September 22, 2021

Arbitration court rejects NLEX claims

by | Sep 8, 2021 8:30PM

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said Wednesday it may review planned toll road projects after the Singapore International Arbitration Centre rejected the compensation claims of unit NLEX Corp. against the government.

“The tribunal held that NLEX Corp. is not entitled to compensation for foregone revenues on account of the delay in TRB’s [Toll Regulatory Board] action on the 2012 and 2014 petitions,” MPIC said in a statement.

“While the decision will not result in any asset write down in the books of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the group will need to take the decision into account in assessing future toll road projects,” it said.

Based on NLEX’s annual report, the amount of compensation for TRB’s inaction on lawful toll rate adjustments, covering the toll rate petitions of North Luzon Expressway in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, was about P15.1 billion as of 2020.

MPIC, however, said the TRB eventually acted on the 2012 and 2014 petitions when it issued a resolution in 2018 granting the adjustment in the toll rates of NLEX on a staggered basis.

“NLEX Corp. respects the decision of the tribunal and will continue to work with the TRB on pending toll rate applications to ensure that NLEX Corporation is able to provide services to the motoring public,” MPIC said.

“CAVITEX is working with the TRB on the processing of its petitions for toll rate adjustments filed in 2011 and 2014, which were the subject of the CAVITEX arbitration,” it said.

MPIC, through Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., operates the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway and the Cavite Laguna Expressway.

NLEX Corp.’s net income grew 62 percent in the first half, as vehicle traffic along its two expressways gradually recovered since the imposition of strict quarantine in March 2020.

The operator of North Luzon Expressway and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway said net profit amounted to P2.7 billion from January to June, up from P1.64 billion in the same period last year. Revenues increased 34 percent in the first half to P6.7 billion, as traffic figures continued to trend upward since April 2020, supported by the higher toll implemented in November 2020 and May 2021.

It said that as of June 30, average daily traffic along NLEX reached 246,843 daily vehicle entries, while average daily traffic along SCTEX reached 54,334 daily vehicle entries. In the first six months of the year, traffic figures for NLEX and SCTEX exceeded 2020 figures by 40 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

MPTC is also building an 8.3-kilometer toll road in Cebu province known as as the Cebu-Cordova Bridge project, linking the island of Mactan to mainland Cebu through the municipality of Cordova.

The company is also building the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, an eight-kilometer, four-lane toll road linking the North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway, passing through Metro Manila and using the existing Philippine National Railway alignment as its route.

Darwin G. Amojelar
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