A Brown, MTD Philippines sign deal for rail project

Date: Saturday, 12 November 2016
Category: Publication – Business World Online

LISTED A Brown Company Inc. has signed a cooperation agreement with MTD Philippines, Inc., a subsidiary of Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate AlloyMTD, to construct a rail project seen to reduce traffic congestion in Metro Manila

The project proposal for the East-West Rail Project was formed by East-West Rail Transit Corp., the consortium formed by A Brown and Private Equity Investment and Development Corp. with Systra Philipines — a member of the Systra Group of France.

The proposal will be put forward to the Philippine National Railways (PNR) for approval.

PNR is implementing the same project under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme, based on the PPP Center’s Web site. The project was an unsolicited proposal by an unidentified proponent endorsed by the PNR to the PPP Center in July.

According to PPP Center data, as of last month, the project was still under evaluation by concerned agencies and has not been forwarded to the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee and, consequently, the NEDA Board.

“The East-West rail project is something that Metro Manila needs urgently because (it) involves moving people in big quantities. I think it’s a very important corridor because it connects to MRT-7 and LRT-1 and has a promising volume of riders,” said Isaac S. David, MTD chairman, in the disclosure sent to the stock exchange on Friday.

“We commit to complete the project before the end of the President’s (Rodrigo R. Duterte) term,” A Brown’s Chairman Emeritus Walter W. Brown said in the statement.

AlloyMTD is an Asian infrastructure conglomerate operating in the global market. Its local unit which was involved in the rehabilitation and expansion of the South Luzon Expressway, among other projects in the country.

A key player in real estate and agribusiness venture in Southern Philippines, A Brown also has investments in energy, mining, and infrastructure.

Shares in A Brown rose 3.51% to P1.18 apiece on Friday.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez confirmed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between a Malaysian and a Philippine company that involves the construction of a $1-billion light rail transit project when asked at a Nov. 10 press briefing during his visit to Kuala Lumpur.

“From the way we understand it is an unsolicited proposal although it’s aligned with the projects that the DOTr (Department of Transportation) would like to have. So it will have to go through the process,” Mr. Lopez said in a statement released by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Friday. — J.C. Lim

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