Metro Pacific to acquire more hospitals this year

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2009 12:28 AM | Updated as of Feb 02 2009 08:28 AM

The Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) will continue to be on a buying binge as it revealed plans of acquiring two to three more hospitals within the year.

In an interview, Pangilinan said they are looking to add 600 to 900 beds to their current portfolio of 1,094 by buying several hospitals in Metro Manila and in the provinces.

Funding for MPIC's planned expansion in the healthcare industry would most likely come from the sale of its 51-percent stake in property firm Landco Pacific. Pangilinan expects to raise P616 million in proceeds from the said disposal.

The company, which is the local flagship of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co., entered the healthcare business in early 2007 via a 33-percent investment in Medical Doctors Inc. (MDI), owner and operator of Makati Medical Center. MMC is a 582-bed, full-service medical facility.

Because of MMC's improvement in profits in the past three years, MPIC was encouraged to establish the first nationwide chain of hospitals in the Philippines. In May 2008, MPIC bought a 34 percent stake in Davao Doctors Hospital Inc. (DDH) for P498 million, making it the single largest shareholder in the 300-bed facility.

In July 2008, MDI's wholly-owned unit, Colinas Verdes Hospital Management Corp., entered an agreement to manage and operate the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) for an interim period of six months until a long term operator is chosen by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. CSMC is a 212-bed tertiary hospital in San Juan City.

Meanwhile, MPIC's newly-acquired unit First Philippine Infrastructure Inc. (FPII) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) sealed a memorandum of understanding to explore mutually beneficial transportation infrastructure investment opportunities locally.

Under the initial agreement, PNR and FPII agreed to conduct jointly a pre-feasibility study for an alternative facility that will connect the North and South Luzon Expressways by way of an integrated rail and tollway project, utilizing the existing PNR Line right-of-way that cuts across Metro Manila.

Discussions are focused on the development of an 18-kilometer integrated rail and tollroad project that will feature a combined at-grade and elevated roadways over the existing PNR line right-of-way in Metro Manila.

"We look forward to an opportunity of providing PNR our commercial and technical experience for the improvement and efficiency of the country's infrastructure system," said Pangilinan, who is also chair of FPII.