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Citra-SMC deal questioned

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:02am
An official of Citra Marga Nusaphla Persado Tbk of Indonesia on Thursday called for an investigation on the sale of its Philippine tollway unit that operates the 15-kilometer Skyway project to San Miguel Corp.

Citra Marga president Jufus Hamka said in a teleconference the company wanted an investigation because it received only $3.25 million from the sale of a 21-percent stake in Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp., although the value of the transaction was reportedly worth $150 million to $200 million.

“We suspect that there is something wrong with [it] so we want to have an investigation,” he said.  Citra Marga is a private toll road operator in Indonesia controlled by the Citra Group.

Hamka said not all shareholders were agreeable to the share sale and some were not even aware of the transaction.  He said the company would hire international lawyers to ask the Philippine government to conduct an investigation into the transaction.

The Skyway project is a six-lane, elevated expressway built above the South Luzon Expressway.

San Miguel Corp. reported in December 2011 that its unit San Miguel Holdings Inc. accepted the invitation of the Citra Group to acquire 46 percent of Atlantic Aurum Inc., the corporate vehicle of the Citra that has a controlling equity interest in Citra Metro Manila Corp.

San Miguel was also given the option to acquire up to 51 percent of Atlantic Aurum at a later date.  The board of San Miguel then approved the investment in the Skyway project.

Citra is a leading Indonesian infrastructure company whose core business includes expressway development and toll road operations.

San Miguel and Citra also have stakes in South Luzon Tollway Corp. and Manila Toll Expressway Systems Inc., which hold the concession to construct, operate and maintain the 36-kilometer South Luzon Expressway.
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