Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Spanish firms set sights on rail projects

By NIEL V. MUGAS - The Manila Times Reporter

A number of Spanish firms have expressed interest in the construction of major railway projects in the Philippines, including the extension of the country’s first overhead railway, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Their interest was expressed during the recent visit of Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila to Spain.

The firms include Isoluz-Corsan, Pro-Intec and Dimetronics, which the DTI said, are eyeing the proposed extension of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 from Baclaran to Cavite.

Pro-Intec, for one, is said to have committed securing from the Spanish government some 800,000 euros (approximately $1.025 million) for a technical grant for the LRT I and LRT Line 2 expansion projects.

Dimetronics is said to be interested in the supply contracts for signaling equipment for the same two projects, while Spain’s national railway operator Red Nacional de los Ferro-carriles EspaƱoles (RENFE), expressed interest in the Iligan-Cagayan de Oro railway project, for which it is ready to spend 100,000 euros for the feasibility study alone.

RENFE is also interested in the NorthRail project.

Soluziona is eyeing the NorthRail project, and is exploring a partnership with the SM Group of Companies for an integrated property development complex.

Spanish railroad construction firm Construccion Y Auxilliar De Ferrocarles (CAF), meantime, is looking at 33 million euros worth of funds for the Philippines’ railway systems.

Pro-Intec is also interested in build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects, such as the Laguindingan Airport and Mindanao Airport Development Project in Cagayan de Oro. The Spanish firm will provide a technical study grant for an agricultural and industrial project in the Cagayan Export Zone Authority. It is also proposing a technical study grant for the fabrication of oil drilling equipment in Subic.

Burgundy Global Asset Management Corp., meantime, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Spain’s second-largest bank, for a 250 million euro credit line for BOT projects it is planning in the Philippines such as hotels and resort development projects, and the development of Port Irene in Cagayan.

The company also has oil and gas interests in the Northeast and Southeast Palawan. It also participated in the bidding for the Camago-Malampaya Oil Leg.

Lastly, Winace Holdings Philippines Inc. signed a joint declaration with BBVA for the conclusion of an agreement for a credit line of 280 million euros for infrastructure and energy projects.

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