MPIC hikes MNTC stake

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 14 2014 07:59 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2014 03:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) through its flagship toll road arm is spending P1.42 billion to buy a portion of the stake of its French partner in Manila North Luzon Tollways Corp. (MNTC).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), MPIC vice president Melody del Rosario said Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) entered into an agreement with Egis Projects SA last Jan. 10 covering the acquisition of the shares of the French firm in the concessionaire of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

Under the agreement, MPTDC agreed to acquire additional 692,640 shares representing 3.9 percent outstanding shares of MNTC owned by Egis at P2,056.68 per share for a total consideration of P1.42 billion.

MPTDC, a subsidiary of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), exercised its right of first refusal on the sale of MNTC shares by Egis.

With the transaction, the stake of MPTDC in MNTC would increase to about 71 percent from a little over 67 percent while the interest of the French partner was reduced to 9.2 percent from 13.1 percent.

Last Nov., MPIC and its parent firm Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. through FPM Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. invested P5.8 billion to acquire a 29.45 percent stake in Don Muang Tollway Public Co. Ltd (DMT) as part of plans to invest in infrastructure projects in the region.

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FPM Infrastructure is 75 percent owned by First Pacific and 25 percent owned by MPIC. First Pacific is spending P4.4 billion for a 26.2 percent stake in the tollroad operator while MPIC is investing P1.4 billion for a 3.25 percent interest in DMT.

The vendor of the toll road stake is a 50-50 joint venture between Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and South East Asian Strategic Assets Fund. Other major shareholders of DMT include the Phanichewa Group with 37.1 percent and Thailand’s Ministry of Finance with 25.1 percent.

First Pacific managing director and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said the company is seeing more opportunities outside the infrastructure market of the Philippines.

“We welcome the prospect of diversifying our investments as we continue to seek strong and steady returns for our shareholders,” Pangilinan said.

He pointed out that the First Pacific Group is keen on further investing in infrastructure, telecommunications as well as consumer and food sectors in emerging Asian countries.

DMT operates a 21.9-kilometer six-lane elevated toll road stretching from Din Daeng in central Bangkok past Don Muang Airport and on to the National Monument in the north of the capital under a 27-year concession ending in 2034.

First Pacific and MPIC are also looking at participating in the first public private partnership (PPP) project in Vietnam involving a $750 million Dau Giay-Phan Thiet motorway being undertaken by the Vietnamese government and the World Bank as well as private partner Bitexco Group.