By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
DIVERSIFIED conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) will be submitting today an unsolicited proposal to the government for a P3-billion bridge connecting Caticlan to Boracay island.
“We are going to submit the proposal for the unsolicited offer to build the bridge of Caticlan-Boracay tomorrow,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang told reporters in a briefing after the annual shareholders’ meeting of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc. in Mandaluyong yesterday. Top Frontier holds 66.09% of SMC.
Mr. Ang said the bridge will connect the two islands which have an actual gap of 1.1 kilometers. He said the project can be completed within two years after securing approval from the government.
The proposed bridge will also include a pipe that can handle the sewage and waste from Boracay.
“It can handle the sewage pipe and lahat ng sewage from Boracay to Caticlan, and then from Caticlan we can bring in fresh water to Boracay para ’di na kailangan mag-deep well. And also it can bring out all the solid waste,” Mr. Ang said, noting that the amount of waste generated in Boracay stood at 170 tons a day before the island’s six-month closure last April.
To regain its P3-billion investment, Mr. Ang said a fee will be imposed on vehicles and pedestrians who will use the bridge, as well as the waste, sewage, fresh water, and power lines that will be passing through it.
Mr. Ang noted that the investment recovery period will take around 10 to 15 years.
Asked why the company is proposing to build the project, Mr. Ang said this will help recover its investments in the Caticlan airport in Boracay.
The company is currently expanding Caticlan airport’s apron areas, or the parking spaces of aircrafts.
“Kailangan naming i-expand ’yung apron to be able to handle 28 aircrafts. And then kulang na lang ngayon ’yung passenger terminals (We need to expand the apron to handle 28 aircraft. What is needed now are the passenger terminals),” Mr. Ang said.
The airport expansion will cost SMC around P15 billion, according to Mr. Ang. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
For its traditional businesses, SMC plans to increase production of its liquor unit, Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. (GSMI) with the construction of four new manufacturing plants.
Mr. Ang said the company is choosing from eight potential locations for the plants. It will take two years to build the four manufacturing plants.
The company will also be completing a brewery in Sta. Rosa, Laguna with a capacity of two million hectoliters per year. In addition to this, SMC will be adding seven more breweries in Pangasinan, Quezon, Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Bicol, and Iloilo.
SMC’s unit, San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (FB), recently gained approval from the Philippine Stock Exchange to execute a share swap that would formally place San Miguel Pure Foods, Inc., GSMI, and San Miguel Brewery, Inc. under one entity.
Trading of FB shares are currently suspended, until such time that the newly formed unit meets the minimum public ownership (MPO) rule of 15%. FB’s public float is currently at around 4%.
Mr. Ang said the share sale, which would allow it to comply with the MPO rule, is targeted within the year. It may however opt to ask for an extension should it fail to get the necessary regulatory approvals or be prevented from selling the shares due to market volatility.
SMC’s recurring profit grew by 31% to P19.4 billion during the first quarter of 2018, supported by a 19% increase in consolidated revenues to P234.3 billion.
Shares in SMC dropped by 0.87% or P1.20 to close at P136.80 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday.