from this project and ignores what San Miguel might bring to the project in terms of quality of meeting the infrastructure specifications and getting the job done,” the firm added.

The CALAX project involves the financing, design and construction, operation and maintenance of the four-lane expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Manila Cavite Tollroad Expressway (Cavitex).

Rival bidders called for the disqualification of SMC because its financial guarantee was four days short of the 180 days required by government.

SMC explained that the bid did state 180 days, but it made a mistake on the ending date, stating November 25 instead of November 29.

Singson said that while SMC was given a chance to clarify, the DPWH has to be strict in implementing its rules.

He said the agency will “try to convince” SMC not to take legal action, which may impede the one of the government’s biggest public-private partnership projects.

“We just hope that they will let go already, there are other projects. In fact, the next project is a bigger one,” Singson told ANC, referring to the P123 billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike project.

The DPWH earlier said it hopes to bid out the project either late 2014 or early 2015.