Delays Still Expected in TransCo Privatization

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Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO

The much-anticipated privatization of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) is expected to encounter another round of delay given some unresolved issues raised by prospective bidders, primarily securing a franchise which could be enmeshed with the forthcoming elections in May next year.

Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) president Nieves L. Osorio told a recent hearing of the Joint Congressional Power Commission that from the scheduled December 20 bidding, they are open to extending it "in consideration of the comfort of bidders."

She said the targeted bidding date will only push through "if we are able to resolve the issues raised by investors" during the prebid conference last November 20.

Three consortia have been listed to advance to the formal auction process namely Triratna Holdings Corporation as local partner with Malaysian firm Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Newbridge Asia IV L.P. as technical foreign counterparts; the Citadel Holdings Inc. with Italian firm Terna SpA; and the Monte Oro Grid Resources with State Grid Corporation of China.

The prospective concessionaires raised that securing a franchise may be a problem if award is made before the May 2007 elections because that could mean dealing with two separate Congresses.

Osorio explained that under the terms of reference, the award of contract will be done 30 days after the announcement of the winning concessionaire. …