Several years after its airport terminal project with the Philippine government went soured, the terminal it constructed still remained highly under utilized and the court case still hanging, Fraport AG of Germany has moved on exploring opportunities as services provider for airport security and ground handling operation in the country’s airports.
Michael Muller, member of the Executive Board of Fraport, told reporters they are looking for local partners for its services business, another huge division of this infrastructure company that focuses on airport and airport terminal construction.
“I personally would be happy to find a way for another partnership maybe in service provider in the security and ground handling service,” Muller said at the investments briefing for the German Business Delegation that accompanied the visit of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Muller, however, said they are still pursuing a joint solution with the Philippine government for its soured project, the NAIA Terminal 3.
“We are looking for fair compensation. Expropriation is a fact that we have to consider and now just after expropriation we need to know the just and fair compensation for the engagement not only for us but our local partners,” he said.
He, however, called for the need on both sides to “calm down and not be emotional” to find a “new start for a new solution.”
“So far, there is no official solution. We’re talking and foreign ministry discussing about the case and hope to reach a solution and be happy with the solution,” he said noting they have not gotten back their investments. He said they have not come up with the amount for what constitutes a fair and just compensation.
He said they are exploring business opportunities in the country again because the Fraport issue is a not a “personal problem nor in conflict with the Philippines state.”
Muller blamed “unfortunate developments and mistakes on several sides” that caused the problem on its contract with the Philippine government for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
“We just wanted to help and support by building a first class infrastructure airport but there were lots of difficulties and lots of misunderstanding,” Muller said.
“Unfortunately, it was not a good start and not a good development. We joined a company at the time when it has the concession for running the airport.
At that time we did not know that there were legal problems, we tried to solve the problems. First of all, we supported designing the airport, we supported constructing the airport. We also had a financial investment in that company.
Now we’re not able to have a kick off in our investment that means a lot to our company,” he said.
Although Fraport was able to survive what happened, Muller said, “It was an epic loss.”
He said they never left the country after the Fraport started as they still maintain some form of representation in the country.
Muller said they received professional feedback about the Philippines and that “everyone’s looking forward.” (BCM)