MPIC unit's toll-road projects to cost P10-B

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Feb 09 2011 08:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2011 04:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The toll-road unit of conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is allocating around P10 billion to finance priority projects until 2012.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president Ramoncito Fernandez said the amount will be used to bankroll Segments 9 and 10 of the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) Phase 2 project.

Segment 9 will connect the McArthur Highway in Valenzuela all the way to Nlex while segment 10 will link the same highway to Port Area in Manila.

The two projects span 8.5 kilometers. Segment 9 aims to ease access to McArthur Highway, the old route to central and northern Luzon while Segment 10 will dramatically speed up the transport of goods to and from Manila’s North Harbor.

“For Segment 9 we’re going to spend close to P2 billion and then for Segment 10 we are going to spend P6.5 billion. These are our priority projects,” said Fernandez, while adding that MPTC may set aside an amount for maintenance.?

He also said the company will use its own funds to finance the programmed expenditures.

MPTC controls the concession to the 84-kilometer (km) Nlex and bagged the contract to operate and maintain the 94-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

The company also recently increased its stake in Metro Manila Skyway, making it the third major toll road in the country in which the company has an interest. MPTC gained an indirect interest of 1.54% in the elevated highway project, after it bought 20% of Metro Strategic Infrastructure Holdings Inc. (MSIHI) worth P8 million. The sale brings MPTC’s stake in MSIHI to 57%.

The shares were bought from businessman Albert del Rosario.

Apart from the acquisition of shares, MPTC also made a deposit of close to P19.6 million for the future subscription of shares in MSIHI.

“As a result of the purchase by MPTC of Mr. Del Rosario’s shares in MSIHI, the corporation now holds 57% direct equity interest in MSIHI and 1.54% indirect equity interest in Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC), of which MSIHI is a shareholder,” MPTC said.

CMMTC holds the contract to operate and maintain the Skyway.
MPTC said it would also acquire MSIHI shares already held by the former’s parent firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

This block of shares represents a 40% stake in MSIHI. This will bring the group’s stake in CMMTC to over 4%.

MPTC earlier reported a 22% increase in core net income to P1.09 billion in the 9 months to September. Revenues also rose 7% to P4.34 billion, as daily vehicle traffic grew 6% to 158,045.