TO FINANCE CONNECTOR ROAD: NLEX Corp. taps P20B loan

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    Delayed. MPTC eyes the completion of the NLEX connector road by 2022.

    A toll road unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) has signed a P20-billion corporate note facility to refinance maturing loans and to partially finance the construction of the 8-kilometer North Luzon expressway (NLEx) connector road project.

    NLEX Corp. said it has entered into a corporate notes facility agreement with China Banking Corp., Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), KEB Hana Bank Manila Branch, Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc., The Insular Life Assurance Company Ltd. and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), in its capacity as noteholder.

    The proceeds of the loan will also be used to finance other capital expenditures.

    The transaction was led by China Bank as the mandated lead arranger, joint lead underwriter and sole bookrunner.

    Other members of the underwriting syndicate were Landbank and UCPB as joint lead arrangers and joint lead underwriters, while DBP acted as co-underwriter. BDO Unibank Inc.-Trust and Investments Group is the designated facility agent and registrar.

    The target completion of the P17.7-billion NLEx connector road was moved from December 2021 to 2022, according to MPTC.

    NLEX is working on the first 5 km. section of the project from Grace Park, Caloocan City to España St., Sampaloc, Manila.

    This all-vehicle class elevated expressway will traverse the Caloocan Interchange, 5th Avenue/C3 road in Caloocan City, pass through España and eventually link up with the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 at PUP Sta. Mesa in Manila.

    The NLEx connector project aims to significantly cut travel time from NLEx to South Luzon expressway from two hours to about 20 minutes, and improve accessibility for cargo trucks bound for the Manila ports and the international airports such as Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

    It is also seen to benefit 35,000 motorists who will be spared from using Metro Manila’s congested city roads since they will traverse their routes mostly above the alignment of the Philippine National Railways.

    Meanwhile, MPTC posted a core net income of P1.6 billion in the first nine months of 2020, down 56 percent from P3.7 billion a year earlier as a result of lower traffic on all roads due to the implementation of community quarantines and interest costs on increased borrowings.

    Domestic traffic continues to recover with September average traffic at 434,867, down by 15 percent from September 2019, and the highest daily average traffic up to 529,000 in October, the company said.

    MPTC operates NLEx, C5 South Link and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac, Manila-Cavite and Cavite-Laguna expressways.