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DBP looking to unload MRT-3 interest

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Up and and Running MRT units seen at EDSA in Guadalupe. -- PHILIPPINE STAR_MICHAEL VARCAS

THE Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) is interested in exiting its investment in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3.

“..It is in our books and we will be very interested to unload it,” DBP President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo told reporters on Monday at the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DBP and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for the funding for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Ms. Borromeo said however that as a corporation under the supervision of the Department of Finance (DoF), the bank will be awaiting official guidance from the agency.

“The DoF is taking the lead now… We defer to DoF,” Ms. Borromeo said.

Landbank and DBP own a combined stake of about 80% in the MRT-3.

Ms. Borromeo said the banks will study how to exit the investment without incurring losses.

“There are various ways of unloading it. Of course there is an option for a haircut or loss and we will want to avoid that. But there are other options that will make us [realize a gain]. That is what we are trying to pursue together with the DoF,” Ms. Borromeo said.

Operations and maintenance may soon be privatized, with the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) consortium having submitted to the government a comprehensive rehabilitation proposal for the MRT-3. Currently, MRT operations are run by the government, while maintenance is handled by the private sector. Filipino-South Korean joint venture Busan Universal Rail, Inc. currently has the contract with government to maintain the MRT-3.

LRMC, a consortium of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Metro Pacific Infrastructure Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd., included in the proposal provisions for the planned buyout of the government stake and offers the services included in the concession agreement with the government.

LRMC CEO Rogelio L. Singson recently said the LRMC hopes that its proposal is approved in four to six months. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo

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