San Miguel may join group eyeing airport project

Posted at 08/11/10 5:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it may join a consortium that will bid for the construction and upgrading of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga province.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, San Miguel said it is in talks with the consortium led by the Philco Aero Group.

The consortium is one of several groups eyeing the contract to upgrade the airport which was once part of the former US military airbase.

San Miguel was earlier reported by the Business Mirror to have signed an agreement with Korea Airports Corp. (KAC) which handles the operations and management of 14 airports in South Korea, to jointly handle the Clark airport project.

The newspaper reported that KAC is set to acquire a 5% stake in Philco Aero Group, a consortium that includes Posco Engineering and Construction Co., Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers and Korea Development Bank.

The government wants to expand the capacity of DMIA, which currently caters mostly to budget airlines, but has yet to decide whether to make it the country's main international gateway, replacing Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In April, San Miguel agreed to buy a majority stake in Caticlan International Airport Development Corp, which operates the airport nearest to Boracay island in central Philippines, a popular tourist destination.

The 120-year old San Miguel has been aggressively diversifying into heavy industry, including power, mining, oil refining and telecommunications and infrastructure.

San Miguel "A" shares which are restricted to Filipino investors, inched up by 0.1% to P68, while its "B" shares which are open to both domestic and foreign investors, closed steady at P68.55 on Wednesday. - With a report from Reuters