First Pacific keen on hiking 20% stake in Philex Mining

By Honey Madrilejos-Reyes, Business Mirror

Posted at Feb 09 2009 12:23 AM | Updated as of Feb 09 2009 08:23 AM

The Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd. is interested in hiking its stake in listed Philex Mining Corp., where it currently owns a 20-percent interest.

“I think that’s the plan we would want to pursue but not immediately,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the local flagship company of First Pacific.

Last November, First Pacific took part in Philex’s sale of 778.665 million treasury shares worth P6.16 billion.

The Hong Kong firm bought 99.997 percent of the total treasury shares sold from November 5 to 19, 2008 while other registered stockholders as of October 30, 2008 bought 24,899 shares. The shares were valued P7.92 each.

Proceeds from the sale will be used primarily to fund the development of Philex’s Boyongan project and the exploration of various claims and undertakings.

The mining firm, on Friday, reported that it has acquired the 50-percent interest of Anglo American Exploration BV (Anglo) and Anglo American Exploration Anglo Philippines) Inc. in the Boyongan copper-gold project, which will give Philex effectively the full control over the property together with its 81 percent-owned subsidiary, Philex Gold Philippines Inc.

Philex has previously announced its decision to buy out Anglo on September 25, 2008.

The purchase was done via a share and asset purchase agreement covering the purchase by Philex of the shares of Anglo in the joint venture companies, Silangan Mindanao Mining Co. and Silangan Mindanao Exploration Co., and the acquisition of various assets, receivables and rights and obligations of Anglo and Anglo Philippines in the project for $55 million.

These pave the way for the continued development of Boyongan and the adjacent areas expeditiously and for the best interest of Philex.

Meanwhile, aside from mining, Metro Pacific is also looking at opportunities in coal exploration and power.

Metro Pacific also has interests in toll roads, health care and real estate.