Right after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the controlling owner of Metro Rail Transit Phase 7 (MRT-7) for its acquisition of a majority stake in the railway project, conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is now exploring the possibility of investing in a light rail transit project in several key cities in the country including Cagayan de Oro City.
SMC have entered into an agreement with businessman Salvador “Buddy” Zamora III, who owns 63 percent of Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), which in turn wholly owns the MRT-7 project. The agreement provides that Zamora will sell his majority interest in ULC to SMC.
Zamora acquired majority control of the ULC consortium in 2008 from its original proponent, Israeli businessman Eli Levin.
SMC is interested in building a bullet train that will run the Laoag-Manila-Bicol route. SMC President Ramon Ang was quoted in some news articles stating that SMC have commissioned a group that includes international companies with experience in bullet trains to conduct a study on this.
MRT 7 is a build-“gradual transfer”-operate, maintain and manage project for the development, financing, operation and maintenance of a 22-kilometer light rail transit route that extends from the MRT Line 3’s North Edsa terminal to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.
SMC has been expanding from its core food and beverage business and into heavy industries such as power, infrastructure and telecommunications to fuel faster future growth.
If SMC pushes through in CDO, I suggest this would have to be coordinated with the proposed Mindanao Railway project.